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Under the Hood - All things PDM and PLM

How to Improve Supplier Collaboration with Cloud PLM

Alexandra Maraldo
October 14, 2021


Recently, Autodesk’s PLM experts Brian Schanen and Kevin Alexander discussed how to leverage PLM and PDM software to break down barriers and connect external stakeholders. They discussed 5 key areas where cloud PLM can improve external collaboration throughout the product lifecycle:

Inviting stakeholders into your process, including those outside your organization

Most of product development today is done outside of OEMs, rather than being vertically integrated as they were in the past. While this has opened up product innovation and production to progress exponentially, it has increased the amount and complexity of data associated with each product.

Cloud PLM can help consolidate this data by bringing your suppliers, designers, and other stakeholders onto one system. All your suppliers need to access the system is an internet connection, username, and password. This makes it easy for them to work with you, empowering them to participate in workflows such as investigation and change requests, quality assurance, and more,

Working with files regardless of file type using cloud PLM

A big benefit of working with Upchain is that it keeps you working in the tools that you already know without having to use translators or risking sharing a file with someone who doesn’t have the software to open it. As a cloud PLM system, Upchain has native plugins and understands the file dependencies and types of all major CAD and business tools.

By uploading your data into Upchain, your files become CAD agnostic. You can share your files throughout your supply chain regardless of what CAD they use, or even if they use multiple CAD tools. Internally and externally, you are able to give access to CAD data to anyone who needs it, even if they don’t have a CAD license of their own, without duplication of data.

Speeding up design and feedback cycles

We all know that digital transformation and the global pandemic has sped up innovation and, therefore, the speed of the design and feedback process. The days of “fire and forget” transferring of product development artefacts are sent down a one way street to downstream teams are over.

By including suppliers and other external stakeholders earlier in the process, we can speed up design and feedback cycles which can improve time to market, cost of product development, quality control, and more.

Staying connected to your supply chain 24/7

Global supply chain is becoming more popular, but dealing with suppliers in other timezones can make it difficult for companies to collaborate effectively. It also opens a huge opportunity for synchronization. Data never sleeps with Upchain. Changes are made in real time so you will no longer need to communicate changes inefficiently via email or screen captures.

Using a cloud PLM also means that any supplier who you invite can see the specifics of projects, RFQs, and other relevant data you share with them as long as they have an active internet connection. They get their own unique link, keeping your data secure, but can enter the price, lead time, and other specifics you need, directly into the system so everyone has the most up to date data.

Ensuring data consistency across all systems by integrating PLM, CRM, and MRP

The vision of PLM has always been to be the single source of truth but this is incredibly difficult to achieve. While we know that certain information will always live in CRM and MRP systems, integrating them together is the only way to have a true digital thread and achieve the traceability that will empower you to optimize automation and break down silos to increase collaboration. Bringing your PLM to the cloud will enable the connection of all of these systems and the effective sharing of data between them.


To hear more about the innovative ways that Upchain is increasing supplier collaboration, check out the full webinar here

Alexandra Maraldo

Alex is a marketing manager at Autodesk specialising in PLM and PDM solutions.