Digital Supply Chain Green Thursday – SAP Engineering Control Center
Thank you very much for joining us in this article of the Digital Supply Chain Green Thursday blog series. Every Thursday we will together take a closer look at one of the SAP Digital Supply Chain solutions and how they contribute to sustainability in supply chains all over the world. Have fun in following the blog, we invite you to get in touch with us and feel free to share the blog posts among your peers. Here you can find last week’s article on how you can lift the fog of uncertainty with SAP Product Lifecycle Costing
Media breaks and information silos are road bumps for smart collaboration
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the composer of the great musical “Hamilton”, said “The fun for me in collaboration is, […] working with people makes you smarter […]”. When thinking about the projects and presentations I had to deliver during the last year, to be honest that did not feel too smart all the time. More than once, there was one team member who didn’t share their sources and insights with the team or someone who didn’t use the predefined layout, or the project progress was delayed because people were working on different versions of documents,… I guess many of you could name similar experiences in your projects as well – slowing down the project progress because information is lost in a media break or people work on outdated versions of data. Having a big development project in mind, with a big team, located all over the globe and many changes within the agile project environment of modern projects – there is a lot of possibilities for mix-ups and errors.
Smart products need inputs from multiple engineering disciplines
Especially in product development projects in discrete manufacturing industries, there’s one major media break coming to mind right away. Modern day “smart” products do not only need mechanical engineering but also electrical and electronic engineering. For all different disciplines there are specialized authoring tools on the market to support the engineering of the product model(s). This leads to an immense volume of engineering information that needs to be circulated within the team as everyone is depending on the information of one-another as there needs to be one smart product system in the end.
Connecting engineering data with business data early on
For a smart decision-making not only engineering information is needed but also business data can be leveraged for decision-making in the product development process. With the SAP Engineering Control Center solution, the product model becomes part of the development process right from the beginning and can be combined with the business data in the SAP ERP/ S4-system. The SAP Engineering Control Center enables the integration of engineering data and product models from all disciplines with the related business information from SAP ERP/ S4 to make accurate and consistent information accessible to the stakeholders from all the disciplines working together in developing a product. This allows businesses to make smart decisions based on an end-to-end consistent 360 degree product view instead of a discipline-based view and to break open information silos right from the start.
Enabling smart business model with the Digital Twin
Having all this information at one place from an early point in the product development process enables businesses to build up on of the key enables for smart business models – the Digital Twin. The Digital Twin does not only resemble the virtual representation of the physical product but also the continuous exchange of data and information throughout the whole product lifecycle and allowing insights in real-time or near real-time speed. This enables getting insights on actual customer demand, full visibility in logistics and getting a real-time picture of your manufacturing situation and leads to new, smart business models and transformations that companies can leverage.
Profiting across the whole product lifecycle
Everyone can profit from this early-on sharing and exchanging of information. Product development engineers can use SAP Engineering Control Center as a platform to access and upload up-to-date design information from various disciplines – while everyone can work with the authoring tool that is best suited for their needs. Additionally, SAP objects like documents, materials, BoMs or the product structure can be accessed, created and configured from the SAP Engineering Control Center. Connecting the engineering side with the business side of the product development project also allows engineers to build upon already used parts and materials that can be implemented in the new model. This not only saves time but also helps to avoid unnecessary complexity on a part-level while still offering a wide product-portfolio to the customer. Most of the times, the metaphorical or even literal wheel does not have to be invented again – if designers are aware of work that they can reuse. The rest of the product development team profits from the information as well, as they can access them by the SAP capabilities and combine them with business data do drive smart decision making. Teams working in the later stages of the product lifecycle can benefit from the 3D-visualization based on the uploaded product model, which can be used to create images for work instructions, service instructions and even for pictures in marketing and keep them up to date.
The Reach of SAP Engineering Control Center Across the Product Lifecycle; Source: SAP
Smart practices enable sustainable decision-making
The combination and integration of engineering and business data enabled by SAP Engineering Control Center allows insights on sustainability as well. The resource efficiency and can be enhanced by using already existing parts that are being produced on already built-up production lines instead of setting up a new manufacturing process. Also, insights from the business data regarding sustainability can be taken into account. Compliance and marketability can be assessed from an early point in the development by SAP S/4HANA for product compliance, or the Carbon Emissions of materials can be aggregated in SAP Product Lifecycle Costing. Additionally, the Digital Twin does not only unlock new business opportunities but also gives insights to the operator of the product to enable performance optimization and predictive maintenance for a longer lifetime.
Easy Document Management with good Overview in SAP Engineering Control Center; Source: SAP
Making the life easier – not only during product development
If you want to get further information on how to leverage the capabilities of integrating the product model into your development process and early-on starting to build the Digital Twin, reach out to your SAP contact or click here and get to know the full range of capabilities within the SAP Engineering Control Center. You can also check out some great customer references!
Make your own experiences on how fun it can be in smart collaboration on smart products for smart business models – with SAP Engineering Control Center!
I hope you found this blog post helpful and interesting. Please make sure you follow me to not miss any future blog posts in this series and stay informed about how a Sustainable Supply Chain is supported by SAP Digital Supply Chain solutions! Feel free to have a look at my earlier posts as well: