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:
- 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.
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