PLM Process Automation

What is PLM Process Automation?

PLM Process Automation is automation of complex PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) business processes, enabled by technology. It can reduce Time-To-Market, enable the Digital Thread/Digital Twin and improve data quality by means of simple rules or machine learning. This can be achieved by a combination of Robot Process Automation (RPA) and customisations inside PLM or ERP systems. 

Benefits of Automated PLM Processes

Automating administrative processes using Robotics Process Automation (RPA) in especially finance is a leading trend.

The potential for automating Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is just as high.

The Road to Process Automation

Identify Potential

Identify trivial repetitive tasks or processes where the business could gain from automating.

Streamline Process

Map the as-is process, simplify and design the to-be process.

Categorise Artefacts

Classify and define rules for each category.

Automate

Use a combination of workflows, customisations and Robot Process Automation (RPA) tools to automate the process.

Validate & Monitor

Validate the automation and monitor.

Workflows

Detailed workflows improve the process flow, enable transparency and reduce unstructured information flow in emails.

Create multiple small workflows instead of one big that covers everything.

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) usually have workflow tools.

Categories

Classification of Artefacts like parts and documents enables you to setup rules like “all pumps must be traceable and sourced by John Doe”.

Integration and Interfaces

Some of the most obvious tasks to automate are the transfer of information from one system to another, e.g. the transfer of Material Information from the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system to the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

However, interfaces comes with a cost and requires specialised IT competencies.

Robot Process Automation

Robot Process Automation (RPA) tools like UiPath are great for working across multiple desktop applications without huge investments. However, they are slower and less robust than interfaces between the system, so it is a balance when to use and when not to.

Machine Learning

Machine learning will be an important technology also in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), but we are still to see the actual implementations.

Challenges and Barriers

The Technologies for automating processes are available, but multiple challenges exists, but when it comes to implement RPA a number of challenges occurs:

  • Missing overview of the actual as-is processes.
  • Defragmented processes and way of processing PLM data
  • No or inconsistent categorisation (classification) of PLM objects like parts, models, documents.
  • Misused of existing PLM software features.
  • Intensive use of Excel, mail and tacit knowledge.
  • Difficulties identifying reachable opportunities
Portrait of Erik Løber

Erik Løber

Managing Director
Senior Business Consultant

Erik.Lober@BoostPLM.com
Tel: +45 2223 5655

How can BoostPLM help You?

Understanding the PLM processes and systems in detail and seeing the opportunities and prerequisites are essential for automating PLM processes.

BoostPLM has a long experience for automating PLM processes. We have automated many processes in SAP and Windchill including the creation and maintenance of material master, BOM and routings on plants, automated translation of material names.

We use a combination of customisations and RPA tools.

Please reach out to us if you would like to understand  opportunities for automating your PLM processes.

Read our Articles related to PLM Process Automation

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