How manufacturing companies can successfully navigate the current economic crisis
Monday, April 24 2023
Companies in the manufacturing industry are not immune to the present crisis. In addition to exploding energy prices, disruptions to supply chains are threatening their very survival. And despite all this, they still need to manufacture their products sustainably. These are formidable challenges, but ones that can be overcome with the right technical equipment such as an integrated software solution for product lifecycle management (PLM) and product configuration (Configure Price Quote = CPQ).
In times of uncertainty, basic parameters can change from one day to the next. Engineering and manufacturing departments have to change plans in a flash, new parts must be created, purchased, or installed, and customers expect information on products, prices, and delivery dates on an ad-hoc basis. Luckily, all of this is possible with an integrated PLM/CPQ solution. It boosts the speed of production allowing manufacturers to complete their work five times faster.
All departments benefit from integrating PLM and CPQ
Integration between software components means that products can be quickly and easily configured right within the PLM system. Engineering follows a rules-based approach, with all data and documents through to the manufacturing parts lists being stored in a central system. Efficiency is boosted enormously throughout the entire product lifecycle, to the benefit of all departments in the company – from sales to production.
Collaboration is an essential ingredient of success in this respect. Between PLM and CPQ, but also with adjacent systems. In order to work, bidirectional exchanges with ERP systems and CAD programs are essential. This type of mutual exchange is critical to enable a smart and automated flow of information and to eliminate repetitive time-consuming manual work.
Overcoming the three greatest challenges
An integrated PLM/CPQ solution helps manufacturing companies to overcome what are currently three big challenges:
- Supply chains
Disruptions to supply chains caused enormous uncertainty in the past for manufacturing companies, and this continues to remain a challenge. For example, they don’t know if a particular part can still be delivered, what quantities they can expect, or what the delivery date will be. Using an integrated PLM/CPQ solution, allows them to easily search for an alternative part in the product configurator. This gives companies maximum flexibility in their choice of product and a high degree of reusability.
An integrated PLM/CPQ solution connected to an ERP system helps companies to reduce energy costs directly. If the engineering department wants to create certain parts as purchased parts rather than production parts, this change is saved as a rule in the configurator and coupled with the ERP system. This system provides information on where the parts can be ordered, what the purchase price is, how long the delivery times are, and more. All this data is then combined in a database, called the Product Data Backbone, and is available to the installer, the engineering department, purchasing department, and company management. In addition, if a sales configurator is being used by the customer to configure their products themselves, the element gets replaced there too.
Creating sustainable products is becoming a higher priority every day. Technical requirements are changing virtually on a monthly basis in the face of international competition and have to be implemented as quickly as possible by the engineering department. Engineers need to know which components that are classified as sustainable are to be installed as preferred parts. By creating a rule for this in the configurator, they can ensure that they only get certified sustainable parts from suppliers. In terms of speed, they are already ahead of the game, giving their companies a valuable competitive edge.
Finding a way to engineer, manufacture, and supply products faster is critical to address the current challenges manufacturers face. A CPQ solution allows products to be configured at the click of a button. You can try out different variants, visualize the result in 3D, and have the system provide you with the right price as well as a quote in the customer’s language.
The integration of these functions into the interface of a product lifecycle management system is something that small, mid-sized, and large technical enterprises have long since called for. The PRO.FILE product configurator by Revalize does just this. Products are quickly and easily configured right within the PLM system; at the same time, all data and documents through to the manufacturing parts list are stored in a central system.