Chuck Stewart is Executive Vice-President of Engineer-to-Order (ETO) Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software Encompix based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Stewart said, “If you ask design engineers what an ERP system means to them, you are likely to hear something like “nothing” or “more work.”
Stewart asserts in the February issue of Automation.com, “In the Engineer-to-Order (ETO) world the role of the design engineer is very different. By its nature an ETO company builds a unique product designed to meet the specification of a single customer. The two worlds of design and manufacturing are closely linked. In many cases the design of the product continues through the product process (design-in-process), incorporating a multitude of engineering changes. These changes can be driven by the customer or by the manufacturer. In this environment a seamless flow of data between engineering and production is critical. An ETO company must integrate CAD and ERP.”
The current issue of Automation.com includes a feature article by contributing editor, Thomas R. Cutler about ERP and CAD integration in the ETO (Engineer-to-Order) Environment. According to Cutler’s feature, traditional ERP systems were developed for the repetitive, make-to-stock manufacturer, where there is a clear demarcation between design and production. In that environment the engineer designs the product in a CAD application. After testing and prototyping, the product is released to production, which is managed by the ERP system.
The design engineer has little or no interaction with the ERP system and w