Due to several challenges such as faster development cycles or growing customer demands, the engineering of machines and plants is becoming increasingly complex. Methods such as model-based development and virtual commissioning (i.e. an early commissioning of plant control by means of virtual machine models) are known in theory, academia and industry. These methods can significantly contribute to face time, quality and cost challenges within the development of machines and plants. However, the application and implementation of these methods and related tools are a major task. One challenge is the integration of several models in various description languages. In addition, the usage often fails because of a lack of willingness and knowledge. In addition, innovative methods also require new work- and data flows in the respective enterprises. Therefore, the challenge is to cope with historically grown structures. For this reason, this paper proposes an approach to address the challenge of introducing model-based development and virtual commissioning in enterprises in the field of machinery and plant engineering. After presenting a novel three-step methodology to introduce these methods, the theoretical implementation of virtual commissioning is described in detail. Afterwards, an industrial application example with explanation of the realization of virtual commissioning is presented and critically discussed. Finally, a summary with results and benefits and an insight to future research aspects with regard to the design of cyber-physical system and related topics is given.