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Step-by-Step Guide to Migrate PLM Data

Team Migration Strategy for SoftwareYou’ve just purchased a product lifecycle management (PLM) system or are planning to in the near future. One of your primary goals will be to migrate your existing product data into your new PLM system.

Arena’s cloud-based PLM solution is so easy to implement that many customers choose to implement the system themselves.

One of the first steps in any successful PLM implementation is determining how to migrate your existing product record information (e.g., parts, bills of materials, change orders) into your new PLM solution. However, depending on the state of your current product information, the migration of your data can be one of the biggest challenges to getting your PLM solution live and running as expected. With that in mind, we’ve provided a simple step-by-step guide to help you address your migration approach.

First, consider what types of data you want to migrate to your PLM software solution? This typically includes the following:

1. Item Master or Part Records:

  • Electrical parts
  • Mechanical parts
  • Software
  • Documentation

2. Bill of Materials (BOMs), which may include:

  • Top-level finished goods (FG) assemblies
  • All lower-level assemblies (both purchased or manufactured)

3. AML and/or AVL information:

  • Manufacturer and manufacturer part number (who makes the Item)
  • Vendor and vendor part number (who the item is purchased from)

4. Supporting files, which may include:

  • Specifications
  • Engineering drawings
  • CAD files (2D, 3D models)
  • PCBAs

5. Engineering Change Management/revision data:

  • ECRs
  • ECOs
  • MCOs
  • ECNs

Once you’ve determined what types of data you want to bring over, then consider what specific products or projects should come over with the PLM migration (first phase). Typically, the answer to this depends on the size of your company, how many products you have, and whether you will roll out PLM to everyone at once, or in phases. It is also possible you could have older products you no longer sell or support, and choose not to migrate that data to PLM.

If you plan to only migrate only certain products to start, you will need to determine how you will separate out the product data for only those products.

The next step is to locate where all your current product data resides and determine the best way to gather or extract it. Here are some examples:

  • ERP: If you have an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, then your item master, BOMs, sourcing, and possibly costs may reside there. If your ERP only manages finished goods or SKUs, then you will also need to find the product details (BOMs and component items) elsewhere.
  • Custom database: Your company may have developed a custom database application using, for example, Microsoft Access, to manage much of the data. Determine what product information resides there.
  • Spreadsheets: The data could be managed in spreadsheets. This is most typical for BOMs. In this case, sourcing information is most likely included in the BOM rows. You may also have separate spreadsheets to manage your item master. It’s possible that sourcing and cost data could reside there.
  • Supporting files: These are almost always found in network folders. The key will be how well organized they are and their naming convention. If you reference the file paths in one of the other systems above, that will help. Otherwise, you’ll need to rely on that organization and naming to determine what files go with what items.
  • Partners or Suppliers: You may have depended on design partners or contract manufacturers to manage your detailed product data. In this case, you will need to request a copy of the data from them.

After determining what data sources to pull from, you will extract the information. This will be dependent on the system or location where the data currently resides.

  • If the data resides in either your ERP system or a custom database, you will need to have someone with the expertise in extracting that data
  • If the data resides in spreadsheets, it is just a matter of gathering the spreadsheet files that contain the data you want to migrate
  • If the data resides with a partner or supplier, you’ll need to work with them to get a copy of what you need.

Now that you’re ready to import the data into your new PLM solution, you have options. There are import tools available to import or you can work with one of Arena’s Solution Architects who have the business process expertise to provide you with a successful migration of your product information. Either way, the path is known and we’ve been through this legacy data migration process thousand of times and have it down to a science. To learn how Arena sets up its customers for success from early evaluation through implementation and scale, check out our customer experience page.