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Why PDM?

Ever find yourself browsing to a path that looks like this S:\Engineering\Product\Tooling\Bob’sStuff\SubFolder\AnotherSubFolder\Extra
FolderJustBecause\New\Latest\CustomerChange15\Latest… ?

Or maybe when you finally get there you find yourself wondering if the “NewNewLatestCustomerPart_New_latest.sldprt” is actually the part you’re looking for??

How can you tell if it is? Maybe I should go double check. Again…

I wonder where Bob is at with Assembly XYZ… but he’s got his data on another server I can’t get to right now because of blah, blah, IT jargon, etc… and when I finally find it, it says it can’t open it because it’s in use by another user.

If this sounds familiar it might be time for your company to take a look at SolidWorks Enterprise Product Data Management (PDM).

I, like many, thought I didn’t need a PDM system for many years. Back when I was the sole designer, I could manage my data myself. Dates on files were all I needed. Well, those days are gone, for many reasons. And the move to SolidWorks Enterprise PDM has made life better on many of those fronts.

There are so many pitfalls to manual data management and no real good way to guarantee those pitfalls are avoided, and that proper procedures are followed. Even worse, it’s difficult to determine where the ball got dropped and where the bottleneck resides.

The first engineer I ever worked with told me a great bit of advice that rings true in everything I do: “You have to know where you’re at, to know where you’re going.”

At the time, he meant it to figure out the knowns and then calculate the unknowns in design changes. But I have found it applies to troubleshooting, problem solving, project and data management as well.

When it comes to manual data management, it’s pretty difficult to figure out the knowns sometimes. Revison control is a manual and tedious job. Making sure you have the latest file can be time consuming and costly if mistakes are made. Heck, sometimes you can’t even find the files you’re looking for! So, let’s talk about where SolidWorks Enterprise PDM comes in.

You already have a large amount of data on your server in various areas. You need a way to search, control, organize, access and backup that data so you can leverage it in EVERY way possible for your company. And that’s where SolidWorks Enterprise PDM comes in:

  • Data Archive allows users to check in files from a local vault view to an archive vault so they are saving locally (for performance) and checking in on the server (so everyone can  get the latest files) and they can get backed up easily!
  • Data Cards allow you to key in, or pull info from custom properties for every file in your
    vault.
  • Workflows allow you to move the files through the personalized stages YOUR company uses, and notify the necessary people when they get there.
  • Revisions are set as schemes which are AUTOMATICALLY applied to the file at the proper time and bumped at the proper time.
  • Get Latest is a right click option to ensure you are working with the latest data set.
  • Templates can be used to automate the folder and file structure you want.
  • Variables are used to track any and all information about a file you want.
  • Searching tools can find any file based on the tracked information ANYWHERE in your
    vault.
  • Versions are created EVERY time you check a file into the vault and previous versions
    and revisions are accessible anytime.
  • History tracks and shows what every file in the vault has been through from start to
    finish.
  • Where Used and Contains shows you where every file is used in every assembly in the
    vault.
  • Users and Groups can tie into Active Directory or be setup from scratch to control permissions, file viewing rights and what tools are available for everyone.

SolidWorks Enterprise PDM has many built in viewers so non-CAD users can still see the CAD data. There is a BOM function built into the interface so they can see Bill of Materials. And best of all, the end user interface is built right on top of Windows Explorer. So for the daily user, it looks just like Windows with TONS of additional tools! This also makes training easier because we’re just showing you a new way to use Windows.

SolidWorks Enterprise PDM screenshot

So, if this sounds like it can benefit your company, feel free to give us a call.
We have trained specialists that will discuss what you want the product to do,
layout a game plan for Setup, Customization, Installation, Implementation and
Training to help assist you with the transition.

John MacArthur
John MacArthur
DASI Solutions

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