Fast and efficient to production
Integration of Autodesk Inventor into the ERP system FactWork
The recipe for success for companies in manufacturing sounds simple: Those who use their resources efficiently achieve maximum productivity. However, in practice, there is often a lack of suitable ERP software that consistently links CAD/PLM and thus guarantees an optimized project flow - with full transparency across the design and manufacturing phases, for a bidirectional, consistent exchange of all relevant data. The ERP system FactWork is such an integrated business software.
ERP system FactWork integrates business processes
Behind the conception of FactWork is the idea of a business software that serves as a central data hub and tool for the integration of all business processes. As a complete system, FactWork offers all essential modules for commercial, sales and logistical workflows and processes: From project control (CRM, project management, order processing) to materials management (scheduling, warehouse management, ordering) and production (capacity and resource planning) to production and time recording (FactWork Mobile, PDC, personnel time recording).
Linking CAD and FactWork for greater efficiency
For a long time, CAD and the ERP system FactWork functioned as independent data bases. However, separate use no longer met the requirements, which is why the software tools for design and materials management, which had previously existed in parallel, were merged. The transfer of parts lists from the design department was still done manually due to the missing connection between CAD and ERP. Purchasing had to evaluate and process item by item. This was a time-consuming and inefficient process that was also highly error-prone. The solution was called integration: A connection was created between the CAD program Autodesk Inventor and FactWork, which, among other things, makes it possible to transfer bills of materials of any hierarchy depth directly and to analyze them with the material planning of FactWork in a matter of seconds. Free material in the warehouse is reserved, and order, production and external production proposals are generated.
Intelligent management of product and part data
Via the menu bar of the add-in in Autodesk Inventor, parts are specifically created as articles in FactWork. In this way, the CAD models including technical characteristics are managed in the ERP for consistent availability. The article number automatically assigned by the ERP system is stored in the iProperties of the component. The other properties of the design are compared with FactWork and stored as material characteristics on the article. During matching, a preview image is also transferred and added to the product in the FactWork database.
Production bills of materials are generated automatically
The now bidirectional data exchange also enables the design department to access the ERP system when creating an assembly and to place existing items - structural, standard and purchased parts - as components in the Autodesk Inventor design. The previously stored material characteristics, preview images and other information support the selection of the correct part. In this way, a parts list is created in Autodesk Inventor, to which an article number from FactWork is assigned at each position. The designer transfers the bill of materials as often as required to the ERP system in accordance with the design progress, where it is then scheduled. A process in which material requirements are determined quickly and efficiently on the basis of the design BOMs. In addition, purchase orders are generated automatically, the material can be supplied to production at an early stage, and the manufacturing process can be started much faster. Changes and additions to the bills of materials are automatically detected and updated during the next MRP run.
Versioning enables coordinated control and overview
In addition to consistent provision of product and item data across departments and various automations in CAD and ERP, simple version management complements the basic PLM functionalities of the integration. For example, a new version is forced whenever the production release indicator is removed from the BOM item in FactWork. The various versions of a BOM - and thus of the design - are saved, and the changes to the statuses are documented, thus enabling comprehensive, coordinated control and overview of adjustments made.
PLM systems are implemented individually
Thus, primarily Autodesk Vault, but also other customer-specific PLM systems were implemented. Due to the different, individual use of a PLM system, the connection is adapted to the respective needs of the company by means of scripting. Basically, the PLM system takes over the management of the components and assemblies and their versions. At a point in time determined by the designer, the parts list is transferred to FactWork as usual and scheduled there.
Better performance, more flexibility and lower costs
The CAD/PLM-ERP integration is rounded off by an optimization of remote access for working from the home office or off-site. The result is significantly better performance when the Autodesk Inventor installed on the local computer interacts with the FactWork client started on the terminal server.
The flexible applicability of the Autodesk Inventor integration in FactWork makes it possible for the ERP system to be used by companies with a single Autodesk Inventor license as well as by companies with up to 50 Inventor licenses. Use with or without a PLM system also varies.
The integration of the Autodesk Inventor CAD system with FactWork has created a complementary link between design, materials management and production, thanks to which all data can be used and managed across departments. The result is a significant time gain from design to production, which leads to significantly shortened project runtimes and a reduction in costs.
Albert Graf, Sales Manager FactWork at F.EE GmbH
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You will find further information in our product brochure.
FactWork brochure (German language)