“It’s a load of crap”, he said, “something that the big vendors like Dassault, Siemens and PTC invented to get more money from their customers”, that was Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk, in 2007. What has changed since then? Well namely, the Cloud happened: “But, you know I was right then because we didn’t have the Cloud”, he countered, “now we do and this really changed it all”.
This represents a major shift for manufacturing companies used to using software like SAP, Oracle, Siemens, Dassault, and others behind the firewall. Where once all applications needed to be a part of one suite and in one location, now companies can modernize by using best of breed applications in the cloud, on-premise, or a mixture of both while sharing their data by integrating applications.
In many cases traditional manufacturers are heavily invested in their ERP backbone, like SAP, and choosing to add agility to their on-premise ERP with a cloud-based front office, like Salesforce, for example: Sika US. Sika uses Salesforce, a cloud application, and on-premise SAP to track individual sales data, product mix, credit, and accounts receivable issues. Before integrating their systems, Sika was manually uploading flat files several times every week and manually assigning these records, in order to stay on top of these processes. This new process represents a leap forward in productivity and efficiency, allowing Sika to produce more with the same or less effort.
In other cases, newer manufacturers like Skullcandy have made the move to run their business almost entirely in the cloud including ERP like SAP by Design, Salesforce, and eCommerce solutions. Skullcandy is a leading audio brand that reflects the collision of the music, fashion and action sports lifestyles. Before integrating their systems, Skullcandy was manually sending warehouse instructions via e-mail and FTP, without that information going into SAP. Now, using Jitterbit, Skullcandy has SAP send the warehouse instructions to their 3PLs(UPS, DHL). Skullcandy also integrates their webshops(eBay, Amazon) into SAP using Jitterbit. This allows orders to come back into their system and be fulfilled through any of their four warehouses. Running a cloud based business allows Skullcandy to be more efficient and flexible, thereby leading to higher market penetration and sales.
With Autodesk, modern manufacturers are adopting Product Lifecycle Management tools in the cloud to gain competitive advantages. For instance Greenpoint Technologies, a Boeing Business Jet Completion Center providing turnkey interior completions for private clients and Heads-of-State, now has the ability to manage the complexity of tracking products from start to finish and have improved collaboration to deliver products faster and cheaper. Using integrated Cloud PLM from Autodesk, Greenpoint has improved the engineering process from the design phase to public release.
No matter which technology infrastructure your company uses, data abounds and challenges organizations to connect these apps — they are only as strong as their weakest link — you amplify the value by connecting them. This task is not an easy one and requires an integration strategy. There’s no avoiding it — and manufacturer’s would do so at their own peril — because Cloud integration is a must have for enabling seamless design, procurement, and distribution processes.
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