Global outsourcing, price erosion, environmental regulations, compressed development cycles: these are just a few of the challenges product development companies face. Their ability to meet these challenges depends upon component and supplier management, or CSM. Choosing the right parts and suppliers at the beginning of the design process is critical; often, crucial missteps are revealed too late in the product lifecycle.

Companies can avoid such missteps by making their CSM processes integral to the product development process. An integral approach enables a company to provide their designers with greater visibility into important supply chain data, and to allow them to collaborate with suppliers early in the design process. This paper examines the current state of CSM, outlines several key challenges, and details the integral process approach to CSM.