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Bridging The Gap Between Engineering and Procurement

In order to facilitate efficient and smooth supply chains, the ability to keep things organized is a crucial factor. In the past, the manufacturing industry has taken this focus to an extreme by locking various teams into production silos. While this kind of isolation has worked in the past, the future of globe-spanning supply chains demands a more collaborative approach.

It all begins with the age-old gap that has long existed between engineering and procurement teams. Join us as we look at the cause of this divide, and how you can fill the space between with collaboration tools for a more productive and efficient future.   

The Different Goals of Procurement and Engineering

Engineered products pass through countless hands and departments on their way to final production. Cost savings is one goal that exists across all of these departments. The most profitable companies focus on strategic sourcing techniques and secure supply chain operations.

Of course, there are countless factors outside of the organization’s control, and a lack of knowledge to make informed decisions. Procurement teams can approach this problem by working with engineers to tweak both product design and assembly.

While this seems like a simple solution, procurement teams and engineers don’t have the same goals in mind. Where the former focuses on cost, the latter focuses on staying true to the original design and not cutting corners.

Essentially, these two departments have different motivations and goals, thus creating a gap between them. This is further exacerbated by the rigid silos present in modern companies. The solution lies in first understanding the differences between collaboration and cooperation.

Collaboration vs Cooperation

We’ve long heard that companies should break down their supply chain silos and encourage collaboration, but there’s a problem with how we define the term. In his Harvard Business Review article entitled “There’s a Difference Between Cooperation and Collaboration”, Ron Ashkenas reveals the underlying issue:

Having worked with hundreds of managers over the years, I’ve seen that very few admit to being poor collaborators, mostly because they mistake their cooperativeness for being collaborative. And indeed, most managers are cooperative, friendly, and willing to share information — but what they lack is the ability and flexibility to align their goals and resources with others in real time.”

In essence, manufacturing design was passed from one team to another with the assumption that all the pieces would eventually fit. No one was concerned with the final design; they were merely cooperating by sharing information with one another.

True collaboration involves the ability for teams to understand the perspective and approach of other departments.

How to Bridge The Gap Between Your Teams

bridging the gap between engineering and procurement

Collaboration tools can solve this problem, but even the software itself has designs with silo structure in mind. The engineering team must be able to present their point of view to the procurement department so they can understand the logic behind the design and material choices.

This boils down to the BOM for ordering components and supplies. Companies currently use software like Microsoft Excel and email tools to collaborate and share BOM spreadsheets. Others have leveraged tools like Dropbox to make collaboration smoother and more organized. Advancements in software technology across cloud computing, analytics, and platform architectures have begun to show the cracks in these current solutions. There are far too many possibilities for error.

True collaboration comes from a cloud-based software platform like Findchips Pro. With this comprehensive BOM management solution, the gap between your procurement and engineering teams can finally be dissolved.

Harnessing Unique and Useful Features

The Pro version allows you to quickly turn BOMs into live documents. These consistently reflects the latest changes made by the team, along with changes in the market. This information is shared with any members of your team that you choose. The software tracks any and all changes for organizational purposes as well. Complex analytics and real-time pricing/availability empower your teams to make rational and informed decisions that benefit both cost and quality.

Features like Part Intelligence and Risk Rank are also crucial to effective collaboration. The members of the team will have access to 12 months of market analytics. They will also have unique insight into each component’s inherent risk. 

Findchips Pro instantly removes the obstacles between your teams and bridges the gap between both your procurement and engineering staff by providing a universal cloud-based collaborative solution in the form of a user-friendly software platform.

This translates to engineers making better part decisions, along with a lightweight project management feature which makes it simple for the team to transfer ownership to sourcing when ready. All of this leaves behind a trail of accountability and traceability so there’s never any question about the changes made to the BOM.

Taking it One Step Further

The opportunities that present themselves with Findchips Pro are both numerous and widespread. The ability to incorporate multiple teams into your BOM management and procurement strategies is key.

Save time, save money, and boost your supply chain security with Findchips Pro. To learn more and explore how Findchips Pro can help bridge the gap between these historical silos, simply head to our website to schedule a demo today!

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