Move Beyond Drawings with a PDM Tool: An Introduction to Product Data Management




Whether to develop a new product or improve an existing one, design now involves more drawings or modeling to capture a greater variety of components and parts for increasingly smart, connected products. This could mean CAD data from multiple systems or related documentation typically stored across various shared drives.  Product data management (PDM) can bring order to this potentially messy process.

Documents and Data Add Up

With original model drawings for individual parts, sub-assemblies, full product assemblies… and then revised drawings for every single edit that is made, the number of drawings can really add up. With each new revision, earlier models become outdated. Because they have already been disseminated across the company, it can be difficult to backtrack and quickly replace outdated models with newer versions. Sadly, the result of using dated models can be expensive - leading to manufacturing and design rework, and service-related costs. 

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to simply store all of this product-related data on a shared drive. If someone accidentally overwrites the design, there’s no option but to start from scratch. Plus, a shared drive alone doesn’t make it any easier to understand the relationship between the data, nor does it facilitate collaboration amongst stakeholders. 

Enter Product Data Management

A PDM tool, or a CAD data management tool, can help. PDM helps companies to organize all of their data across teams, protect it, and make it fast and easy to engage with product development. PDM makes managing complex data easier for engineers, and modern PDM sharing and reviewing capabilities make that data more consumable for non-engineering teams. Keep an eye out for things like 2-D and 3D visualization for reviewing, and role-based applications for easy access to data. 

Today’s PDM tools don’t require an army of consultants or lots of upfront consulting either. Manufacturers can install, configure and get their teams up and running on PDM quickly. And, with new cloud deployment options – system maintenance and security falls on the shoulders of the PDM vendors so upgrades and updates are timely and don’t disrupt the daily workflow. 

PDM fixes a multitude of problems – primarily around efficiency and productivity. Watch for our upcoming PDM blog series that will dive into the PDM trends of your peers, critical PDM capabilities to look for and what you need to know about PDM and the cloud.  

For more on Product Data Management, visit our resource-rich PDM page.