Supplier Integration in the Cloud − Seriously?

Traditionally, when we start discussing supplier resource management, the impulse is to think of ERP and SRM application and process integration. On the other hand PLM/PDM supplier integration involves integrating design and manufacturing processes and applications that generate mechanical, electrical and software design data.

In PLM environments, supplier integration ranges from casual program or project status communications to allowing a few suppliers direct access to the internal PLM environment and design systems to collaborate on progress designs.

Managing this environment and the data has grown very complex as product complexity has increased.

Keeping up with multiple systems

In a recent client engagement I was presented a case where an OEM was having considerable difficulty keeping up with 7 different design collaboration systems, multiple levels of access by over 7,000 suppliers and the task of maintaining hardware refresh and infrastructure updates in synchronization with their PLM application supplier.

They were looking for help to manage the multiple types of design models between multiple engineering design disciplines across the supply chain. Several case studies were discussed where they had over 5 different systems to do business or collaborate with their suppliers. They had one product lifecycle management (PLM) system for design management and multiple CAD tools were utilized depending on the supplier partnership.

You may have a graphic of this environment for your own organizational situation that you can relate to or sympathize with. So how can this situation be addressed and reduce the cost of ownership?

Cloud and Platform as a Service

Well, you could provide your suppliers and integration environment with PLM in the cloud and keep them isolated from your main corporate PLM system and still provide common access to your other collaboration processes.

A few years ago, when you talked about moving core applications to the cloud, the typical response was something like, “Seriously?” Today, it’s a different story.

The cloud is a real possibility with the CSC FASTRack™ and FASTCloud PLM solutions and supply chain collaboration applications. This is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) approach that provides Siemens PLM Software’s Teamcenter® life cycle management software through Amazon Web Services (AWS). That means designated portions or the entire Teamcenter and NX product suite can be provisioned in a FASTCloud without the time and cost to purchase and configure new hardware and operating systems.

Supply chain collaboration

Supply chain collaboration in the cloud shifts the focus from time-consuming infrastructure development, configuration and management to the more value-added supplier application management and enhancement of supplier collaboration in a PLM environment.

It’s a viable option for many organizations I’ve worked with, especially those maintaining multiple systems. What do you think? Let me know what you think about PLM in the cloud.

By John Nallon, CSC | LinkedIn Profile

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