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Managing different suppliers


Managing different suppliers

Hello everyone

We are confronted to an issue which, I believe, you may have also experienced and wondering how you solved it.

There is in Windchill a module called Supplier's Manager. This is all nice and neat, during development of a product, you need to identify one or several suppliers, decide to keep some and drop others etc... until release of product definition.

Now I have several suppliers for the same part, I will select one depending on lead time but also quality. How do I do that.

Please let me give a more specific example.

I have product P1 which is made of several components. One of them is, let's say a roller bearing. just a standard size, that all suppliers have.

Some of our customers will simply buy P1 without question about the roller bearing. But others will want to have the bearing from Supplier S1, and others from supplier S2. While our engineering team may want depending on how and where P1 will be used, to select for this particular order a particular supplier (all well defined during the development).

Those standard purchased parts have a CAD model. We first thougth of having a parameters to for name of the prefered suppliers, but how do we manage without changing the CAD model, to provide P1 with the roller bearing from a different supplier.

Ok, we said, we use a configurator. We set up P1 as a configurable product and the configuration is simply to select the roller bearing (depending on the supplier, by default we will have the prefered suppliers, and then other options). OK all nice and neat.

But then it means that for the same roller bearing I must have a different partnumber depending on the supplier.

So I will have Roller Bearing RB1S1 for Supplier S1, RB1S2 for Supplier S2 etc..

What do I do with my CAD library ? Should I have only one 3D model and have a parameter that say that RB1 can be purchased from S1, S2 or S3 depending on application and customer choice ? Is there something better than a parameter (if I add a new supplier I must revise this CAD library part just to change the parameter and add a new parameter. This avoid to revise the product P1

Should I use ProE/PDMLink configuration to built P1 with the 3 different roller bearing (RB1S1, RB1S2, RB1S3) and therefore have 3 CAD model, one for each ?. Then if I add a new supplier. I create a CAD model for RB1S4 and revise P1 to include RB1S4 as part of my possible configuration.

What do you think is the best options, How did you solve it at your company ? Have I explained properly what we are trying to achieve ?

Any feedback welcome!!

Thank you very in anticipation


It would be my recommendation to NOT manage the design to supplier relationship with parameters in your CAD model. What I would recommend is that you take a look at MPMLink to solve this problem. This software allows you to create several different MBOMs (Manufacturing) that are all linked back to the EBOM (Design). This way you can manage several different manufacturing part numbers, depending on the view (which in our case is our manufacturing plant locations), that link back to a single engineering part number.

So for example you have an engineering part 123456 for the ball bearing. Now you have 3 suppliers that can make the ball bearing 1) Bob BB000899, 2) Joe BRG76543 and 3) Your own plant that uses the engineering part number 123456. The 3 supplier part numbers would live in their respective manufacturing MBOMs or views that all link back to the engineering part number 123456 and are separately revision controlled and released.

Patrick Williams | Engineering Systems | c: 616.947.2110
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