I am Bernhard Meyer from the global industrial manufacturing team focusing on the product development and product lifecycle part of our customers value chain. In this blog post, I will tell you more about the solution capabilities of SAP Enterprise Product Development and how it supports industrial manufacturers to automate processes and standardize their products.
Why is this important?
Working with industrial Manufacturers we see that they are focusing on five strategic priorities to pursue the vision to “Create tailor-made solutions, delivered at scale and as a service” (you can read more about in Patrick Lamm’s blog). However, the key element from a product development point of view is, how to invent and develop the new digital smart products and solutions, that meet their customers’ individual needs and allow them to follow the trend of servitization and introduce new business models.
Derived Challenges in the context of product development
In my conversation with customers, it is clear that product standardization and process automation across organizational and company borders are the two crucial enablers to be able to deliver customer specific products and solutions at scale and as a service
Some of the common questions I get are …
How can I decrease the amount of effort and costs put into frequent design changes and customer/order specific requirements?
How do I effectively track and manage continuous change in product requirements?
How can I manage product complexity, yet still ensure quality, and meet compliance requirements?
How can I improve my product development collaboration process to do more with less?
How can I catch errors early in the game, in order to control costs and maximize profits?
So how can SAP help industrial manufacturers address those challenges, while standardizing products and automating processes.
First it is important to have an application architecture where you can run your core business processes in an effective manner, yet still be able to extend processes quickly and at scale with modular innovations (micro-services) (you can read as well more about in Patrick Lamm’s blog).
SAP Intelligent Enterprise [Source: www.sap.com]
Today I want to introduce and discuss the SAP Enterprise Product Development (SAP EPD), one industry cloud solution which helps industrial manufacturers address those challenges above- from a product development and incorporating product lifecycle point of view.
As of today, this solution covers four main topics
extending the core PLM processes.
Let me take each of those areas in turn.
SAP Enterprise Product Development – Engineering
Screenshot of Impact analysis in the context of requirements management and systems modeling
Following the System Engineering approach, this application helps to capture the voice of customer and feedback from different stakeholders from the downstream process to drive product development. Secondly, it helps breaks organizational silos and facilitate multi-disciplinary teams’ collaboration to expedite product development. It also enables impact analysis of requirements against actual product data to make informed decisions & tradeoffs. And finally, it supports full traceability by linking requirement models to product data and tests to accomplish MBSE (Model Based Systems Engineering) practices for product development
SAP Enterprise Product Development – Collaboration
Screenshot of 3D visualized collaboration in that case with redlining
“Improving integration alone is not sufficient, collaboration between sales, engineering and manufacturing becomes even more important”
This is of course especially true for the product development process, where there are many different stakeholders involved – both internally and externally (e.g., suppliers, design partners or contract manufacturers).
It is really important to have an application that ensures consistent collaboration and business execution with a process-driven (Workflow based) approach. Having a single source of truth for collaboration on all types of product data in a secure manner helps drive efficiency. especially the ability to see everyone’s redlining's and mark ups on 3D product visuals.
SAP Enterprise Product Development – Visualization
Screenshot of 3D visualized business data
It is important to have a simplified user experience, so it is easy to visualize engineering and business data so everyone throughout the enterprise has the data and insights to make key business decisions along the product lifecycle. Moving from Text & Table centric approach to a visual Digital Thread. The visualization capabilities within SAP EPD are where lightweight 3D visualization is generated out of authoring tools (CAD) and enriched with business information from ERP.
SAP Enterprise Product Development – Connected Product
Screenshot of What-If Simulation of a connected product
Now more than ever, understanding how your product / equipment is actually performing at the customer site as well as getting direct customer and service technician feedback is really important. So, you need a direct connection to your product, getting actual insights on usages which can be incorporated creating or modifying product requirements.
This next level of feedback loop is from the sensors that have been engineered to gain behavior- and usage insights for your products, which can also help creating value added digital service.
These four main SAP developed solution capabilities will also be extended by additional partner solutions.
In one of my next blog posts, I will discuss how SAP Enterprise Product Development – Collaboration capabilities are integrated into the end-to-end change and project management processes, ensuring tight integration and collaboration between the engineering and the business world.