"With the ECLASS classification we deliver the fundament. We provide a sound basis for optimizing business processes – throughout the entire product life cycle and in communication with our customers and suppliers."
Siemens is a worldwide leading company in electronics and electrical applications. The sector Energy is the world’s leading provider of a broad range of products, solutions and services for the power industry.
Siemens Energy employs nearly 86,000 people worldwide. In the fiscal year 2012 the sector realized a revenue of 27.5 billion Euros and a profit of around 2.2 billion Euros.
With the Siemens e-Content Classification Portal a central product master data server was introduced for an power industry-wide uniform and cross-system-covering classification as well as the description of product master data and structures.
The implementation of ECLASS began in 2009 in parallel with the first steps of the process harmonization within the central SAP solution in the division for industrial energy applications and oil & gas. Each site had its own data structures and associated specialized search algorithms, resuling in data conversions for product shifts between individual plants. A lot of information (etc. drawings, data sheets, catalogs) could only be found only in secondary data sources. Some individual plants had their own legacy classification system which were designed based on different criteria. A cross-site search in different systems was not possible.
The use of the ECLASS standard enables the electronic product data exchange with suppliers to acquire catalogs as well as the transfer of data to customers.
The “Siemens E-Content Classification portal” has the following functions:
- Central product master data server to build a unified classification structure based on ECLASS
- Limitation of ECLASS classes to the actual required classes and, if required, extension by one's own classes
- Establishing and maintaining class-specific templates to define the (varying) description depth of the material master data through target systems (SAP, Teamcenter)
- Provision of material classification and description information for other enterprise applications (e.g. Comos, TDM etc.)
- Multilingual terminology database for nomenclature catalogs and lists of values
- Support for automatically upgrades to higher ECLASS releases
- Reference system for the adoption of catalog data from suppliers
- Platform for handling change processes and information improvement of classification, material description and terminology.
Through the implementation of ECLASS challenges such as the reduction of high site-specific maintenance workloads for material master data, were mastered successfully. The comparability of information with a standardized interpretation and the uniqueness of classes and attributes names were further positive results. Also the increase in product data quality and transparency of data led to the reduction of duplicates. With the help of ECLASS processes could be unified and it helped reducing the complexity of multi-site product documentation.
Thanks to long-standing service contracts with customers (up to 30 years) the introduction of ECLASS leads into a highly sustainable savings potential.