3 Common Barriers to Managing and Sharing Data

Inside discrete manufacturers, a complex mix of disconnected files and data need to be made accessible, usable, and maintained for internal and external users across the value chain.

In the day-to-day activities of gathering the data, collaborating, and ensuring security, most companies run into some or all of the impediments described here:

1) Gathering Data

Without an automated process, collecting data that suppliers need takes work from various groups in the product development organization. This leads to such frustrations as: 

file frustration
      • Engineers are routinely peppered with questions and asked to pull together files and data for suppliers, often while it is in different phases of completeness.
      • Supply chain managers and procurement don’t have control over the process, and have to rely on others (i.e. Engineering and IT) to package or directly share technical data with suppliers.
      • Procurement specialists have to manage the tricky job of getting specific files to numerous suppliers using a mix of email, FTP sites, or granting access to a PLM system.
      • Each step is often a manual process, with a high risk of human error.

2) Communicating & Collaborating

Once data is collected internally it needs to be communicated clearly to suppliers. This is often done with email or some sort of file share that have their own set of problems, such as:

      • Conveying structured data, such as with BOMs and hierarchical CAD data poses challenges for interpretation.
      • Manually assembled data packages often lack consistent formats leading to confusion and misinterpretation.
      • Discussions around product data are often lost in email threads and disconnected from the product data.

3) Securing

Once information is passed to the supplier there is still a variety of mishaps that can occur, such as:

      • Once data is downloaded there is no control of it and multiple versions stored in several locations can cause very expensive errors.
      • Emails and file shares are not secure, introducing the possibility of IP leaks.
      • Suppliers must continuously question if they are working with the most recent data.
      • Follow up questions about the original datasets are not stored with that dataset, leading to the same questions being asked and answered multiple times.

Our latest eBook expands upon these barriers and more for you, with the first-ever Technical Data Collaboration Maturity Model.

Use it pinpoint where you are when it comes to data sharing and collaboration in your supply chain, and visualize what progression through each of the five maturity stages looks like.

If you’re able to chart a path to supply chain nirvana now, you have a greater chance of being among the few manufacturers who are able to quickly make good on their intention to build high-value, highly-collaborative supplier partnerships this year.

1) Gartner, “Follow Gartner’s 4-Step Framework to Implement an Effective Supplier Collaboration Strategy,” Miguel Cossio, 2021


About the Author

Patrick Dunfey
Vice President of Marketing and Sales Enablement
Patrick is an accomplished marketing and sales enablement professional who knows that customers are at the heart of every great innovation. He focuses on driving customer satisfaction and business growth through aligned Product-Marketing-Sales programs. He uses digital systems and data-driven approaches to understand, measure and deliver success, resulting in unparalleled customer experiences and value.  Patrick has 20 years of enterprise software expertise, with specialties in CAD, PLM, ERP, AR/VR and IoT. Prior to joining Anark, Patrick developed and taught a business course on XR value strategy, helping companies identify and realize value using virtual, augmented, and mixed reality. During 14 years at PTC, a leading provider of product development software, Patrick led teams responsible for the design, build and launch of an award-winning, state-of-the-art technology experience center resulting in 5X customer meeting growth, and 66% close rates on those meetings; he led the development of a new IoT sales enablement strategy to map business value to enabling technology contributing to 52% YoY IoT revenue growth; and met with over 1000 companies, ranging from SMB to the Fortune 100, to help bridge the gap between technology and customer value. Patrick began his career as a mechanical engineer, working on product design and development projects with Brooks Automation, Arthur D. Little, U.S. Army, Keurig, and others. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University.
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