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Why it is important for engineers to see beyond engineering

Today´s business climate demands faster innovation, more responsive manufacturing, and excellence in operations.  Resource consumption is intensifying with economic growth.  Organizations need to be  flexible in order benefit both from the knowledge of maturing workers and the technologically sophisticated emerging workers.  The connectivity of society is increasing and business models are evolving to meet the expectations of personalized products and services. We are in the middle of a social revolution, living in a highly connected world. This requires business model changes that shift the focus from delivering products to delivering performance – to customers, and shareholders 

Time-to-market becomes critically important for companies to stay competitive, but they also have to comply with ever-changing global regulations and fulfill individual customer needs.To master these challenges, manufacturers and energy / resource producers need integrated processes that tie together Sustainable Innovation, Responsive Manufacturing, Operational Excellence, and After Market Services. This is only possible when all Line of Business processes within a company are aligned and individuals have access to the same, up-to-date product related data. We call this approach Idea to Performance.

So, coming back to the title of this blog: Why is it important for engineers to see beyond engineering? Why is it not enough to optimize the processes within engineering or R&D and let manufacturing or service do their own business?

As I mentioned before, it´s all about speed, time to market and flexibility. Speed of innovation is paramount, especially as consumers expect individualized and tailored products. Processes can break under the strain of increased product complexity, changing compliance regulations, globalization and shorter life cycles. Companies that cannot adapt their business models, adapt to the consumer requirements, integrate and optimize their processes will surely be left behind. You need to see all product related processes as one big driver for company success. Disruptions or organizational silos are barriers for innovation.

Integrated processes in product development, manufacturing and service finally enable manufacturers to develop, produce, operate and maintain innovative products efficiently and with high value to their customers.An Aberdeen Group survey of product development companies revealed  that 61% of respondents chose “need to launch products quickly” as a top business priority. (Aberdeen Group, “Product Development Single Source of Truth: Integrating PLM and ERP” (March 2012).

To improve time to market, as well as quality and margins, successful organizations are continuously revisiting the business processes associated with new product introduction.  Even though they constantly take steps to optimize and eliminate non-value-adding activities, 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 with 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 are demanding increasingly tailored products that drive product design and structure complexity.In addition, with information about consumer demands coming in through multiple channels, and with companies tracking the details about the performance of their products, there is no shortage of rich data. The challenge comes with trying to manage that data and extract from it the key insights it contains. These challenges all contribute to the biggest one of all: limited visibility.

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.

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


Product structure management functionality in SAP Product Lifecycle Management keeps product data up-to-date and consistent across the early phases of the product engineering process at HELLA. And it helps ensure intuitive access to CAD content and other design details for stakeholders outside the engineering groups.  With SAP solutions,  HELLA was able to  standardize key design processes across functions and locations and has brought new depth to collaboration among geographically distant development groups. SAP solutions enhance communication by making visual renderings accessible across departments and helping product teams create, track, synchronize, and exchange product detail. And 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.

To read the complete story, click here.

If you want to find out more about SAP´s Idea to Performance approach, visit our website: .

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