Know the Biggest Data Exchange Challenges to Establishing Partnerships

Peter Bilello, President – CIMdata quotes “The future of manufacturing is in joint-development, design, production, and service of products”. Indeed, with changing business environment and market agility, organizations are entering into new partnerships, or creating joint ventures, to gain access to local markets, technology, resources, and increase their product range rapidly. However, a glance on one automotive industry report (Confessions of a Capital Junkie, 29th April 2015, Fiat Chyrsler Automobiles) points to failing of close to 45% of partnerships or ventures in meeting business objectives. It is alarming, given the number of such partnerships and joint ventures are growing while significant investments continue to be made. In order to deliver next strategic advantage for organizations, one needs to understand what really is hampering the successful realization of these partnerships or ventures?

Collaboration with Partners

Efficiently enabling the data exchange is key

Reducing the time to setup and operationalize partnerships is imperative for success of such partnerships. One of the key issues faced by enterprises, is the ability to efficiently enable data exchange in the context of the partnership. Obstructing their ability, is the increasing data exchange challenges between partners due to the following situations:

  1. IP confidentiality: Although many OEMs are entering into partnerships to take advantage of technologies or innovations developed by other partners, OEMs don’t want to lose the competitive advantage of new innovations. Therefore, OEMs need to protect their IP while exchanging the data for partnerships. With data sharing outside the organization or department, demand for confidentiality of respective intellectual property is at the highest level.
  2. Diverse application landscape: Manufacturing organizations have evolved diverse and complex product development methodologies, which are unique to each organization. Different set of authoring tools (CAD or PDM) among partners add to the complexity in data exchange. Therefore as partnerships grow, so do the challenges in enabling data exchange between partners grow. This stresses the need for standardization of data exchange processes, key for effective collaboration.
  3. Business process differences: Along with the differences in authoring tools, the key processes of configuration, release and change management are also very different among partners. Collaborating with partners with such disparate business processes requires flexible data exchange processes, adopted to the specific needs of each partnership.
  4. Role in the partnership: The nature of partnership will determine the depth of data exchange and validation in the partner’s context – For example, a joint design and engineering partnership may involve complete design data exchange while in a manufacturing partnership, sharing of shapes and associated manufacturing attributes and processes of the product will suffice. At the same time, one OEM might have different kind of partnerships with other OEMs or Partners. This necessitates the need for flexible data exchange processes, to cater to the differing needs of partnerships.
  5. Nomenclature and practices As the organizations mature their part numbering, nomenclatures also evolve. Therefore, it’s very unlikely for partners to have same part numbering schemes and nomenclature practices. This adds to the complexity of data mapping from one partner to another and vice-versa.
Going ahead

Geometric sees collaboration as the key to enabling the evolution of business partnerships (be it with each other, their suppliers or joint ventures) by OEMS, to address the changing market environments. The demand for secure and flexible data exchange will be more severe. To be successful, OEMs should look at approaches for establishing collaborative environments faster while limiting the risks associated with di¬fferences in processes, practices, tools and nature of partnerships.

How do you see the growing importance of partnerships in the context of your business? Are you encountering similar collaboration challenges in establishing your partnerships? We would like to know your thoughts on this.

Pravin Girase
Product Manager, Geometric Ltd.