Make your Supply Chain Resilient and Agile with D365 F&O | PLM Integration Solution with ECM and Analytics Capabilities (Video)

How can a manufacturing organization connect the diverse teams and activities to make the entire designing, building and supply chain processes work like a well-oiled machine?

Discover how a PLM-ERP integration solution, together with engineering change management and analytics capabilities, connects your design and manufacturing functions, minimizes supply chain disruptions, and helps you make informed business decisions.

In this recorded 30-minute webinar, To-Increase and Encore talk about:

  • The benefits of integrating PLM with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations
  • How Engineering Change Management helps you in version control and improving data quality
  • Why you need Analytics for ECM

Note: Even though most customers, commentators, and consultants still call it Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations or D365FO, Microsoft now technically licenses it as Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management.

Transcript below:

Ziad: Hello and welcome, everyone, to our series of webinars with our strategic partner To-Increase in collaboration, obviously, with Encore. Today we’re gonna be talking about our PLM integration solution that To-Increase offers on the F&O solution or finance supply chain as well. Today I’ve got Kevin and Eric from To-Increase as well as myself Ziad, and Alfred, who will be representing Encore.

A few housekeeping rules. We’ll take questions at the end. We love questions, like to be interactive. So if you have any questions, feel free to drop them into the chat and question box on the application. You will get a recording as well as some notes here after this presentation as well. So, feel free to take your own notes or wait till the recording comes out as well. And in the meanwhile, you know, if you like what you see here today, make sure you share it out and join our next few series as well. There are two more additional, you know, webinars that are going to be happening here as well post today. So, make sure you stay tuned and register for those as well. With that being said, again, my name is Ziad. I am the partner and alliances lead here at Encore Business Solutions, and I’ve got my friend here, Alfred, who’ll do his intro and we’ll go from there.

Alfred: Wonderful. Thank you so much, Ziad. Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us today. We are very excited to be here doing this to talk a little bit more about PLM, and you know, how you can build a better supply chain resiliency. By way of a quick intro, Alfred Selvarajah. I’m senior account executive here at Encore within the sales function. Have been at Encore over a year now, but have been in the Dynamic Cycle System for close to about 12 years. Yeah, I’m happy to talk to you a little bit about Encore, but I will hand it over to Kevin for a quick intro.

Kevin: Hi, Kevin Davis sales specialist for To-Increase. I’ve been with To-Increase almost 4 years, and then in the ERP space for about 30-plus years. And lots of manufacturing experience with To-Increase. Eric, you gonna introduce yourself?

Eric: Yeah, Eric van Hofwegen. I’m consultant To-Increase for 17 years, and AX for about 20 years, and I will do a part of the demonstration today. Nice to meet you all.

Ziad: Thank you. Over to you, Alfred.

Alfred: Wonderful. Yeah. Well, we want to take a couple of minutes to talk a little bit about Encore so you know a bit more about the respective organizations here. Eric, if you could go to the next slide? Yeah, beautiful. Well, we’ve been in the dynamics ecosystem for close to about 32 years. We represent a range of Microsoft business solutions ranging from dynamics ERP, customer engagement as well as the power platform. So essentially, we are a well-aligned partner with Microsoft in what Microsoft calls the business application space. And you know, we are fully North American-based. We are spread across Canada and the U.S. as well. We are about 120 experienced folks in the organization. One of the things I really wanted to highlight today is by extension of our longevity over the 32 years we’ve worked with a number of different industries, but manufacturing has been one that’s really close to our hearts.

We’ve had some successful and proven projects with To-Increase in a number of different industries. And so that’s why we are really excited particularly around the PLM space. And so we are really excited to share some of our insights and knowledge with you here today. Other than that, like I said, you know, we are a trusted Microsoft partner and have been in the ecosystem for quite a long time, and we’re essentially a systems integrate and we implement a number of different dynamic solutions. So hopefully, you find the expertise and knowledge that we share here today valuable. Thank you. I will ask Kevin to do a quick intro of To-Increase as well.

Kevin: Thanks, Alfred. This is our To-Increase by the numbers slide. I won’t go through all the various numbers. You’ll get that shared with you as part of the deck that we send out today. But there’s really three things that are important to understand about To-Increase and what value we can bring to Encore as a partner and then you as a customer. And that is that we are Microsoft’s largest global ISV, independent software vendor. What we do is we develop, package, and then distribute and support software that extends the D365 finance and supply chain management solution to that last mile. So Microsoft builds a product that will meet about 80% to 85% of really every company’s needs. And then we work with our partners like Encore to close that gap to really bring it to that very specific line of business that you all as customers are in.

We have about 200 employees. The majority of those are developers, product managers and consultants. And we are global and we’ve been in business for 18 years. And again, it’s developed, packaged, and supported software for D365 finance and supply chain management. Eric. We build our solutions on really three pillars. As you can see here, the first pillar is data management and analytics. And it says there in the box, it’s industry agnostic. Microsoft goes to market in really five main areas of lines of business, and then some sub-industries under there. It doesn’t matter what your line of business is today. Now, obviously, today we’re talking about PLM and manufacturing, but it doesn’t really matter what your line of business is. The data management and analytics products will provide value to your business and help extend D365 in functional areas that you need it extended in and help in.

We also build on manufacturing. We have deep expertise in manufacturing. That’s one of the core pillars that we started on was manufacturing. And so we have a part of our portfolio that we’ll share with you in a minute is very specifically manufacturing products and PLM. What we’re gonna talk about today is one of those. And then the third pillar is asset as a service. And what asset as a service does is it takes both the manufacturing pillar and the data management and the analytics pillar and brings those together so that if you’re a manufacturer and you manufacturing something, then you’re selling it or you’re renting it and servicing it with your customers, we can provide you really a quote to cash sort of solution that provides value in every part of that asset as a service value chain. So, those are our three pillars. Encore as our partner can work with you on any of the pillars that we have there.

If you look at our portfolio, take those three pillars and then underneath there, or if you wanna stay on top of there, are our specific products that support each of those pillars. As you can see, manufacturing is what we’re gonna talk about today, and that’s PLM integration, but we have asset as a service and we have data management analytics, very specific products that provide specific functional processes to support and extend to that last mile. Our partner, Encore here, is competent in each one of these products that we have as part of the portfolio, and we’re glad to talk with you about those. Eric.

If you think about two slides back, we talked about the pillars, and then we talked about the portfolio in the last slide. This is Microsoft’s manufacturing cloud, and Microsoft has various cloud schematics for their various lines of businesses that they support. This is a cloud manufacturing schematic. And what it does, it takes the…if you think about as a manufacturer, you design a product and then you build or manufacture that product, and then you distribute, maintain and service that product. So, if you think about that value chain, this really represents it in two various ways. First of all, is just sort of a circular value process, but then layered in there is at the core data. And you have to move data between the various functional processes within D365, and then from the outside into D365, and then from D365 outside again. And so what we’re gonna talk about today is very specifically that design build part of it. How do you get that information from the CAD system or outside of D365 into D365 so you can then produce a product from that design into a specific product that’ll then go into your inventory and then you either sell, rent or lease to your customers?

So we’ve taken our portfolio in orange there, and overlayed it on this Microsoft manufacturing cloud value chain there in sort of a circular manner. Again, glad to talk with you about any of the products that we provide there as Encore is willing to do. But today we’re gonna focus on one key area, which is product lifecycle management or PLM. Really the question is, you’re saying what is PLM, and what does it really do? How does it really bring value to that supply chain? And one of the things that it does, it provides visibility to everybody in the organization to one version of the truth. So you don’t have spreadsheets coming from one area going into another and then getting translated and somebody sees a third version of that. This provides visibility for one version of the truth.

It increases efficiency. Talked to a customer yesterday. They’re doing all kinds of manual cleanup and input in Excel spreadsheets. Very inefficient process, very air prone, and very time-consuming. So, it increases efficiency because it’s bringing quality data in, doing those data checks so somebody doesn’t have to do that manually. In terms of customer satisfaction. How does it build customer satisfaction? Because you’re giving your customer a better quality product from the start.

Revisions that need to be made to the product before they get to the customer are made because they’re communicated efficiently throughout the process inside the four walls as opposed to outside the four walls. Once the customer gets it, and oops, we forgot a revision for that customer on a part, which then means that the product isn’t working right and the customer’s unhappy. So, it really improves customer satisfaction that way.

Talked about quality. We do a lot of quality checks on the data coming into D365 so that you’re not doing that manually. It’s much more efficient and much higher level of quality from the very beginning. And then it also make sure that the people who own the data can see the data and interact with the data, and make sure that the security is there with the data. So the visibility, increased quality, increased speed throughout the value chain improves with PLM integration. Eric.

Here are a couple of quotes from a one Microsoft…a couple of Microsoft executives in terms of our product. Our PLM product and the ECM product there is in D365 today are related. PLM is our product that we still market and implement. ECM is a module within D365 that you can turn on. That is our previously named product engineering product, Microsoft bought it from us, they put it into the standard product. And these are quotes from those Microsoft executives that we worked with in terms of bringing that into the base and then working it with our PLM product. Eric.

We have really three out-of-the-box connectors that connect to the most popular CAD systems that are in the market today. That’s Siemens Teamcenter, PTC Windchill, and the Dassault 3DExperience product. Those are out-of-the-box connectors that need very little configuration and setup to implement. We also have a PLM framework. So, if you are using another PLM system today, we also have a framework that we can very quickly connect your CAD system, if it isn’t one of these three, to D365 using that PLM framework that we have. So, we can really manage various ways of connecting your design, that first portion of design, build, and maintenance service, that design portion of it, however you’re doing that, we can connect that to D365 with either an out-of-the-box solution or using our PLM framework solution. Okay?

Engineering change management, which is what I talked about just a couple of slides ago. And really, ECM is getting those changes that are made after the design is done and brought into production. How do you manage a change in production? You find out the design doesn’t manufacture very efficiently, so they suggest a design change back to the engineers that are doing the design. How do you communicate that? How do you get that information from the production side of the business back to the design side of the business? And you do that through engineering change management, which is a standard module in D365. Now, Encore will turn that on for you and configure that for you and get it set up so then you can use that process. It connects with our PLM solution to communicate all that information between design and build part of your process. Eric.

Eric: Yes.

Kevin: I’m gonna turn it over to you now because you’ve heard all the first sort of sales positioning and that. We’re gonna get technical now and Eric’s gonna really explain how this all comes together and how it works. Eric.

Eric: Okay. Thank you, Kevin. So I will indeed go through some slides and then I will show you a small example in the system. What we will do and actually what we’re doing is we are connecting to a PLM system or a CAD system, by the way, when that system can provide some kind of file or information, we can indeed pick it up and input it into our staging area. And then from the staging area, it’ll be ready for the business users when it’s posted. So, the steps are actually, what do we get from the system and where is the ownership? And that’s really important. Of course, the bill of material will be born in the cacheless PLM system. And then via the PLM integration, those will be created in Dynamics 365 in the engineering change management module.

The engineering change management module will also give you the ability to create local changes to that bill of material. Some, of course, what came from the PLM system that will be locked, but it can create local changes. Yesterday I was also talking to the same customer that Kevin was. They, for example, had a requirement that production and shipping will add packaging material to the bill of material. Now, this is that local change to that product version. But what happens now if version two will be created in PLM and will be released? These versions, this version one and version two then will be managed in the CAD system. So, what we make sure is, if there’s a version two, and maybe version two of product or component C, if that it’ll be shipped out and imported into…not shipped out, but integrated to Dynamics, then nicely, the version updates will take place, but the local changes will still remain.

So the small local changes will get, and those are more operation related will stay in Dynamics 365 where we have bigger changes or form fit function changes can be handled in the PLM system itself. The data that is coming over is the following. So we have, of course, the part data, the revision data that gives you the version in the entering change management module and Dynamics 365. You get change information. And also documents. I would recommend doing document relations that you are transferring. And we’re transferring that to that framework. That’s a connectivity integration solution plus PLM integration. So all of them will pass through.

What’s not on this list, but also now available is that you can also have routing steps coming from the PLM integration. How does it work? And what we do is we will get information that’s at XML file from a PLM system. That’ll be processed through the framework and the data will be enriched with the engineering change management. Now, what is data enrichment? The engineering change management module gives you the ability to create engineering category details, and in engineering category details you can set up when you create or release a product to a specific company, and we do that, to apply a template. So in the template, it will give you a lot of default values.

The PLM system, yeah, maybe they have 20 values to the product, but your P system will have 50 to 100 that you need to specify, for instance, site-specific order settings for the logistics. That can all be defaulted with that enrichment of data. So if you have 100 products coming from the PLM system, and everything will be defaulted or a lot of those fields can be defaulted, it will save you a lot of time entering the product in the system. Of course, normal entry of a product in the system will take you more, roughly two minutes, maybe three, and then because you get to do it, you need to set up a lot of defaults. And if that’s done for you, that just saves you a lot of time.

This is the process itself. Now let me show you how this works in the system with the framework. So let me switch to dynamics. And in dynamics, I have my integration design here. And this is my integration engine. And actually, what I will do is I will start importing a bill of material. That bill of material will go through my framework. So this is my staging area if I select it, and that is my framework that is there. So when I say run and execute this message, this is typically run, of course, automatically in an operation scenario. This is now mainly for my demonstration to show everything will be created, but typically, this is something that’s run automatically. So the moment a new product or a product version or an update is released from PLM, it will be picked up automatically and import to the system.

So if I press, okay, this will pick up my file, and that file is then, if I hit refresh here, it’ll be created here. This is my junction box. And if I take a look at the lines, then you see that will be a bill of material structure with a junction board, with some mounts, box, etc. There’s not a really big bill of material, but for sure we can handle multi-level in bill of materials with 100 of component lines. You get more information there, of course, like if there were attributes. Attributes were important, of course. If there are related documents as you see here, and of course, also the bill of material lines. So, this is my top-level product and these are all my components. These are coming in as well. At the moment, this product is not yet created. So if I will open my released orders, then you will see that the product is not there. Well, if the filter, it’s just simply not there.

That’s because it’s still being validated like Kevin explained in the staging area where I can validate a journal. The moment everything is okay, of course, the system can automatically post it as well, and that’s why it’s also your best processing. So typically, the user will not see it. If you want to, you can have the posting done manually, but the posting can also be done automatically. And if I press OK, the journal is processed, it’s now populated. You’ll see here if I hit Refresh, nicely, the product’s created. It can create the products, it can also update the products.

The products will get that product category details from the engineering change management. And what I didn’t explain, but related to that, of course, the defaults will be there, but also some readiness checks where the end-user need to check, for instance, pricing. It will create the engineering version. And in my engineering version, it was version one that was created. And nicely also connected to this version, you’ll see documents being created, so the URLs to the file. So, if somebody wants to pull up the drawing from production, they can do that. And here is seeing approved bill of material with also the bill of material lines that are there. This is my part of my demonstration. So I will hand over back to Kevin. And you’re muted, Kevin, just to let you know.

Kevin: Trying to push all the buttons there. Apologize. So, key features that you saw there, it was very easy. Eric didn’t have to do a lot of programming at all, lots of configuration to set this up. It’s flexible. As you saw with the staging journals, you bring the data in, it goes into a staging journal where it’s held until somebody who owns that data, as we say here, data ownership on the production side can take a look at it and make sure that it’s, you know, in the shape that they want it to release it to production so they can go ahead and start gathering the raw materials and getting the production started, that sort of thing. So, if you think about design and then the build, which is this part of the program where you brought the design in to the build, and then you’re gonna start that build, you can see the three key features that really make that work. And Eric showed you those through the quick demonstration that we did. Eric, next slide.

Eric: Shall we also ask the audience for maybe some questions in the chat? That should be good.

Kevin: Well, that’s what I was gonna say.

Eric: Yeah, we’re gonna continue here, but just making sure that if there are any questions, please put them in the chat

Kevin: [crosstalk 00:25:20] any questions?

Ziad: I don’t see any questions in the chat right now, but if there are any questions, feel free to throw them in there as we come close to concluding the rest of this presentation.

Eric: Yep.

Kevin: Okay. In terms of the ECM, engineering change management module, you know, it’s in the base solution, but it’s capabilities to extend really into our PLM and then beyond back into CAD. So, again, the genesis of it was from our product engineering solution to putting it built into D365 into the base module. And our consultants were the ones who did that. So…

Eric: Yep. And we edit several analytics as well.

Kevin: Yeah, so if you wanna share. So, along with this, we have pre-built industry-leading metrics to help you manage your business. You know, engineers love the graphs, they love the metrics of understanding from the standpoint of the system, how it’s performing, what the tolerances are on certain items within production in that. And we gather that information, all that data that’s within D365, and then present it through this set of analytics that we provide as part of the solution. And our partner, Encore, can work with you to extend those analytics as well. They have a whole team of Power BI consultants that can work with you. If you want more information than what we provide out of the box, they can work with you to provide and extend those even more. And then the other slide that you had there, Eric, was our list of customers. And you’ll get a copy of this so you can see some of our customers that are using our PLM and also the ECM module that we provide.

So I think we’re getting close to the end here. Want to wrap up and talk about the fact that it is an end-to-end solution, design, build, manage, maintenance, and service of your customers. And really all of this is configuration, it’s not custom developed. It’s configure and templates and easy to deploy because of that. With that, Alfred, Ziad, would you like to add anything at this point? We can open it up for any other questions.

Ziad: No questions yet here as well. But we can, you know, kind of end up. We’re right on time here, right? So, if there are any questions, or if there’s anyone that has any questions after this event as well, feel free to reach out to either of us on the call here today, and we can make sure we respond to that. And make sure you register for the future webinars as well as this is just a snippet or a small, you know, example of what the partnership with Encore and To-Increase can do. And I’d love to be able to help you in your solution and answer any other questions that you may have as well. So, thank you very much for joining, and we look forward to talking to you guys again in the next session.

Alfred: Thank you.

Eric: Thank you.

Ziad: Thanks, guys.

Kevin: Thank you.

Ziad: Bye all.

Alfred: Bye.

Eric: Bye-bye.

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