In every industry customer is more demanding for products tailored to their needs. Customers are well aware that with information technology and operational advances, customization is possible. The way a company adapts its business model to achieve high level of customization can generate higher sales growth and better profit margins. Integrated Product and Process Engineering (iPPE) enables companies to deliver highly customized products at optimal cost.
Business scenarios are changing with high pace. Business, customers and economies are well connected and inter-dependent. Company’s growth is driven by responsiveness to changing customer buying behavior and adaptability to change.
Organization success is more linked to customer satisfaction and its ability to recognize individual’s preferences, design it, build it and offer to market. Companies are going one step ahead and offering customers to design the products which suits best to them. Also focus of most competitive companies is to shorten their product life cycle to offer new products and services, targeting new markets and customers.
In sectors like automotive, aerospace, Hi-Tech offering custom products to individual customer companies shall end up in many variants of a product. Complex product structure, multiple product variants and automated production process lead to high volume of master data and difficulty in linking different nodes.
Integrated Product and Process Engineering (iPPE) helps to overcome these challenges. It’s a part of PLM in SAP and mainly used in repetitive manufacturing. It suits to products with many variants. iPPE collects data from Research and development phase and same can be reused and updated in different stages of product development. It allows you to store master data for components, BOMs, routings and line design in one integrated model. iPPE can be connected to different applications used to design the product, routing and line.
To manufacture the goods with extensive variants SAP offers a solution to configure different variants of a product. Integrating this solution across a planning, manufacturing, procurement and sales need accurate master data setup. To achieve the greater accuracy across all the business function new SAP master data model developed i.e. iPPE.
iPPE is made up of abstract elements which are shaped in customizing for each business application.Basic elements of iPPE:
iPPE product structure is a nodal based functional structure of a BOM. It’s a hierarchical representation of Super BOM of a configurable product. Structure is designed using nodes and object dependencies. Product data from R&D team is structured in iPPE.
Hierarchical Representation of Super BOM:
iPPE Process Structure is an application which stores product routing data. It describes the production process of configurable and non-configurable products. Product structure component variants are linked to the activities of Process Structure. It also plays important role in line balancing in line design.
Different objects are used to define multilevel routing structure. Process Structure is designed by using four different objects:
- Line Routing: Line routing is the highest level in hierarchical structure and contains the header data for the routing
- Line Sub Routing: Line sub-routing is a structuring element which groups line sub-routing, activities and operations into a logical sequence of work
- Line Operation: Line operation group activities which are always performed together if any activity in operation selected for that configuration of product
- Line Activity: Line activity is the basic element in process structure and the actual step to be performed
Factory layout is the systematic representation of assembly lines within a plant. It is a hierarchical structure of assembly line that can have as many levels as needed to represent the factory.
There is no effectivity date for factory layout. It is a static structure and will not be changed. Factory layout has three basic components:
- Line: Line represents main Assembly Line, Main Work Station, Feeder Lines, Feeder Station and Wok Area. Takts are created on main assembly line based on number of line segments.
- Line Segment: Line Segment represents the takt on the main assembly line. For each takt on assembly and feeder line one segment will be created.
- Work Area: Work area is a location within line segment and used to divide a takt into left and right side
Product structure, Process structure and Factory Layout make an integrated model to simplify the production process of configurable parts. Below diagram depicts the iPPE structure:
Integrated Solution Approach:
iPPE can be used in integration with APO, Manufacturing execution systems etc. Also there are various legacy systems connected to iPPE where data flows to and fro. All these systems provide data for product design, production process and resource planning in iPPE. Also iPPE stores product data which is used for planning and production purpose in APO and ME system. Below diagram depicts the iPPE process flow:
Meeting individual customers’ demand results into high product variety and companies face tough challenge to optimize the manufacturing cost. This goal can be achieved by aligning business streams with the customer needs. iPPE simplify the various business processes like product design, maintain product & production master data and resource management. This allows companies to provide high level of customization to customers at the lowest cost.