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A quick glance at an end to end process in Product Life Cycle Management

I have been thinking for a while to write a blog in Product Life Cycle Management with the experience in SAP consulting over 10 years. In this first Blog, I am trying to highlight some of the SAP solutions available in the New Product development life cycle process and how they could leverage for a quick new product development and efficient product and project management process?

Also I thought this might help SAP community to get exposed to a wide range of solutions available to meet customer challenges covering all processes right from idea and concept management till product obsolence.

This blog also points of some of the reasons why business needs a homogeneous landscape in order to reduce implementation and support cost.

Idea and concept Management: – In this phase you need to collect all potential ideas from various touch points and refine them which become a concept/s for the new development process. SAP’s one of the Cross application component product definition (xPD) is the only system available which has the ability to collect and refine ideas. This is a role based web enabled application which can be easily integrated with Resource and Portfolio management application or can be used as a stand alone component.

Project Management and Resource and portfolio Management: This phase covers how the concept can be turned as a new product/service development project in the organization. SAP has project systems and collaborative projects(c-Projects) to execute the projects. There may be a question when ECC project systems and c-projects should be used. If you would like to provide access to some of your contract resources who will be working outside the company fire wall, c-Projects will be the right choice for them to punch in their project related details. C-Projects can be very well integrated with ECC Project systems or xRPM (Resource and portfolio Management) systems.  SAP’s xRPM (Resource and portfolio Management) helps to manage the resources efficiently by assigning the right resources to the right project and track multiple projects very easily using a dash board about the status, schedule and budget etc., Also this enables you to use various what if analysis so that you can simulate and see the impacts if the budget is allocated to a critical project and how it would impact other projects in the portfolio. 

New development process Product Design (CAD Integration): SAP offers standard CAD integration with majority of the CAD systems like Auto CAD, catia, Pro-E, solid edge, solid works, Unigraphics and I-DEAS. With the concept and usage of eSOA, integrating with any other CAD applications with SAP wouldn’t be a big challenge. 

Mock up and product modeling SAPs embedded ECL viewer facilitates to view all design documents in a neutral format and also it is possible to do 3D mock up through which it is possible to detect the assembly flaws at design phase itself. 

Product Data Management SAP strongly supports all the functionalities that are being handled in any of the product data management systems. I am wondering some times, why some business still use other PDM systems in SAP landscape. This is due to one or more of the following reasons:

1.Users are practiced for many years with the conventional systems and psychologically not willing to transfer some of their business processes in to SAP. They may think that handling in SAP is difficult

2.To some extent, handling may be easier due to the fact that there are no much validations are controls available in those systems. Here I would like to high light some of the problems that every business encounters because of following heterogeneous landscape. 

1. Longer implementation time due to complex interface development process 

2. More licensing cost and IT support cost after the implementation 

3. Duplication of efforts in both the systems and increasing the cost of the business. 

Collaboration process During your design/Engineering and procurement process, if you would like to collaborate easily and efficiently with your external partners, SAP’s c-folders takes an edge. Following are the key capabilities of c-folders 

• Folder Concept • multiple views• versioning/history of documents• hierarchical structures • Data Sheet (easy Spec) and Classification capabilities • Comparison based on data sheets • Mark-up and Redlining•  Overall Project Modelling•          Discussions•  Project room• Access control 

Manufacturing and execution SAP ECC system provides all key functionalities required for any manufacturing and execution processes supporting discrete, process and repetitive Industries with lots of Industrial specific solutions. If you use SAP ECC 6.0 with EHP3, there are some added functionalities like handling shift reports which makes SAP system independent on its own with out the need for integrating with any legacy manufacturing and execution systems. SAP’s Variant configuration component is more stable and flexible for the use of any complex multi- level configurable products even for High Tech Business. Also you may need to use SAPs Internet pricing and configuration for determining the variable prices in web applications.  

Quality Management This component support all types quality Inspection and sampling procedure for all types of manufacturing products and procured materials.   

Asset Life Cycle Management and Service management SAP Asset life cycle management provides wide ranges of functionalities not only for handling the assets and maintenance of all types of assets in the organization but also facilitates to provide after sales support. SAP’s serial number management with the combination of equipment hierarchy makes it possible to build a serial number genealogy for the products and componenents at all levels. With this, usage of Service Management would cover all the processes in returns and warranty management till product obsolence.

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  • Hi Mohan,

    You have captured the important information in such a way it helps to get equipped with latest going on in the PLM world qucikly.

    Great efforts.

    - Raj

  • Hello Mohan,

    Really this was a very good blog. Especially for new commers to SAP consultant profile like us. Please share me your personal mail id, contact detials (if okay) with me. I need your guidance as i have entered newly in PLM. Please help on the same. My mail id is