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- Fashion PLM and ERP Integration running SAP® Business One
viernes, 28 de octubre de 2016
An Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is an enterprise-wide solution used to automate and integrate core business processes. It is focused on the physical, transaction-oriented business processes and deliverable assets and has been optimised to manage the transactional flow of large volumes of historical transactional data. On the other hand a PLM solution manages and controls all product data from cradle, through design and development, production, and back to the cradle.
There are many essays discovering the issues of PLM and ERP integration in fashion companies.
These are some of the potential issues when the two systems are not considered as one end-to-end project from the get go
Product Hierarchies & Attributes
The way the data is structured and the attributes given are fundamental to being able to store, search and report. An attribute is simply the description of a field or a table. In some cases, PLM and ERP will support entirely different structures and fields. For instance, PLM may allow you to have 8 attributes but ERP may only allow 6. Decisions then need to be made to see if you can reduce the 8 to 6 and still be able to get the information you need easily and quickly. Sometimes the fields in ERP are linked so it can limit how the fields can work together which can put in obstacles within ERP that may not be in PLM.
Style Codes, Style Names, Raw Material Codes & Colour Names & Codes
This often seems like such a simple thing but it can be fraught with issues as different applications can have different character restrictions in different fields, such as the number of characters.
Numeric & Alphanumeric Data
Some may only allow numbers, some only alpha and only in capitals, lower case, proper case etc. Some may auto-generate and want to overwrite pre-generated codes and numbers which can lead to discrepancies and confusion between one system to another.
Costing & Pricing
Costing and pricing is an area where there can be many interpretation issues. A “cost” can be many different things and without clarification the meaning of it can be vague. Costs can vary by colour, size, dimension, volume, season and it is important that this is translated correctly. They can be called different things, because they are different things! Examples would be landed costs, FOB costs, CIF costs etc.
Is the number of decimal places the same? And if not, does the rounding match across all applications? It is essential that the correct information be transferred to the correct fields.
BOMs & Usages
Firstly, it is important to ensure that the (BOM) Bill of Material in the PLM system is compatible with the BOM in the ERP system. Do they both support the same units of measure (metres, yards, singles, dozens etc.), and the number of decimal places?
Seasonality & Effectivity Dates
This is often an area of confusion and can cause some real headaches as some applications may not work with seasons and only with effectivity dates and those effectivity dates may need to be different for different areas of the process. Also, we have to be clear about the start and finish of the effectivity date, e.g. a product has an ending date of December 15 but in reality is it effective until 11:59:59 PM in the evening or did it become ineffective at 12:00:00 AM in the morning?
Integration Method and Timings
It has to be clear how and when a colour, component, or product gets pushed from PLM into ERP – is it manual or automatic? Does it get pushed at creation or when a number of fields are completed? Or is it a “click” that is established as part of the lifecycle approval process? Also, any mandatory fields in ERP must be considered and steps taken to ensure these are complete before the push occurs. This is really important as, otherwise, products which have not been fully established could become part of the ERP process and could potentially end up being ordered or appearing on the web if handled incorrectly. Once an item has been pushed and amendment happens in PLM it is important to establish how, when and what gets uploaded to ERP – once again is it manual or automatic, and how does the process work?
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