Over the past ten years, there has been a fundamental shift in how manufacturers and suppliers work together. In the past, suppliers were responsible for delivering parts within specifications for a targeted price. Today, however, suppliers are not only asked to expand their responsibility to deliver entire systems, but also act as the lead and contribute domain expertise in the design of those systems.

This change, of course, drastically affects how manufacturers work with suppliers. There is no longer a single handoff of engineering documentation from the manufacturer to the supplier. Instead, suppliers join the development process far earlier. They are providing feedback and running trade studies in terms of manufacturability, serviceability, and much more.