OEMs ask suppliers to use the same software because a fully associative suite of applications extended to the supply chain eliminates the need for data translation. As designs develop, all assemblies, drawings, and analysis models update automatically. Extending full associativity outside the company allows the OEM and supplier to work on the same model. Changes made anywhere along the design path are immediately reflected in the design model, the injection mold, and the NC toolpaths. Best of all, an associative suite supports concurrent engineering. Tool design and toolpath creation can occur before the design is finalised. The view that the tool design and manufacturing capabilities provided by large software firms is expensive and lacks special features for tool design is outdated and absurd. In many cases the functionality offered is greater, and the price is cheaper, than competing point solutions.

PTC has many customers that have asked their suppliers to examine PTC’s tool design and manufacturing software, and many have adopted its products because they realised they would be able to deliver better products, and handle more jobs more quickly.

Achieving the goals of speeding product development and cutting prices is critical. OEMs are not forcing suppliers to use unsuitable software, but asking them to examine the manufacturing modules of their CAD/CAM system. When the suppliers see the benefits to their own bottom line, they switch. And that’s the type of OEM-supplier relationship that benefits everyone.