When I entered the PLM (and CAD and ALM and …) world, I had this preconceived notion that ERP was THE most important business solution that any company could and should have. I was wrong – sort of.
For those not familiar with PLM: PLM is all about about bringing together all the (intellectual) information needed to manufacture a good. This means electronic info like designs, warranty, manuals (for a car for instance – in different languages), piping and cabling info, etc. Imagine you need to build a mobile phone: the gorilla glass could come from China, the plastic case from Korea (but can this plastic be imported in Europe?), the manual was printed in Canada, the electronics assemblied (or sub-assemblied) in the USA. And this phone needs to be developed and manufactured within 12 months. Can you imagine the complexity?
ERP is about optimising the flow of operational information within a company whereas PLM would be the optimisation of intellectual information within a company.
So why is no ERP or PLM vendor investing in a combined PLM/ERP value chain solution? Some ERP partners like Ad Ultima are already investing in PLM & ERP and do see the increased value that they can offer to their mainly manufacturing customers.
PLM & ERP together: it will happen one day!