Education / Collaborate

This is the second instalment of our four part series on the four tenets of Upchain: simplify, collaborate, integrate and innovate.


      In 2016, dozens of Samsung Galaxy Note 7’s were overheating, exploding and injuring people. It became such a concern that the phones were banned from being brought on to planes. All of the phones were recalled, a scandal that cost Samsung 5.3 billion dollars and a huge hit to their reputation. It was later revealed that the issue with the phones was caused by different problems within the batteries that were supplied by two different companies. With the problem revealed and new phones being offered to anyone who owned the previous one, it seemed everything was resolved. But then the new phones started catching fire. Samsung had misdiagnosed the original problem. It is not that these companies did not know how to build a phone battery, or that Samsung didn’t know how to make their own phones. This was a very complicated product with many stakeholders that must collaborate effectively in real time. Initial problems and concerns were not communicated properly between the three companies, various departments and stakeholders. The result was that important information was lost in the cracks at the expense of billions of dollars and human safety. 

     People have collaborated on projects for 1000’s of years. The ancient Egyptians built the great pyramids of Giza 4,500 years ago using rudimentary tools inferior to anything used in modern construction projects. Today, Space-X is collaborating with Nasa to send the first manned mission into outer space since the last space shuttle mission on July 8, 2011. Surely we can’t compare ancient pyramids to manned space missions…can we? Yes, in fact, we can. At the core of each of these significant milestones in human endeavor are the same characteristics: large scale, long term, well designed and engineered projects, involving 1000’s of people working together. The overall design was subdivided into building blocks or parts/components, and predefined plans guided how these building blocks should be assembled safely to ensure a high quality result. Each was led by a visionary supported by engineers who in turn depended upon a paid labor force (yes, the laborers who built the pyramids were paid). The pyramids and Space-X projects both relied upon a skilled labor force who willingly shared information with the right people at the right time. This defined collaboration in 2,560 BC and equally in 2020.

     We at Upchain have encapsulated the principles of how humans naturally collaborate into a SaaS software tool. We believe the secret to collaboration is to have all parties not only informed of the project objective, but provide them easy access to useful information which helps them do their job better, on time, and without distraction from how they like to work. Using Upchain, employees will successfully accomplish more than ever before because we enable and support their creativity and innovation. Upchain has developed a way to provide every product stakeholder the right information to get their job done on every project they do.

Collaborative Product Development in 2020. 

     An average of 80% of engineered products are from the supply-chain, meaning that a high percentage of the product content is procured from suppliers. Procured content ranges from components like simple nuts and bolts to fully autonomous subsystems like robots, transmissions and more. This means that collaboration with external product stakeholders using different systems and tools and in different locations is essential. Additionally, collaboration in 2020 involves stakeholders working around the clock in different locations with  different skills on design information that’s constantly changing. This leads to making best guess decisions or even worse, using stale data that is out of date and wrong. With global lock-down, difficult team decisions decided through in-person meetings  aren’t an option any longer. Enter Upchain, a company that drives is supporting and pushing collaborative product development in this new age.Upchain sees the primary characteristics of collaboration in 2020 as being:

  • Supply-chain centric– A high % of procured content e.g. components or systems
  • Heterogeneous– Different tools, systems, data formats, security and 2D/3D sources and enterprise systems (ie ERP, CRM, Finance, )
  • Multi-location– Different physical locations, companies and time zones. A primary supplier may also be a supplier to the competition.
  • Different cultures– Collaboration practices change in different countries 
  • Multiple disciplines/roles– e.g. engineering, procurement, QA, manufacturing, finance…
  • Many casual users of tools and systems– This means non-expert users must still be productive on a daily basis to collaborate with the team.
  • On-demand tasks– Projects will constantly ramp up and down, triggering a person to have many tasks on a number of projects that are at different stages of maturity.

Upchain Supports Collaborative Product Development

     From the moment you log in to the Upchain platform you have everything you need to collaborate with your Team. When first entering the program, users may choose their Projects, Assignments, Activities, Tasks or MyFavorites. They can also just start using the search field to find “where used” of a critical part. The Business Process Modeler helps manage Requirements, Investigation Requests, Change Requests, Change Notices, Quality Assurance and any other Business Process procedures that you want to manage electronically. For your group, Teams manage who is doing what and when, as well as what is left to do before a project or task is done. Tasks are easily assigned from anywhere in the User Interface which supports how people actually work. Upchain’s Supplier Management capability supports collaboration with suppliers’ procured in content.

    Upchain provides everything that’s needed to simply, easily and successfully collaborate on product development. With its logical UI and extensive use of intuitive symbols and 3D viewing technology, Upchain is the new paradigm in collaborative product innovation platforms to help product stakeholders get their work done better. Additionally, Upchain is an evergreen software enhanced monthly with no need for dreaded expenses and disruptions with upgrades. This agile and constant remote evolution ensures that the Upchain platform  is always the latest and greatest. No one gets left behind on an older version. Upchain collaborates closely with its subscriber customers which helps continuously evolve a better customer-driven solution. In turn, this enables Upchain customers to collaborate more closely with their network of product stakeholders better in 2020 and beyond.