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In today’s competitive economy, manufacturing companies face different challenges in driving sustainable product development. The challenges are mostly as a result of a diverse global customer base that has been demanding more customizations and configurability.

Apart from the increasingly diverse needs of global customers, manufacturers also have to manage a more complex supply chain. In today’s supply chain, organizations have to manage multiple entities including integrators, software houses, suppliers and design partners.

To reduce the time-to-market and optimize product development costs, organizations must:

  • Consider consumer insights into product design and development programs.

  • Ensure designers and engineers get accurate product change information fast.

  • Improve collaboration capabilities to meet deadlines of geographically distributed programs.

  • Create a single view of the product across internal and external design and development departments.

  • Develop more configurable, modularized designs that align better with customer expectations.

To meet the above goals, organizations can integrate Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions like Bluestar with their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions to build robust systems and processes for product development.

Future of ERP

By using Bluestar, organizations can improve the time-to-market and design quality, while lowering product design and development costs. Bluestar enables organizations to have a robust product development base with product design, analysis and optimizations, and knowledge-based engineering.

The future of manufacturing organizations lies in complete integration of systems, processes and people. Many organizations are adopting a more integrated approach and extending the use of PLM from just engineering to also product planning and customer service.

Benefits of Integrating PLM with ERP

There are many benefits of integrating PLM with ERP. For example, integration allows engineering and manufacturing departments to incorporate changes into product development early enough, and enables production-related issues back into the design process.

ERP delivers various modules such as customer relations management, human resources, project management, financials, and supply chain management.

When integrated with PLM, the system will enable:

  • Improved communication across different departments, including manufacturing, engineering, field service, sales, and purchasing. Improved communication will reduce misunderstandings and ensure product changes are incorporated in time and at optimal development costs.

  • Reduced errors and cycle time due to manual data transfer between ERP and PLM systems. On integration, data in the two systems is synced and automatically available to the authorized departments. Therefore, potential instances of dual entries are eliminated. Product data integrity across the organization is enhanced when there is a single source of information.

  • Shortened time to market, from engineering to delivery.

  • Improved collaborations between sales and engineering in the quotation process.

When looking to integrate PLM with ERP, organizations should look at four fronts: efficiency, innovation, global expansion and efficiently managed portfolios.


Integration should enable the organization enjoy competitive efficiency such as single point generation and management of engineering data (BOMs, Drawings Items, Specifications, etc.) within the PLM environment, with automated replications of the data into the ERP environment.

Another efficiency front to be considered is revision/version control over product data. Any data change should be able to originate from PLM and flown into the ERP environment.


For manufacturing and engineering companies, the key to optimizing innovation-based competitiveness lies in integrating the intellectual capital management tools of the firm with the execution action control tools. Integration of Bluestar with ERP leads to improved communication across the company’s departments and reduces the time to market.

Global expansion

Global expansion into new sources of supply and new markets comes with many challenges. One of the major challenges is increased level of complexity in the communication of knowledge and information. Integration helps to solve some of the primary problems encountered when entering new markets.

For example, integration enables organizations to communicate in a means that is comfortable to the receiver. Moreover, errors and wastes caused by activities based on obsolete or inaccurate data are eliminated.

Effectively manage portfolios

Integration should help the organization effectively organize and manage large amounts of product data into units that are meaningful to its business. However, on the ground, even the best laid out plans can be challenging due to poor execution.

Integrating PLM with ERP allows organizations to accomplish defined goals by reducing dependence on the “human factor” by allowing automation of actions.


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