PLM-integrated multi-CAD engineering on the basis of SAP S/4 HANA

A lack of efficiency in the product creation process: that was the complaint of a leading international Chinese individual producer of high-tech automation solutions to support production, assembly, and logistics processes. In 2016, the company switched to an SAP-integrated solution to save time and money. The following problems were to be solved:

  • Reuse of parts hampered by absence of parts management
  • Many recurring jobs that have to be carried out manually
  • No standardization of change and release processes
  • Fluctuating reliability of transfer data for manufacturing
Aims and intentions

The ambitious aim: fully integrated business process management from sales to product development to production, delivery, and maintenance. To achieve this, SAP ERP and SAP PLM were placed seamlessly on an S/4 HANA platform. The next step was the necessary connection of mechanical engineering: with SAP PLM integration of AutoCAD, Creo and Solidworks – as a basis for optimizing the development procedures and their linking with other business processes. The focus was on parts, material, document and BOM management or additionally workflow, rights, and project management, with the following aims:

  • More efficient management of project resources: product data, staff, time, costs, etc.
  • Increased productivity as well as maximized project return and result quality
  • Simplified, standardized, and accelerated workflows and processes
  • Supply of optimized research and development data safely to production.
Perfect project partners – brilliant solution

To implement its integration project successfully, the Chinese company looked for a local partner who brought on board DSC, among others, the developers of SAP Engineering Control Center. SAP ECTR integrates all kinds of authoring tools in SAP PLM: from MCAD to ECAD to MS Office. This makes it possible to manage, retrieve, and visualize (2D/3D) design data and documents efficiently as well as link them to each other and to other SAP objects (material, equipment, etc.). Furthermore, development processes can be optimally controlled and seamlessly linked to other business processes. Then there is the option of using many tried and tested add-ons according to requirements, for example for performance optimization or the automation of routine jobs.

Clear advantage for users

SAP ECTR offers not only an intuitive SAP graphic user interface for engineering but also an ideal product data, process and collaboration platform. For example, it provides the project teams with an overall view of their products, informs them about the processing status, document versions, history and validities, and maps interrelationships. Search, filter, and sort options make work even easier. And all users have precisely what they need in view – thanks to such things as project folders in which work documents can be organized according to need. All in all, a secure framework for fast and correct work and decisions. Not least because SAP ECTR supports the SAP workflow: in accordance with the project tasks supplied by the SAP system (SAP PPM). In this way, users profit from uniform, clearly defined processes that are easy to master. Additionally, partly automated procedures provide extra convenience and the integrated change-management function for controlled releases and changes.

Teamwork with added value

In order to implement the integration solution as fast as possible, the customer’s project department worked hand in hand with strong implementation partners, including the integration specialists from DSC. Thanks to the requirement analysis, the many different solution requirements of the business sectors concerned were able to be identified in advance and given special attention. Deriving from this, the local partner, together with DSC, carried through the SAP ECTR implementation including accompanying product training. The project department took care of the infrastructure of SAP ERP and SAP PLM. Thanks to the outstanding cooperation of the participating project teams, the new PLM solution was already running productively after 6 months.

More efficient engineering – shorter delivery times

With the new solution, not only the stated project aims but also sustainable competitive advantages were achieved: it is now possible to supply customers all over the world even faster with products of the highest quality. This is mainly due to the seamless integration of the product development area in SAP ERP, which now makes the following possible:


  • Uniform management of CAD data, material, etc.
  • Automatic BOM generation with optimized structure
  • Automatic 2D/3D neutral format generation for non-CAD users
  • Improved reuse of similar parts
  • Shorter design/project duration and time-to-market
  • Continuous standardized development processes
  • Error-minimized data transfer to production
percent change notifications (ECN)
percent faster finding of reusable parts

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DSC Software AG
Am Sandfeld 17
76149 Karlsruhe | Germany

Phone: +49 721 9774-100
Fax: +49 721 9774-101