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Under the Hood - All things PDM and PLM

How Cloud PDM Increases Supplier Collaboration

Alexandra Maraldo
February 22, 2022

If you’re a discrete manufacturer, you know that there’s more pressure than ever to meet deadlines and get products to market on time and on budget. With global uncertainty, supply chain disruptions and the increase in product complexity, we need to be more resilient and manage product development data better. Ensuring fluid communication between internal and external parties including contractors, suppliers, and distributors is a struggle for many companies. If you rely on external suppliers to create your products, you know the importance in maintaining a strong digital thread and ensuring fluid communication. But how do you do this? Cloud PDM can help!


Collaborate Better in the Cloud

Many external stakeholders, including customers, distributors, vendors, partners, suppliers, and anyone else you need to work with outside your organization, have to be included in your product development process, to varying degrees. Including them with the appropriate security guardrails in place, however, is a struggle for many companies. Keeping all your information in one place, the cloud, helps overcome this issue by removing the need for exceptions to bring in external parties to provide feedback.

Additionally, intuitive dashboards displaying relevant data based on role and permissions, help every stakeholder see the status of projects they are working on and tasks they need to complete. Within this landing page, each user will see relevant information on their projects, including what other stakeholders have done and what open assignments they have.


Work with Multiple File Types

Think about how much time you spend searching between different tools to get the data you need and translating or finding alternate ways of dealing with data that is authored in a system that is different from the one you use. Bringing data into a single, CAD agnostic, business tool, namely Upchain, makes this an issue of the past. The Upchain plugin looks and feels the same in any CAD we integrate with. On the flip side, when the data is brought into Upchain, the data will look the same to viewers who access it directly through the Upchain platform, regardless of where it was authored. An added bonus is that non-CAD users who need to view or markup 2D or 3D CAD data can do so easily in Upchain, regardless of where the file came from, and without having to have their own CAD license.


Speed Up your Feedback Cycle with Cloud PDM

The ability to make sure everyone is looking at the same data and providing feedback on the most current version of all data is essential to reducing redundancies and increase efficiencies. Parts lists, 2D and 3D files, and the ability to launch process, specifically investigation requests, living directly within Upchain saves time by allowing everyone to participate in the process within one central platform.

Moreover, a central platform helps to standardizing process and reduce tribal knowledge. Upchain’s automated workflows make this a reality using an intuitive drag and drop process builder and allow you to build out your process in a way that works for your company.  Maintaining consistency across all stakeholders, including them within your processes, and creating a holistic process management system will move your company from a “fire and forget” mentality to a culture of collaboration between stakeholders towards a common goal.


Stay Connected 24/7

Data never sleeps. We know this, we live this. Enabling access to your data to all stakeholders at all times, in real time, is essential in a global economy. As manufacturers expand their operations around the world, this need is magnified. Making sure stakeholders are able to access the data they need in real time and they have access to the most up to date information becomes a bigger issue the farther you expand. Having stakeholders in different time zones means that you are unlikely to be able to get everyone on a single call or meeting. Bringing suppliers into your PDM, allowing them to respond to RFQs directly within the platform, and providing them access to the models they need rather than just PDFs and screenshots keeps them on the same page as internal employees, reduces errors, and increases efficiency.


Connect your Systems Using Cloud PDM

The vision of cloud PDM is to create a central source of truth for your product data. Connecting your PDM, PLM, ERP, CRM, MES, and all your other systems is the ideal state, but in reality they are often siloed, creating “islands of automation”. Integrating these systems means that you can keep using all your systems to do what they’re good at, but also ensure that they “speak” to each other to standardize your information across all your systems. Removing the need to manually re-enter data in multiple system reduces the vulnerability to human errors and makes sure your data is more accurate and your business is more efficient.


Ensuring data consistency, keeping all stakeholders connected, and the ability to work with any data you are given makes sure your business is functioning as efficiently as possible. While this can seem overwhelming, using native integrations and an intuitive platform, Upchain makes this simple and effective.


Interested in learning more about increasing stakeholder collaboration? Check out our recent Level Up Supplier Collaboration webinar on demand here.


Alexandra Maraldo

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