AWS Startups Blog

When It Comes to Managing Complex Supply Chains, Upchain Offers Flexibility and Security 

Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, most manufacturing was still vertically integrated. Each company owned its own supply chains, and even complex, specialized components of larger machinery or appliances were built in-house. That meant managing design and production was internal and achieved using monolithic software and technology whose use was enforced centrally throughout the organization.

Not anymore. Now, equipment manufacturers increasingly need to work with external suppliers and contractors on a global basis. Manufacturers use product lifecycle management (PLM) software to manage that process; however, by and large, that software hasn’t evolved to meet the needs of distributed, global design and production processes.

Upchain was architected to meet these challenges. A cloud-based PLM software conceived from the beginning as a SaaS solution, the startup seeks to simplify the product development process. And as a SaaS solution, Upchain supports heterogeneous environments and is designed to work with any industry. This ensures maximum flexibility to manage different tools, systems, Bills-of-Materials (BOM), change management, and collaboration between product stakeholders.

The company was started in 2015 with the goal of simplifying what PLM could mean for users across the supply chain. Existing software was built with multinational companies in mind, leaving smaller companies without many options. No matter the size of the company or product, Upchain works to connect collaborators from start to finish—“from the first nut to the final bolt”—to help bring products to market on time and under budget. Customers include businesses from autonomous vehicles and automotive suppliers to high-tech products, engineering tooling companies, and medical device manufacturers.

Brian Dueck, CTO at Upchain

With AWS, Upchain gets a “secure, reliable, and scalable platform,” says Chief Technology Officer Brian Dueck. In their industry, security is a must-have: intellectual property defines and distinguishes the products that Upchain’s customers produce. So is reliability: information needs to be available no matter what. And scalability is invaluable: it allows Upchain to manage bursts in activity both on the customer side and in terms of Upchain’s own development workload.

For all of this, Amazon RDS (Relational Database System) is essential. “As we take on new customers, as we pursue new initiatives, we’re able as a development organization to get the flexibility we need to consume additional AWS resources to solve particular development problems,” says Dueck. “That could be experimentation with a new technology, or doing analysis on performance.” It means being able to scale up quickly for new projects, or discard resources that Upchain no longer needs—fully utilizing Amazon RDS’s “elastic capabilities from a development and a production perspective.”

Upchain works with all sorts of customers, from disruptive startups to Fortune 100 companies with significant security needs and enterprise requirements. The team is able to take on that range of customers because, Dueck says, “AWS gives us elasticity that, when combined with Upchain’s innovation, allows us to craft a service that is able to deal with those very different extremes.”

Dueck and his team are confident that AWS will help them take Upchain into the future. “As customers consume more Upchain, we’ll consume more AWS,” Dueck says. The startup is also considering everything AWS offers, from edge computing to AI technology, to achieve scalability, accessibility, and the kind of backend support necessary to keep its software running smoothly.