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Product Data Management Defined

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product data management (PDM) defined

To sell a consistently high-quality product, your business needs to follow an orderly set of production processes for every product run. Using a product data management, or PDM, system allows your engineers to document every piece of production data and easily access it at any time.

Let's take a closer look at the finer details of what PDM entails, the benefits it has to offer, and the types of businesses that should consider using it. We'll also go over some suggestions for PDM software and tips for how you can start putting it to work for your business.

What is product data management?

Product data management (PDM) is the process of organizing the design data and engineering information for a product, in one, convenient location. By providing a single source of data, a PDM system helps engineers avoid potentially costly mistakes and save an abundance of time. 

An effective PDM system contains all relevant product data and process specifications, so users across engineering teams can easily access them. The information stored and organized in PDM software can include: 

  • Data related to engineering processes 
  • Production notes
  • Detailed part or product-related information
  • Manufacturing or assembly directions

PDM software also lets users manage orders, track changes and revisions, generate bills of materials (BOMs), and much more. 

Engineers often use PDM systems to store and manage computer-aided design files, to help facilitate collaboration, to have a written record of changes and revisions, and to maintain consistent design and production standards.

Benefits of PDM

Implementing an enterprise product data management system can deliver multiple benefits across your design and production process. Here are just a few.

  • Secure data management. Automate security functions like version control, release status, and file ownership.

  • Revision control. Prevent confusion over multiple or lost files by documenting any changes made and creating a thorough revision timeline.

  • Access control. Enhance data security with permission-based access to critical functions.

  • Business system integration. Configure your PDM system to integrate data from material requirements planning (MRP), enterprise resource planning (ERP), or other business system software.

  • Improved design workflows. Give all internal and external users access to consistent and up-to-date product data, in real-time. 

  • Improved collaboration. Teams can share their work in 2D or 3D visuals, and text space allows for feedback and comments.

  • Streamlined processes. Eliminate the need for searching through multiple databases, written communication, or programs to find production data.

Product data management software options

You have several options to consider when it comes to choosing the product data management software to implement in your business. Your budget, the size of your business, and the complexity of your needs are the primary factors in selecting the system that works best for you.

Here are two PDM options to consider:

SolidWorks Enterprise PDM offers an array of well-designed features and fast loading speeds, and facilitates collaboration by preventing accidental altering of files currently in use by other users.

Upchain offers an extensive product lifecycle management package that includes their cloud-based PDM software. This system centralizes files and allows for simultaneous viewing by multiple on-site or remote users.

Need a solution for your marketing and e-commerce teams?

At this point in the proliferation of three-letter acronym business software, it might not be a surprise that product information management (PIM) software is different from PDM software. Where PDM is designed for engineers and designers, PIM is designed to support marketing, e-commerce, and sales by collecting and distributing product information and files that represent your products in the marketplace.

If you’d like to learn more about how our combined DAM and PIM solution, the Widen Collective, can support your marketing and sales efforts, contact the Widen team today!

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