Now that we’ve laid the foundation for why an organization can gain higher return on investment by using a purpose-built EAM / CMMS rather than an ERP module, I want to discuss some typical EAM to ERP (such as SAP, Infor ERP, etc.) integration scenarios. There are a number of ways to integrate the two systems together, but in this blog I’ll highlight some of the most common integration methods.
The Native ERP Model
It is common for companies to drive the use of an ERP’s native functionality or modules for all aspects of their business including asset management programs. There are 3 main reasons that management mandates ERP modules:
- Easy to report/analyze data across all departments
- Belief that using native or modular ERP functionality will reduce costs
- Belief that using native or modular ERP functionality is the quickest to implement and go live
In order to achieve these 3 goals, some departments such as maintenance and calibration require custom programming the ERP module to meet their unique business processes and compliance requirements. We are referring to this as ‘The Mandate’.
As we’ve mentioned in our previous blog, using an ERP module has a higher overall cost to the company and actually reduces technician productivity in GMP environments. This is often overlooked because of the reporting/KPI capabilities that are gained.
This graphic, which we used in the first blog, outlines this native ERP model:
The Hub and Spoke Model
The Hub and Spoke model, which is beneficial for upper management and end users, leverages an ERP system as a central hub of communication and data transfer between best-in-class applications. Rather than end users working in native/modular ERP functionality, they use purpose-built applications for their GMP asset management, for example: Blue Mountain RAM. This system communicates with the central ERP data hub. Other departments such as accounting, purchasing, human resources, manufacturing, etc. can also follow this same best-in-class integration approach.
With the Hub and Spoke model:
- Overall cost may be lower than the cost to implement an ERP module or custom develop ERP functionality
- Productivity of end users drastically increases because of purpose-built software
- Implementation time is often significantly faster
- Provides same reporting/analysis capabilities as native or modular functionality
- Data from one system can be leveraged by another system without additional integration (i.e. EAM is integrated with ERP and MES is integrated with ERP – EAM data can be shared through the ERP with the MES)
All of these benefits drastically improve the return on investment for integration – which far outweighs the ROI gained in the Native model.
Styles of Integration
With the Hub and Spoke model, there are three common styles of integration:
The most common is a one-way push of information from the EAM / CMMS to the ERP system. Users can identify which information is shared to the ERP – which can range from all areas of asset management.
Some common examples of shared information includes:
- Asset / Equipment Statuses
- Storeroom / Spare Parts
- Equipment Histories
- Cost Data
- Technician / Labor Information
- Requests (i.e. Asset Induction Request, Work Request)
Once the desired data is pushed to the ERP system, other applications that are part of the Hub and Spoke model can leverage this data. For example:
- MES/LIMS systems may collect asset/equipment statuses at a point in time from the EAM
- Purchasing departments might accept purchase requests for spare parts from the EAM
Other integration styles include a two-way push from the EAM to the ERP, where data is shared back and forth from each system. This is a more complex integration and often a one way integration will meet the same requirements.
The last style of integration is a one-way push from the ERP system to the EAM. As a basic example, this can be used for updating spare parts inventories in the EAM application.
In the next blog in the series, we’ll outline how to pitch integration between your ERP and EAM system to management.
Read more of our Battling the Mandate blog series: