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Under the Hood - All things PDM and PLM

3 Ways to Level Up Supplier Collaboration with Upchain Cloud PDM

Alexandra Maraldo
February 10, 2022

With added pressure from the ever-changing global conditions, from border shutdowns to supply chain interruptions, manufacturers are facing more pressures than ever before. Supplier collaboration and supply chain agility are integral for the success of manufacturing businesses and the ability to adapt to changes as they arise has become an important consideration for many companies when considering new software.

What are the issues?

Distilled down, we can identify 3 major issues resulting from poor data management that have been amplified during the pandemic. Time wasted on non-value tasks, supply chain disconnects, and communication breakdowns. So how do we fix this? Simply put, a cloud PDM solution like Upchain can help alleviate many of these issues.

Reduce Time Spent on Non-Value Tasks:

On average, engineers waste two working days per week for product data1. Disparate systems, poor version and revision control, and lack of visibility are tied to a majority of frustrations and delays with searching. With an easy to search PDM system this can be reduced drastically, especially when considering external suppliers and remote teams. Keeping data centralized in the cloud has become a popular solution for many manufacturers, but simply housing your data in the cloud isn’t necessarily enough. It needs to be easily accessible and simple to search, while maintaining the security of your data and your company’s intellectual property (IP). What’s more, it needs to be intuitive and user friendly so adoption is high across all teams. A central source of truth for all your engineering data, ensuring the right people can securely and easily access the data they need when they need it, is key to increasing efficiency across manufacturing businesses.

Increase Supply Chain Agility:

It’s no surprise that most manufacturing companies outsource at least some of their parts. As smart products become the norm and the complexity of assemblies has increased to include at least some electronic components, it is almost inevitable. This has added even more complications to the product lifecycle, since having remote or third-party teams involved in product development can result in significant delays in the design process. Giving your suppliers the ability to add notes and markup 2D and 3D CAD data in real time within their browser can drastically increase collaboration while significantly decreasing waste and errors due to outdated data.

Increase Communication:

Even if you increase efficiency internally and through your supply chain, if there is no communication, all your efforts will be in vain. Data never sleeps and different teams will have different needs at different times. It isn’t always possible to get all stakeholders on a single call, let alone in a room together, so timely feedback can be difficult to get. How you communicate with suppliers in different time zones can impact your bottom line significantly. A supplier portal within your PDM system can help ensure that suppliers are aware of changes as they happen, speed up design and feedback cycles, and ensure data consistency across all your systems.

 

We’re not yet through the current global situation and while people have adjusted, that doesn’t mean that the issues they faced before in data and sharing, collaboration, and certainly suppliers and supply chain have gone away, in fact, most of these issues have been magnified. It is imperative that manufacturers act now to ensure their future success and centralize their data.

 

Interested in learning about how Upchain can help? Check out our upcoming live webinar: Level Up Supplier Collaboration

 

  1. Forschungsbericht: How Design Teams Manage Product Data, (Quelle; Engineering.com, 2017)

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Alexandra Maraldo

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

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