PLM type work in ERPNext?


Anyone here with experience in the PLM landscape?

In short when you do product/hardware design, in a base-case you’ll have an internal part-no database for every screw, resistor, pcb, that goes into the product. Each with revisioning control and related files.

Then you’ll basically have a hierarchal BOM that ties together the EE and ME ones so that every change (diff) between two versions of that master bom could be versioned.

Many companies just roll this in Excel which is a fairly tedious process and error prone as you want integrity for any new part-no created (category + counter), i.e. 120-000123 for a capacitor. Then this number could be added manually to the internal p/n fields in your PCB and CAD tools. Of course you want this more automated so it could be directly integrated into the software tools to save time and trouble.

I’d be interested in hearing some thoughts on this, i.e. utilizing ERPNext to act as a light-weight PLM.

What you need feature-wise on top of the basic items database is change-order work-flows, so there is a clearly defined process on how any change can be encapsulated and released as a so called “ECO”.

Two pretty good references:

Usually these tools have awful user-experiences and very high price-tags.

Hi @raveslave,

check out, a component research and cloud based BoM management software.

Ciiva also has a rich Application Programming Interface, providing
programmatic access to the Ciiva Cloud Database. This is the database
used to power the Ciiva Electronic Component Search Engine at,
and is also used by the Ciiva Bill of Materials Management System
(BMMS) and the Ciiva SmartParts technology. Contact us to learn more
about the API.

Hi, @raveslave. Sorry for digging up old thread.
Unfortunately, I have zero experience in PLM landscape, but would be also grateful if someone can give any tip regarding efficient product sample design with revisions in ERPNext.
I was checking if Production order doctype can be customized enough for us to be able to use it as sample request document and it seems to be doable, but still thought someone has better ideas.

Perhaps, we can even start some bounty on PLM development?

@strixaluco no worries, I think the best is to look at the good parts of Arena PLM
they have added lot of bloated features nowadays but the generic item-number database with revision control, redline (to compare differences on field-basis in two versions of a bom), ecn to track changes from bom-revision A → B, etc. Those are the parts that most people use.

My personal opinion about arena and similar PLM’s is that storing & uploading files in such system is just creating a lot of friction. Here I think it’s better to utilize the power of git (in combination with i.e. gitlab) to sync releases of mfg-data (cad-files etc.) to the PLM and vice-versa, be able to sync item-numbers back from a PLM to a git repository.

I really like Gitlab, but IMHO I don’t think it’s the right tool for PLM with CAD/CAE output and PDF datasheets.

For basic PLM needs I’d simply attach PLM docs to an Item in ERPNext, and attach updated files as they are created. The event trail for the Item should be sufficient to indicate the “current” file to use.

For more complex needs (i.e. ECO workflow and lots of docs), I’d look at using a CMS (e.g. MediaWiki or WordPress with potential plugin), or perhaps create a part-number based file system in Nextcloud (like everyone’s favorite “Z-drive” or network share, but with access control to keep things in order and potentially include review and approval sign-off).

A lot will depend on how much workflow you want to automate, and what can be left to be done manually. Start simple, there’s nothing wrong with having a Word-based ECO doc that gets printed, signed, scanned and stored, and one person with write access to the document vault.