“Ten to fifteen years ago, the relationship that product companies had with their contract manufacturers was very different,” says Arena’s VP of Strategy, George Lewis. “Frankly, the model was: The OEM told their manufacturers and design partners what to do, and they did it.”
That paradigm has evolved. The model adopted by innovative companies today is based on cooperation, not command and control. This cooperation is evident both as new products are being introduced—where suppliers can serve as key collaborators when it comes to designing for manufacturability (DFM)—as well as when companies seek to sustain manufacturing, particularly in the face of supply chain disruptions.
Contract manufacturers are in a unique position to identify potential manufacturing design issues or emerging shortages of component parts and materials. At the same time, they can also play a pivotal role in identifying alternate sources for materials and replacement parts. Having a more cooperative and collaborative relationship with supply chain partners helps companies gather supply chain intelligence to improve design and manufacturing processes to accelerate chain innovation.
Real-time communication is the key to cooperation.
In today’s global economy, this requires web-enabled control and access to information to maintain the flow of design information up and down the supply chain. A cloud-based platform serving as a single source of truth provides such a mechanism. It is via this channel that product companies proactively engage with their distributed teams and supply chain partners.
“When you provide real-time access to product information with your contract manufacturers you foster faster collaboration to help pivot quickly when manufacturing issues arise or parts shortages occur.”
– George Lewis, VP of Strategy, Arena
Frequent bidirectional communication throughout the new product introduction process eliminates manufacturing issues and launch delays, and ultimately speeds time to market. This ensures the proactive resolution of supply chain shocks and continuous product delivery.