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Still typing up parts lists in 2023? Which is why it doesn’t work without an ERP connection.

Separate data storage and manual transfer of information – this is unfortunately still common practice in many companies and is therefore a frequent source of errors and errors. One thing is clear: ERP, CAD and PLM fulfill different tasks and each system has its place in the company. However, automated comparison between these systems is extremely important in order to avoid errors and enable efficient work. 

ERP/merchandise management systems on the one hand and PLM solutions for product lifecycle management on the other – both are solutions that support manufacturers in completing their daily tasks. They help to ensure long-term competitiveness. However, they serve different purposes and should therefore remain separate systems. It is important to clarify which data is exchanged between the CAD software, the ERP system and an intermediate PDM/PLM solution and how the interfaces must be designed. For manufacturing companies, the big challenge lies precisely in this synchronization of item master data, parts lists and project data.

If you want separate data, then automate the transfer!

The separate data storage of development and construction on the one hand (they work with CAD and store the data in the PLM system) and the work preparation, purchasing, scheduling and production departments on the other hand, which maintain their data in the ERP system, is at the same time one Main cause of inconsistent data in the company. The manual transfer of information between PLM and ERP is a productivity killer. Not only does it cost valuable time on the integrated path from design to manufacturing to sales – it is also extremely error-prone.


Unlock the secrets of PLM and take control of your product development journey. Click now for our comprehensive ‘PLM for Manufacturers’ guide!


Unlock the secrets of PLM and take control of your product development journey. Click now for our comprehensive ‘PLM for Manufacturers’ guide!

Outdated drawings - you're guaranteed to stumble over them

Another stumbling block on the way to error-free production are outdated drawings and production documents. They can be avoided by always having only one drawing, which is available for direct access to all departments as a neutral PDF, PDF/A or TIF document. These drawings can be accessed at the ERP workstations in the item master data management. Drawings are then no longer distributed as plots throughout the company, but are instead made available digitally on the machine in the production hall. A parts list can also be attached to such a drawing in the PLM system for service purposes.

The reverse path must also work, so bidirectional communication is required. Development employees have access to information in the ERP system. These can be, for example, prices or stock availability of purchased items. If the technical purchasing department of a company has agreed on certain good conditions with its engine supplier, this usage specification must be communicated to the design department via the CAD/PDM ERP integration.


How many ERP systems does your PLM/CPQ solution offer ready-made interfaces to? It’s worth checking. The key to automated comparison between both spheres lies in pre-built interfaces of the PLM/CPQ solution. Because the ERP landscape is colorful, this means: the more ERP systems that can be connected out-of-the-box, the faster the automated data transfer between them can be implemented.

This creates important added value for the entire value chain and at the same time provides the continuous control that a modern company needs. Innovations, more differentiated products as well as cost and quality improvements are only made possible by connecting ERP systems to the PLM world of a manufacturing company.

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