Data is the heart of manufacturing companies and ERP applications keep data flowing from design to service. Cloud technologies open up new possibilities in regard to timely updates, further development and software maintenance – for ERP, CAD and their integration solutions.
That's why CIDEON’s new Cloud CAD Integration app brings together the benefits of Onshape with SAP’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. ERP software automates data transmission within a company, covering procurement, production, sales, human resources, accounting and other critical business information.
SAP is the world market leader in ERP software, which is available either on-premise or as a cloud solution. The latest ERP solution from SAP is called S/4HANA Cloud. The CIDEON Cloud CAD Integration app, now available in the Onshape App Store and the SAP App Center, integrates with both on-premise and cloud SAP systems.
Why Integrate Onshape With SAP ERP?
In general, users want to create production bill of materials (BOMs) in an automated and process-safe way without having to copy numbers from their CAD system and enter them in their SAP ERP system. The error rate for manual data entry is known to be many times higher than in automated procedures. This is also the case for the SAP integration with Onshape.
When using the CIDEON integration app, SAP material masters with information from Onshape – for example, part properties – are automatically created in the ERP (see Figure 1 below), while CAD information such as material, weight and volume are transferred to SAP ERP. On account of the direct link to the SAP material master, the designer always has a comprehensive overview of all the important SAP information, such as stock levels, suppliers, prices, etc.
Another important point and added value for users who do not want to leave their familiar working environment in Onshape, is that they can create or update parts lists in SAP at the push of a button (See Figure 2 below).
On the SAP side, article master data (SAP material master) and SAP bill of materials are easily created or updated based on Onshape’s CAD data.
All of this works in the traditional SAP ERP (ECC 6.0 EHPx) and with S/4HANA – SAP’s new company cloud that is undoubtedly the future standard of ERP. For both scenarios, the SAP Cloud Platform (SCP) acts as an integration platform in both the Neo and Cloud Foundry environment.
Future Plans for Improvements
CIDEON is now collaborating closely with the Onshape development team to create an even more powerful CAD-ERP integration.
Onshape, with its integrated Release Management, offers a variety of functions that have previously only been mapped with traditional PDM systems. For example, development versions can be versioned and revised by releases. However, it makes sense to also save an article number with each release, which then reflects the logistical representation in ERP.
The further optimization of the SAP integration should include the possibility for Onshape’s engineers to generate an SAP article number (SAP material number) directly from the Onshape approval workflow so that it is stored in the model during the revision process. On the ERP side, the goals are also defined. In the future, the Onshape revision will be depicted in the corresponding SAP Business objects – and, if required, in the SAP change management. All of this will be fully automated, of course.
Collaboration with follow processes will also be improved because access to the CAD models and drawing information in the respective valid version is important for SAP ERP users in the areas of procurement, sales and production. Enabling a direct connection from the revised SAP Business Object to the corresponding Onshape CAD model, or to the drawing, will mark yet another milestone in this joint development work.
Although much has already been achieved, there is still plenty to do. Our first deployment of the functional enhancements is planned to be available for co-innovation customers in Q1 2019 and for general release in summer 2019. Onshape and CIDEON are committed to moving things forward as quickly as possible. After all, more and more product manufacturers realize they may need to switch to managing their engineering data in the cloud much sooner than expected.