Johannesburg — SAP has launched the latest release of its SAP Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution, heralding the introduction of significant enhancements that bring new levels of support for continuous product innovation, integrated development and embedded product compliance.
“Not only does SAP PLM 7.0 introduce many new features, but it is now also integrated with the various other SAP Business Suite applications, thereby enhancing overall business integration and collaboration,” explains Shabir Ahmed, Pre-Sales Manager: Process & Service Industries, SAP Africa. “There were a number of key market trends that influenced the enhancements to SAP PLM, with the most crucial being the need to support greater simplicity, continuous innovation and embedded compliance.
It is an established fact that in many product development processes roughly 80% of existing products do not meet the initial expectations or goals as defined at the outset. Furthermore, about 70% of product costs are locked down during the design phase, and companies are increasingly being held accountable for the environmental and safety performance of their products. Obviously, such trends have a major impact on the product development process and our main goal is to provide a comprehensive solution that can address these major challenges.
“SAP PLM 7.0 now provides a comprehensive integrated product development solution that spans across the entire value chain, from idea generation, through to project and portfolio management, engineering, manufacturing and procurement, providing greater visibility, collaboration and compliance across the product development process.
“Additionally, we have addressed companies’ ever-present pressure to cut costs and the need to increase productivity and efficiency. Historically, SAP PLM has always provided strong capability to support discrete manufacturers; however, other factors have been driving the product development needs in the non-discrete manufacturing industries such as process industries, for example. These include, among others, compliance with ever-changing government regulations, operational documentation, and extensive functionality testing that must be completed before production can begin. The PLM solution has now been extended to support these specific industry requirements.
“Embedded compliance is a distinct feature of the solution, allowing companies to effectively comply with the various environmental, occupational, and product safety regulations and corporate policies. Via the new features supported for embedded product compliance, the design process and the compliance process are integrated with each other.”
Checks and balances across the product development process are integrated into the overall product quality management process. This allows for automated verification across the product development process at specified points to ensure that quality checks and approvals are adhered to. Ahmed adds that best practice concepts in manufacturing that aim to improve efficiencies and productivity, such as the Six Sigma and lean manufacturing principles, are now also supported by the solution.
“With SAP PLM 7.0 we also give our customers the ability to be innovative in the early phases of the development process such as during the idea generation phase. A lot of intellectual capital and knowledge is invested in this process; however, this knowledge is not always captured or visible to the key stakeholders. This kind of knowledge, also called ‘tacit knowledge’, is difficult to share. But now we can capture all the information relevant to those product development ideas and manage the product and service development process more effectively by transforming ‘tacit knowledge’ into ‘explicit knowledge’. Explicit knowledge is well structured and therefore much easier to share.
As a result, one of the new features introduced into the solution is the ability to share selected information with outside parties, thereby strengthening collaboration and communication between various stakeholders who are involved in the product development process.
“A company can now have seamless integration and collaboration with both internal and external stakeholders via a secure, friendly Web-based user interface that allows access to the necessary information, without the need for external parties having to install any additional software other than their Web-browsers,” says Ahmed.
We are confident that the extended features of PLM 7.0 will deliver the best integrated end-to-end process support to our customers along the product lifecycle, driving profitability and growth through innovation. We are indeed very excited about the extended capabilities of SAP PLM 7.0 and remain committed to delivering superior value to our customers through the continuous enhancement of our PLM solution in future.
SAP is the world’s leading provider of business software(*), offering applications and services that enable companies of all sizes and in more than 25 industries to become best-run businesses. With more than 95 000 customers in over 120 countries, the company is listed on several exchanges, including the Frankfurt stock exchange and NYSE, under the symbol “SAP”. For more information, visit http://www.sap.com.
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