CHALLENGE: Disconnected Software or Point Solutions Create Silos and Block Collaboration
Ad hoc methods such as spreadsheets and CAD-centric PLM solutions not only result in partial BOM management, they also impair strategic transparency and collaboration with the downstream product teams (e.g., quality, purchasing, manufacturing, CMs, suppliers). With quality issues a leading failure point in NPDI, companies need a complete product information record that is securely accessible by suppliers and partners. Otherwise, quality will suffer as well as team efficiency, time to market, and long-term ability to execute.
Most CAD-centric PLM systems were introduced as on-premises applications installed on desktops and servers inside an OEM’s or ODM’s firewall. This makes them hard to access without granting trusted access via virtual private networks (VPNs) to external design, contract manufacturing, and supplier partners. Even with technical access, many systems do not handle the provisioning and proper data security access and history tracking that companies will want for supply chain partners. Spreadsheets, even in online repositories, may be shareable, but have similar security and audit concerns along with lack of formal change control and disconnection from the greater context of product efforts.
Understandably, many product companies have refrained from sharing product development information with external partners due to these inherent risks and complexity burden. With these capability and process gaps, it is difficult to collaborate and stay on the same page with cross-functional product teams from early design through volume production.