How Cloud PLM Improves Collaboration Between Manufacturers and Suppliers

Jared Haw
Jared Haw
22 July, 2022 | 4 min for reading
How Cloud PLM Improves Collaboration Between Manufacturers and Suppliers

Any manufacturer developing products knows that bringing a product to market efficiently and quickly is key. In order to do this, you will be leveraging multiple companies. One company will be your contract manufacturer (CM). And the best way to collaborate with your CM and other contractors will be through a cloud PLM.

When you are working with a CM, it’s always important that you are working on the same product data. If you are not working on the same data then you can expect the following:

  • Purchase incorrect parts
  • Make incorrect changes
  • Quote using old parts and old revisions. 

This is often the result when managing your product data on spreadsheets or excels. Then the finger pointing begins. You can still launch your product using Excel but it will cost more and take longer.

The root cause for most of these is how you collaborate and share product data with your CM. Most companies use Excel or Spreadsheets to share product data. Unfortunately, this creates data silos that are often times inconsistent with what other departments, teams, or even your CM has. 

The simple solution to resolve these pains is to create a single source of truth. The system that provides you with a single source of truth is a cloud PLM. 

Here are four reasons a cloud PLM can improve collaboration between you and your CM:

Efficient RFQ Process

After you evaluate and select your CM the next step is to usually pass your product data on to them. This is the request for quotation (RFQ) process. Basically, this is where you throw everything related to your product to your CM. And when it’s done through excel and spreadsheets, it’s quite chaotic. 

Since this is a key part of developing your relationship with your CM, it makes sense to digitize the process a bit. Providing them with a digital BOM is a great first step. The reason this is important is that you can attach STEP files, spec sheets, and more to them. Instead of searching through folders, you have everything together. 

Make Prototypes Right the First Time

Prototypes can be expensive. Making prototypes based on old product data means you wasted both time and money. These costs can easily be more expensive than a cloud PLM system. 

If you have a cloud PLM system, all of the data will be current and visible. No more working on the outdated BOMs and parts that have a new revision that you are unsure about. 

Streamlines your Development Process

A big topic is who controls the change management process during design for manufacturing (DFM). Often, what happens is that your CM will make a change and assume you will accept the change because it decreases the cost or makes the product more manufacturable. This change can go unnoticed until the samples are made from the tool. Then after your $10,000 tool is made you notice the problem and it needs to be solved. 

What Cloud PLM provides you with is a streamlined ECR / ECO process. This is important during the DFM process because only certain individuals can accept change requests. You can not achieve this with Spreadsheets.

Keeps you Connected 24/7

Being connected 24/7 is important. When you need product data, you should have access to it instantly. If it’s Friday and you need a BOM but your supplier in China is already out for the weekend then are you just supposed to wait for them to return on Monday? While it sounds silly, that’s what the majority of us do. 

For a department and company to run efficiently, they need access to their data. A cloud PLM system connects you with one of your most important partners, your CM. 

What can you do today?

If you are looking to improve collaboration with your CM, then you should provide them with the resources and platform to help them. 

OpenBOM is a cloud-based PDM & PLM platform to manage your engineering and manufacturing data. Companies from startups to Fortune 500’s use OpenBOM to create a centralized database to bring in, store and manage their manufacturing data. With this infrastructure, users also use OpenBOM to streamline both their change management and PO processes.

If you need to improve the way you manage your data and processes, contact us today for a free consultation


Jared Haw

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