Education / Integrate

Upchain has posted its third instalment of our four-part series: Simplify, Collaborate, Integrate and Innovate. Click the link to check out how Upchain is driving collaboration.

In the 1990’s it was popular to describe how we balance work and personal life as “work-life-balance”. This phrase assumed work and home to be discrete physical places. Today they often are not. Prior to COVID-19 there was already a significant trend toward working from many places besides the workplace; home, hotel, car, and the customer’s premises. COVID-19 consolidated this trend into a new way of life…the New Normal. Most thought leaders agree that this new normal is here to stay because we found ways to do our job without commuting to the brick-and-mortar office. We now question the disruption the old way caused us and conditioned us to accept. We have gone from “work-life-balance” to “work-life-integration”. The commute from home to office often now involves walking 20 paces from one room to another. Our Fit-Bit screams at us to get more active! 

Here at Upchain we have always known integration would become key to working and living at the same time. We have been pioneering how to collaborate on product development without relying on in-person meetings long before COVID-19 forced “work-life-integration” upon us.

  •       Upchain pioneered processes and technologies to support “work-life-integration”.
  •       Upchain’s virtual Connect the Chain program rapidly enables PLM into production and training of all PLM roles.
Work-Life Integration

Upchain’s thesis has always been to integrate work and life. Since its inception, Upchain has integrated the entire PLM experience and made it virtual, thus avoiding co-located meetings in brick and mortar locations. From onboarding people, to data discovery/repair and uploading, and to enabling the end-to-end PLM solution into production, it’s all virtual, so can be from home or work or hotel. Upchain achieves this by taking advantage of modern SaaS architecture, and a comprehensive suite of embedded integrations. We offer an intuitive graphical user experience that is simple and wraps together the whole PLM onboarding process into a virtual program called Connect the Chain. 

Connect the Chain (CtC)

Connect the Chain is a completely virtual program that enables rapid, efficient, and effective implementation and user onboarding. It is an industry proven go-live method for defining, deploying, configuring the Out-of-the-Box (OotB) software, and training people of all roles. The CtC program reduces implementation time, cost and risk, drives positive user adoption, and ensures predictable and repeatable results that are measurable. 

Upchain’s Virtual CtC Program
  •       Connects you with Upchain’s Partner Enablement Team: Account Executive, Partner Enablement Manager, Product Managers and Training & Support Resources.
  •       Includes you in the Connect the Chain webinar series: online instructor-led training to empower your team with the knowledge and confidence to collaborate on product data with Upchain. 
  •       Provides hands-on experience with configuring tenant settings, creating and managing projects, importing data, collaborating on designs within their own CAD workspaces, participating in workflows, and leveraging engineering data in non-CAD environments.
Work-life-integration Liberates Time for More Productive Tasks

     Traditional PLM implementations add up to a lot of down time. They include numerous in-person meetings, the commute to the office, and the IT overhead of planning/maintaining them. With Upchain, however, significant time is freed up.

  •       Fewer admin tasks mean product-stakeholders maintain concentration longer, remain creative, and therefore make better decisions resulting in more innovative products.
  •     Freed up time allows more “what-if” iterations to be performed, yielding better products.
  •       More people can participate in product development collaboration irrespective of location.
  •       More information is available to every product-stakeholder, so decisions are better informed.
Microsoft Office Tools are Enabled with PLM
  •       It’s a fact. Significant product IP is captured in desktop apps like Microsoft (MS) Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint; even Adobe. Rather than insist people replace these tools with PLM, Upchain says “remain using them, we’ll keep track”. 
  •       Accessible directly from within Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint, documents may be checked out/in, “compared” to others, linked, followed, and marked up. Markups stay with the document as a permanent record. This avoids losing I.P. on unmanaged documents.
  •       Use MS Excel like a data table to record BOM information. Upchain maintains the connection to information on the spreadsheet such as Item type, description, part number, supplier, manufacturer etc., and tells you if there is a newer version of the spreadsheet.
CAD, Cxx Tools Enabled with PLM
  •       Initiate an end-to-end PLM project directly from within your M-CAD, E-CAD or Cxx tool. Avoids breaking concentration while working on your CAD design
  •       Create “candidate” workflows like IR, ECR, ECN. Commit to a revision process only when you want.
  •       Import rich product information directly into Upchain from the CAD tool. Additionally, preserve parent/child hierarchies, plus import component and item information directly from your CAD tool.
  •       Compare the CAD BOM to Engineering BOM to see differences and ensure synchronization as the BOM evolves.
  •       Find existing product information using anything you know about it; item number, date, supplier, type etc.
  •       Initiate tasks for other product stakeholders. Upchain automatically sends an email and a task alert to their dashboard.
Enterprise Integration Framework

     For enterprise customers with large enterprise systems that manage product lifecycle information downstream of PLM, Upchain leverages standard REST API’s to access and publish data. Upchain’s APIs support customer’s unique business rules which define how product information must be shared. Common use cases include:

  •       Integration to enterprise systems such as ERP’s, PLM’s, MES systems
  •       Exposure of Upchain PLM data to analytics systems for publishing reports
  •       Creation of new user experiences and flows into other collaboration tools
  •       Multi-site harmonization to create a single virtual engineering experience flow
  •       Accessing data silos belonging to out-of-scope apps, e.g. legacy data, new acquisitions, etc.


     “Work-life-integration” is the new normal. To support this new normal, tools and systems must support the new way we work, rather than force us to adjust to how the tool works. Traditional PLM systems contemplate co-located and vertically integrated product development functions because they were architected in the 70’s and 80’s. In 2020 this traditional architecture impedes “Work-life-integration” rather than supports it. Upchain supports the New Normal and frees up time so product stakeholders have more free cycles to spend on value added tasks. Upchain PLM is deeply embedded into common non-engineering tools like MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and can track actions like emailing a spreadsheet to someone else. Upchain PLM gives you control over your life to work when and how best suits you. Welcome to the New Normal!