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A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. For followers of this blog series, who have already embarked on a journey of product outsourcing, you may have hit a few hurdles along the way with your fellow travelers, namely your suppliers and partners, when it comes to secure collaboration. Let’s look at how Siemens can help you overcome these hurdles and take you closer to your destination of a seamless digital thread, including your supply chain.

Engineering Requires Secure Collaboration

When working with your partner or supplier, transacting engineering information needs to be done, so it protects the business interests of both parties. In some cases, you may prefer sharing information with suppliers with an “over-the-wall” approach. While in other cases, a supplier might be an integral part of the product development process, thus warranting a more “integrated” approach. The interaction model can vary based on product type, the nature of the relationship with the external entity, and other external factors, like government restrictions. Teamcenter supports both interaction models with complementary solutions, as shown in the image below. Partner Connect enables a contract-driven direct and secure collaboration model.

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A holistic solution for the supply chain – Supplier Collaboration and Partner Connect

Secure Data with Partner Connect

Partner Connect offers seamless collaboration with partners and suppliers in an integrated Teamcenter environment. This allows you to set boundaries around data access for external users. A new contract is created for each external company to access one or more product lines, sub-assemblies, or parts. This allows opening access to the Bill of Materials (BOM) or allows external users to participate in an engineering change within a set time period to ensure you are working through secure collaboration. External users can log in to the OEM’s Teamcenter directly to view product information accessible to them through the contracts. The logical model for Partner Connect provides details on how Partner Connect builds on our foundation of vendor management in Teamcenter and provides controlled access to product information like BOM and engineering changes.

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Partner Connect logical model

Building Confidence through Secure Collaboration

Partner Connect also offers off-the-shelf access rules that further bolster the security around a company’s data and prevent access to any information outside the contract. It also ensures that suppliers do not see each other’s information, thus increasing their confidence to share information directly with their OEMs.

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An example of contracts created using Partner Connect for a vendor showing dates product information, and external user information

Engineers or Designers can assign these contracts to the BOM, which allows external users to access information. Sample BOM below displays an OEM and Suppliers view when using Partner Connect:

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OEM view of BOM displaying two suppliers with contracts
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Supplier view of BOM displaying only assemblies granted access through contract

Similarly, engineering changes can also be shared with external users. For example, change analysts can add sub-assemblies or components with contracts to different suppliers on a single change notice and route them to the respective suppliers. On the supplier end, the information accessed is determined through the respective partner contracts. You can see the OEM and Supplier’s view of the affected items on an engineering change below:

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OEM view of Engineering Change displaying multiple assemblies going through a change
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Supplier view of Engineering Change displaying only assemblies granted access to supplier

Modern, Trusted Access

To summarize, Partner Connect is a modern and trusted approach to share information with suppliers. It ensures that everyone has access to the most up-to-date product information and provides useful inputs during product development. It also allows companies to interact with suppliers in a more collaborative, secure manner while improving productivity and reducing expensive re-work of designs.

Please reach out to your sales contact to learn more about this solution to support your supplier collaboration needs.

For additional information on secure collaboration – please follow:

Sourcing & Supplier Integration

Secure Collaboration Blogs

Disclaimer: I am the author at PLM ECOSYSTEM, focusing on developing digital-thread platforms with capabilities across CAD, CAM, CAE, PLM, ERP, and IT systems to manage the product data lifecycle and connect various industry networks. My opinions may be biased. Articles and thoughts on PLMES represent solely the author's views and not necessarily those of the company. Reviews and mentions do not imply endorsement or recommendations for purchase.

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