This article is part of a larger piece originally featured on the KETIV blog. To read the original in its entirety, click HERE.
Product data management (PDM) is a strategy for product information management and process management–all in one place.
In this day and age, when product complexity is through the roof (thanks to demand for customization, globalization, supply chain issues, and more), the only way to win at product data management is with a formalized PDM software like Autodesk Vault.
Your PDM manages and stores all of your product-related information in one centralized, intelligent repository. It shows engineering teams only the latest versions of the design and engineering riles, as well as an audit trail and revision history showing who made what changes and when. A great PDM solution can revolutionize your engineering data management.
With a PDM tool, an engineer can see–in real-time–if a colleague is modifying a file. This stops them from working on an outdated version by mistake, leading to downstream problems that culminate in the shop floor making an obsolete product, wasting time, money, and energy.
PDM makes it easy for engineering teams to share files, communicate and collaborate. But other teams benefit too. Manufacturing, purchasing, sales, product management, and more–people who might not even know what CAD models are–can access 3D views and multi-level BOMs. They can even leave comments and attach associated PDFs and Excel documents if required.
PDM uses detailed metadata to catalog and organize your files, making them infinitely more accessible and usable. Rather than only organizing files by name and size, PDM can group files by what they contain, opening up powerful search capabilities that keep engineers agile and productive.
Core features of PDM include:
- Integration: PDM integrates directly with CAD and other systems like MRP and ERP, keeping data synced in real-time.
- Security: PDM provides access control with roles and permissions to keep your data secure.
- Collaboration: Engineers can leave comments and feedback within CAD files and share 2D and 3D views of drawings with colleagues.
- Accountability: PDM saves an audit trail of every file change. It even displays who is using a file in real-time, so nobody uses it before it’s finished.
- Accessibility: Engineers can locate files quickly and confidently use the latest version. Less searching and validating = more time designing.
Below are the reasons why we believe manufacturers must prioritize product data management before tackling any other digital transformation strategy.
It’s a Key Driver of Efficiency and Productivity
The better organized and more accessible your engineering data, the faster and more efficient your engineering team can be.
It Reduces Costs
Effective product data management reduces product development costs, wastage, errors, and unhappy customers. With PDM, your company can improve the product development process with the resources it already has at its disposal.
It Makes Compliance Easier
Centralized and organized data makes meeting business and regulatory requirements easier (and monumentally less stressful).
It Provides Security
Most manufacturers use some kind of shared drive, FTP, or a service like Dropbox to store and share data. Some just use email.
These are not effective product data management solutions. They lack proper meta data structures, soon get clogged up with duplicates and multiple versions, but–worst of all–they’re not secure.
A best-in-breed PDM software has a robust security component to protect your intellectual property. Role management, permissions, secure folders, project-based security, and associated access privileges give you peace of mind.
Enhanced Communication and Collaboration
Having a single source of truth for data gets everyone on the same page. Everyone uses and communicates around the same files, breaking down silos and boosting agility, responsiveness, and creativity.
Vault PDM users can easily share 2D or 3D views of their work with other stakeholders and exchange comments and feedback. It’s a perfect solution for distributed teams.
Improved Agility and Scalability
PDM tools let you keep product-related information in sync across multiple sites. Adding and removing users, teams, and locations can be done in a matter of clicks, making scaling effortless.
Better Talent Acquisition and Retention
Young engineers want to work for companies with high-integrity data and the software required to exploit it. A formal PDM system is a prerequisite for attracting top engineering talent and opens the door to incredible technological innovation.
Having your data in PDM makes the onboarding process more manageable too. Why? Because you don’t waste time training new hires on the peculiarities of your product data management strategy.