IPS – Improving the hand-off from design to manufacturing

IPS: Enabling Collaborative Product Development

From Product Development through Supply Chain, the handoff to manufacturing is simplified with IPS by LeverX

Our client is a leading manufacturer of dispensed beverage equipment headquartered in the midwest Their SAP PLM journey began back in the 2009, and today, we’ll be taking a look at a recent enhancement to their platform in the form of the Integrated Process Solution (IPS) from LeverX.

Improving collaborative product development was a key driver in the decision to implement the IPS solution. Our client desired a solution that engineering users could manage, without an over reliance on the internal IT team for ongoing changes. This was a business-driven initiative.

In the initial PLM implementation, the focus was on eliminating system silos and isolated information that was causing errors and lost time within product development. With a successful SAP PLM system established, it was time to focus on improving business processes around the solution.

With a core emphasis on improving & automating workflows centered on Engineering Change Management within SAP, the initial IPS phase involved creating workflows for the product modification process and IPS: Enabling Collaborative Product Development IPS enables agile workflow and business process management throughout the SAP ERP Application. pre-production process. These business processes are essential to our client’s ongoing product quality & development initiatives.

With a successful implementation of the LeverX IPS platform within SAP, client teams learned how to develop their own workflows and templates within IPS. In 2016, the engineering team continued their focus on process automation by developing new workflows to break down key change notifications and Master Data Management processes. These workflows enabled faster turnaround times for product changes, and a quicker time to production for new products and enhancements to existing product lines.

Working across functional areas of SAP

Deploying new workflows across a variety of tasks, departments, and functional areas of SAP is what the LeverX IPS solution was built for. The initial focus was on ECM, which lead to workflows encompassing the SAP DMS module and integration with SAP PPM. Ongoing workflows streamlined the end to end process, with the hand off from product design all the way through the supply chain.

Key workflows and benefits:

  • Email Based Approvals: Key workflows have been designed that can now be reviewed and approved remotely from within Email. These approvals work, in full, without having to log into SAP directly. Great efficiency gain for traveling team members.
  • Pre-Production - A complex pre-production approval process required new workflow templates to facilitate the handoff from product design, through product approval, and release to manufacturing.
  • Engineering Change Management - Ongoing product changes, both to new designs and existing models, require strong process oversight. With a combined PLM environment, design docs, related instructions, and all change requests and approvals are now tracked.
  • PPM Integration - IPS extends change and approval functionality to SAP PPM, enabling better project and portfolio visibility and management.
  • Ownership - Key business leaders and departments are directly managing and controlling these new processes. Calls to IT are not needed for process changes.

Workflow Implementation Success

The initial SAP DMS & ECM workflow deployment has been a resounding success that the engineering team can fully own and manage moving forward. IPS has enabled extensive automation in pre-production workflows, helping reduce the time it takes to guide a new product concept into manufacturing and distribution. 

This PLM journey has brought agility to production process, with a dramatic decrease in time lost due to searching for information in legacy systems, and the related errors that inevitably occur because that legacy data winds up being out of date. With centralized & accurate, user-managed workflows and processes, our client has avoided “shadow processes” that tend to slow down efficiency gains.

Understanding and responding to customer requirements has always been important to our manufacturing client. With superior product design experience and an ongoing committment to the improvement of how their product data and processes are managed, they continues their deep dedication to their customer base.