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Why it is important for engineers to see beyond engineering

It’s a social revolution. We live in a highly connected world requiring changes in business models that shift the focus from delivering products to delivering performance.

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We have to deliver that performance to customers and shareholders. So it’s no longer enough to optimize a processes within engineering or R&D, and then let manufacturing or service do their own business.

And it’s why engineers must see beyond engineering.

The Importance of Integrating Processes

It’s all about speed, time-to-market and flexibility. Fast innovation is paramount, especially as consumers expect individualized and tailored products.

But processes can break under the strain of increased product complexity, changing compliance regulations, globalization and shorter life cycles. Companies that cannot adjust their business models and adapt to the consumer requirements, as well as integrate and optimize their processes, will be left behind.

You need to see all product-related processes as one big driver for company success. Integrated processes for product development, manufacturing and service enable manufacturers to develop, produce, operate and maintain innovative products efficiently and with high value to their customers.

Barriers to Innovation

To improve time to market, as well as quality and margins, successful organizations are continuously taking steps to optimize and eliminate non-value-adding activities. But there are still several challenges that prevent these companies from reaching their full potential. These include:

  • Organizational silos: Most departments work within their own boundaries, with minimal communication between other stakeholders or integration across systems.
  • Heterogeneous IT landscapes: IT landscapes have evolved over time, and are often comprised of software solutions from multiple “best-of-breed” vendors.
  • Product complexity and an influx of data: Consumers demand increasingly tailored products that drive product design and structure complexity; consumer demands come in through multiple channels; and companies track product performance details, etc.
  • Limited visibility: Managing all of the data mentioned above and extracting from it the key insights it contain is one of the biggest challenges of all.

A consistent, up-to date view on product related data — throughout the enterprise and throughout the product lifecycle — is a must if you want to bring sustainable, compliant products to market. Customers from various industries rely on solutions from SAP to achieve this.

Success Story

HELLA, a leading automotive supplier with more than 29,000 employees worldwide, is one of them. People in Europe drive cars every day to work, run errands or take their kids to school. And they expect mechanical reliability and personal safety at posted speeds and in various weather conditions. They can drive confidently because 95 percent of the automobiles sold in Europe monitor those requirements with dependable electronics designed, manufactured and marketed HELLA KGaA Hueck & Co.

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Product structure management functionality in SAP Product Lifecycle Management keeps product data up-to-date and consistent across the early phases of HELLA’s product engineering process. And it helps ensure intuitive access to CAD content and other design details for stakeholders outside the engineering groups.

SAP solutions have helped HELLA standardize key design processes across functions and locations, and bring new depth to collaboration among geographically distant development groups. SAP solutions enhance communication by making visual renderings accessible across departments, helping product teams create, track, synchronize and exchange product detail.

All of that helps HELLA design and manipulate the intricate product structures typical of dealer options packages in the automotive industry. Globally distributed development professionals now share a single, consistent version of the truth about product details and a single way to discuss and update them.

The consequence: new, innovative products that can be introduced to the market faster. Read the complete story here, and find out more about SAP’s Idea to Performance approach at our Web site:

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