Cloud PLM FAQ
What is Upchain?
Upchain is a cloud PLM solution that simplifies product creation. Our goal is to bring PLM to small and mid-sized companies by making it easier than ever to get up and running, easier than ever to use, and offer a truly unparalleled customer experience for engineering, QA, manufacturing, product managers, services, and sales. From the very first CAD file to the very last shipment, Upchain is by your side, every step of the way.
How is Upchain’s PLM different?
We’re different in three ways.
First, we’re fast and inexpensive to deploy. We’ve built our software from the ground up for small and medium-sized businesses, who don’t have the time (or patience!) for the long implementation schedules and enormous fees of old-school PLM vendors.
Second, we’re laser-focused on customer service. When you call, we pick up the phone. When you’re implementing, you don’t have a “team” — you have a dedicated Upchain contact overseeing every tiny detail. And mostly, we’ll never, ever put you on hold.
Third, we’re easy to use. We’ve built our PLM for people, not just for engineers. With minimal training, we promise any team can up and using the platform is just a few days.
How long does it take to get up and running?
Initial setup can be done in just a few days, and most of our customers are fully ramped and using the tool in no time.
What about teams beyond my own?
We’re designed to work with teams beyond engineering, including sales, procurement, supplier relations, and more. We have low-cost, limited licenses so you can even give suppliers outside your organization a controlled view of your product data. We also have super granular user permission settings so you can easily limit what suppliers can / can not see.
What kind of support can I expect?
We offer unlimited support from our customer success team. We’re there to help get you up and running, provide ongoing support and training, or just answer any product questions you might run into. You can get in touch via email, phone, chat, and we’re constantly adding to our knowledge base so you can get the info you need, fast.
When can I expect to see results?
You’ll find that working is easier as soon as the first workflow is up and running. In terms of ROI, most of our clients see returns after the first production run.
Does Upchain manage my engineering changes (ECRs, ECO, etc…)?
Engineering change requests can grind production to a halt. We have out of the box templates to get you started and can configure them to suit your existing workflows if needed.
Does Upchain connect all my existing software?
Yes! We integrate with the entire Microsoft Suite, all major CAD programs, and leverage web services for ERP integration. We also have REST APIs that let us connect to other software if we need to.
Why do I need a cloud PLM?
Cloud PLM gives you and any stakeholder you work with (e.g. a contract manufacturer, a satellite engineering office, your CEO) insight into your product data and design process in a secured and controlled way.
It gives you a single view of all your data, without actually moving where it’s stored. This means you can keep using all the stuff you’re using right now, but it get all wired together so your data’s always up to date.
It means that everyone’s on the same page, changes are checked automatically, and work gets completed faster and with fewer mistakes.
What is product lifecycle management (PLM)?
Product lifecycle management, or PLM, is software to manage products from cradle to grave. It integrates product data (think CAD), workflows, and other systems, especially across lots of businesses up and down the value chain.
PLM started in the 1980s to help giant companies build things like cars and tanks and jet engines.
Like all software in the 1980s, it was pretty bad, really expensive to implement, and clunky to use. And “traditional PLM” hasn’t really changed.
That’s why small and medium-sized businesses don’t have it — they don’t have the patience or the cash to deal with creaking software from the 1980s.
But there’s a new sheriff in town. Our cloud PLM takes the original dream of PLM — a connected value chain — and turns it into a reality for everyone.
Do I have to change what CAD I use?
Nope! We can play with any major CAD system on the market.
I have PDM. Is that a problem?
Certainly not! We can work with existing PDM systems like Vault or Enovia. But for what it’s worth, we include a PDM as part of our core product and offer free data migration help during setup, so you might be able to save yourself some serious cash.
Is the cloud secure enough for product data?
Absolutely. Cloud hosting offers in many ways far better security than on-premise solutions, with better physical security, updating policies, and ongoing threat management by teams of security experts.
What’s more, we host all our client’s product data on Amazon Web Services, which also works with hospitals, governments, and other security-conscious organizations.
Will Upchain manage my Bill of Materials (BOM)?
Yes. Our solution can generate a bill of materials from any data source, including CAD and SKUs. When the underlying data changes, the BOM automatically updates too. You can also create different views of the same data, so you only ever have a single source of data for all your various teams.
Can Upchain work with enterprise clients?
Yes! We’re more than up to servicing enterprise clients, and in fact are currently deployed with a number of major organizations.
We’ve found that just like small and mid-sized companies, our enterprise clients love our simple pricing, rapid deployment, zero implementation fees, and ease of use. Plus, we can easily work with an enterprise tech stack, including simple integration into ERPs, supply chain management software, existing PDMs, and more.