There was a time when decisions about product data management software (PDM) were based solely on the needs of engineering. The primary goal of these engineers and designers was to automate file management beyond poorly followed rules about saving files in Windows. The preferred PDM solutions often emphasized check-in and check-out issues for CAD files, and did not necessarily take into consideration the wider uses of product data, let alone the important data beyond CAD files.
Today the decisions about how to select a product data management solution has moved up the org chart, beyond engineering. PDM is recognized as an enterprise automation solution, not a departmental file manager. The typical decision-maker of a PDM solution today is looking for a way to support the entire product lifecycle process, and wants a high return of business value for their investment. These people see PDM as an enterprise-wide solution that can be a right-sized alternative to expensive PLM installations.
Whether the PDM decision-makers are an executive committee or a single executive decision maker, the goal is the same. They want software that creates a competitive edge by streamlining and automating internal processes. They need to eliminate the time wasted on searching for all kinds of product data, whether it is found in a CAD file, a spreadsheet, a technical manual in PDF format, or stored in a database used for customer relations or supply chain management.
Beyond the What of PDM, today’s decision-makers are also concerned with the How of PDM. Decision-makers want to make sure that PDM addresses all the concerns of the enterprise– from engineering to quality to manufacturing and more.
Holding PDM to a Higher Standard
PDM is expected to do more for more people today; file management efficiency is not enough. Enterprise leaders and innovators hold their software decisions to higher standards: Software must have enough value to address key business initiatives such as global growth and collaboration, information-gathering and sharing among disparate acquisitions, and agility in a highly competitive market. To make the cut, a PDM system must be able to:
– Perform complex versioning and revisions of file relationships for parts, assemblies drawings, configurations;
– Control and secure access to all company intellectual property –2D/3D design and MS Office or PDF documents;
– Easily collaborate and share with external partners;
– Integrate with multiple CAD tools and other technical and graphics-based software;
– Unite the wider enterprise document management functions with engineering;
– Guide and protect key business processes for all departments that require quality management and approvals;
– Integrate with other enterprise systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain management (SCM);
– Provide compliance management and reporting through an electronic audit trail.
At Synergis Software, we are focused on the enterprise-class demands that manufacturing, utilities, multi-national plants and construction firms make of their data management software. Thousands of users in a wide variety of disciplines now trust Synergis Adept to automate and control business processes broadly, throughout the company—not just in engineering.
Looking Beyond WHAT to HOW
Beyond the What of PDM, today’s decision-makers are also concerned with the How of PDM. How is the enterprise going to secure or vault their documents and data to ensure accessibility to their intellectual data? They care how data is replicated across global locations to ensure they have the best collaboration for getting products to markets faster. They want to know how their PDM system is backed up and whether it’s got a guaranteed disaster recovery plan. They also care about how the vast amounts of legacy data will be safely moved from multiple silos into a PDM system to realize a single version of the truth for all stakeholders. Our customers are the best testimony for how decision-makers at a higher level are driving the purchase and justifying the value of PDM. Consider these examples:
MedicaMetrix is a pre-revenue medical device manufacturer using Synergis Adept to manage regulatory compliance for government agencies on two continents. The decision to use Adept was led by the CEO.
Dow Chemical is a multinational Fortune 100 company. They selected Synergis Adept to manage both As-Builts and Capital projects. The buying decisions evolved as the use of Adept spread through the organization, moving from a committee, to the Product Manager for Data Integration and Engineering Document Management, and finally to the CAE Technology Leader, who is responsible for several hundreds of software programs throughout Dow corporate.
SchuF-Fetterolf is an international leader in manufacturing precision valves for use in a wide variety of industrial and manufacturing settings. From headquarters in Germany, product teams in Brazil, USA, Ireland, and India rely on Adept for constant access to the same data, with a unified approach to data replication. The purchasing decision came from the General Manager who wanted to roll out PDM across multiple manufacturing sites.
RuhrPumpen is a recognized worldwide leader in engineered-to-order pump manufacturing for industries including oil/gas and mining. The Director of Corporate Development chose Adept to help increase market presence as it built new plants in South America and Asia, increase product offerings, and consolidate and simplify document management processes. The overall goal was to be perceived by its clients as a technically agile company.
Value Trumps Efficiency
There is debate in some circles about whether the right investment for process automation is PDM or product lifecycle management (PLM). At Synergis, we believe that our PDM solution out of-the-box is the right-size solution for most small and medium businesses. For larger organizations, our PDM system integrated with other business solutions achieves 80% of what most high-cost PLM solutions deliver. A full-featured PDM system integrates with multiple enterprise business systems; puts CAD and text-based documents on equal ground; understands workflow and change management; and delivers a unified version of the truth to everyone in an organization, regardless of position, department, or software in use.
When PDM decisions were just about managing CAD files, the emphasis was on the efficiency of file management. Now a new generation of decision-makers seek a more holistic approach, where product documentation is managed by business processes and efficiency is just one aspect of arriving at increased value. Why limit your company to software that organizes CAD files when you can implement a system that brings everyone under the umbrella of enterprise data management and automation?