Arena News Introduces Supplier Access Module

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Foster City, Calif., Sep 10 -, the leading provider of web-native collaborative software for the product design chain, today announced Supplier Access as the newest module available to its customers. customers can use Supplier Access to give their supply chain partners a direct window to relevant product information throughout the development process. Once customers have centralized their product information in the secure, web-native environment, they use the Supplier Access module to set each supplier's access to specific components and assemblies

“The concept of using component and assembly sourcing information to manage each supplier’s access to a company’s product data is astonishingly powerful in practice,” said Eric Larkin, chief technology officer at “ provides an advanced level of information management that further synchronizes efforts across the design chain, enabling our customers to minimize delays, reduce miscommunication and trim costs during the development process. For example, an OEM in the Midwest working with a design consultant in Silicon Valley can easily share product specifications and documentation among themselves as well as with contract manufacturers in China and Mexico.”

Suppliers often strain to obtain the latest product information from OEMs that use a client-server application for data storage. Since the information remains trapped inside the OEM’s building, both the OEM and their suppliers must communicate through awkward and time-intensive methods, such as creating expensive and complex virtual private networks (VPNs) or replicating and reconciling product information via email, fax and FTP. Companies can eliminate the extra IT cost, duplicated efforts and additional paperwork required to exchange information via client-server applications by instead using a secure online solution that delivers information entirely through a web-native application. With, customers centralize their data in a web-native environment to maintain “one version of the truth” About a product at any point during development. The core of the system is a powerful relational database that enables enterprises to organize and manage this information by assembling dynamic, whole-product bills of materials (BOMs). All design chain partners gain secure and convenient real-time access to the same set of product information with no additional IT or administrative overhead for suppliers.

The Supplier Access module leverages both the architecture and its data model, which enables customers to easily capture the complexity of the supply chain by correctly relating manufacturers and vendors with their respective components and assemblies. With Supplier Access, customers use these relationships — and the work already done to create them — to determine which information can be shared and with whom. Supplier Access lets customers reach the individual supplier — with precise control over the information visible to each one. This is accomplished without any of the extensive overhead required to establish data-sharing rules in other applications. With and Supplier Access, integrating a complex, geographically dispersed supply chain into the design process is simple, straightforward and entirely secure.

“With Supplier Access, I am able to easily share our product specifications on a secure ‘need to know’ basis with the machine shops that provide our components,” said engineer Bret Lobree of Metallic Power, an early customer that is developing a unique zinc/air regenerative fuel cell technology. “As we prepare for our product launch next year, our design team can be sure our suppliers are always working from the most current set of information. The module is already increasing our efficiency and improving our communication with the supply chain.”

The Supplier Access module unifies the design chain by providing the following key benefits:

  • Virtual supply chain file server: Supplier Access enables the OEM to create a “virtual” file server for every one of its supply chain partners, ensuring that each partner has access to the same exact data files as the OEM, but only the files for which that supplier is a direct source. The OEM can turn visibility to any piece of product data on or off at any time.
  • Real-time collaboration throughout the design chain: OEMs and suppliers can share product data in real-time. Supplier Access enables design chain partners to eliminate the lag time, or latency, between transaction and action.
  • Increased efficiency in sharing product information: A company can share updates simply by emailing a web link to relevant data. Supplier Access eliminates the need to replicate and reconcile data via fax, FTP and extra paperwork.
  • Greater control over sensitive information: An account administrator assigns individual roles that allow secure collaboration without compromising proprietary data.
  • Fewer costly errors from miscommunication: customers make a single set of data visible to everyone using it and thus eliminate the long delays and expensive mistakes that result from circulating multiple versions.
  • Easy visibility into access privileges: A customer can view — with a single click — a list of all suppliers granted permission to see a shared component or assembly, or a list of all components shared to a single supplier.

The Supplier Access module offers two levels for sharing information, giving users precise control over the information each supplier can view. Basic Supplier Access provides suppliers with read-only access to individual components, while Advanced Supplier Access provides suppliers with read-only access to entire assemblies. Both access levels let customers share all relevant information — including vendors, manufacturing specifications, related file attachments and images — so suppliers can work with a complete set of data. When necessary, customers also can hide sensitive information, such as pricing or a list of the places a component is used, from external view.

Supplier Access provides the power and ease of one-click collaboration. Any user can invite a supplier to view the information for a directly sourced item by emailing a link that will take the supplier directly to a secure web page with that item’s data. Customers avoid tedious paperwork and duplicated efforts; suppliers escape the substantial IT overhead often required to access a client’s system. With and Supplier Access, suppliers are integrated effortlessly into the development process.

Supplier Access is offered as part of the application, a web-native collaborative product development solution. is based on an Oracle relational database and implemented using open, non-proprietary software tools. Customers can access from any computer with a web browser. There is no traditional software to buy, install, maintain or upgrade with

Pricing and Availability
The Supplier Access module is available immediately. For Basic Supplier Access, which lets customers share individual components with manufacturers, distributors and other suppliers, $1000 purchases five (5) floating licenses for one year. For Advanced Supplier Access, which lets customers share entire assemblies with contract manufacturers and other suppliers, $1000 purchases one (1) floating license for one year. Customers must already have a account, which is available at an annual prepaid subscription of $1000 per user, or at $100 per month per user, with no set-up or installation fees. New customers can sign up by visiting the company’s web site at or by calling the sales department toll-free at 866.937.1438.

Data Security and Reliability
An industry-standard security infrastructure ensures a high level of protection for customers’ data. Multiple layers of defense protect the servers from unauthorized access, both to the network and to the physical servers. All data is encrypted during transmission with the highest level of SSL encryption available, including file attachments, usernames and passwords. Secure firewalls protect the data, and logs record every access. has developed multiple proprietary security procedures to provide additional layers of protection. A redundant network design, which maintains production hardware at a professional colocation facility, features multiple firewalls, separate authentication servers and a proprietary application security model that prevents any customer from accessing another’s data. Nightly tape backups enhance the system’s reliability in the event of catastrophic occurrence — and provide far greater data protection than most companies’ internal IT resources offer.

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