What is Product Data Management?

Product Data Management (PDM) is the process of recording and maintaining all the information connected to a product by using a centralised software system. This information might range from the raw materials used in making the product to how it was built.

Accessing data dispersed over spreadsheets, emails, and shared files is difficult, time-consuming, and complicated, with the risk of information being lost or accidentally deleted. PDM provides a one-stop solution to these difficulties by combining all design documents and related data into one secure yet easy-to-access centralised data repository.

First employed in 2001 in the IT sector; Product data management software was swiftly adopted across a wide range of sectors due to its cost and time-saving benefits. The necessity of the companies to manage their corporate information more efficiently has enhanced the growth of the product data management market.

Who is PDM for?

Earlier, PDM software was primarily used by engineers to organise product-related data, monitor revisions, collaborate, handle change orders, and produce Bills of Materials (BOMs), among other things.

However, product data is important and required by various departments in the company to help them function smoothly. Some key departments that use PDM are-

  • Engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Quality control
  • Sales and marketing
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Project managers

Why Does PDM Matters to Your Business?

As business organisations face an increase in demands in the digital era, Product Data Management (PDM) systems are critical for managing data-driven products. Design teams and product developers can use a PDM system to keep track of all information connected to creating a product, including drawings, models, revisions, and other documents & files.

There are several advantages for using an efficient PDM solution in the business that includes:

  • Reduce confusion among the teams and improves collaboration
  • Improve productivity and reduce cycle times by reusing product design data and making timely decisions
  • Track and manage all changes to product-related data
  • Assess the cost incurred in the creation and launch of the product
  • Reduce errors through controlled vigilance
  • Optimise operational resources
  • Avoid any possible mistakes caused by obsolete design papers or ignored engineering modification requests, resulting in significant cost and time savings.

Using a product data management system ensures that all stakeholders have the same product knowledge throughout their lifespan. Finally, a PDM system aids in the rapid creation of products, exponentially reduces development mistakes and expenses, and ensures the efficient utilisation of resources.

How Does A PDM Platform Differ From PIM?

Product Data Management (PDM) and Product Information Management (PIM) seem similar in terms, but they aren't. The main difference is in the names - 'Data' and 'Information.' Data is raw and unorganised while information is structured and meaningful. However, PDM and PIM complement each other. While the PDM platform is used to manage product data, the PIM platform is used to manage product information.

PDM focuses on streamlining the product development process by making technical data more accessible. On the other hand, PIM goes this a step further by giving sales, marketing, and other departments centralised, relevant product information (not simply data) for presenting to consumers.

When Companies Should Go for PIM and PDM?

PDM system is often used by the company when it needs to keeps track of technical data, versions, and other materials connected to the product's manufacturing and development.

PDM is essential in assisting the company in coordinating different manufacturing and service locations throughout the world.

However, when it comes to firms that manage large product information, data, files, and materials from multiple channels and platforms, PDM systems must be set aside and PIM solutions should be considered. PIM is mostly used by small companies and retailers in order to manage product-related information.

Running a business without PDM can cost you real money

There is a myth that the Product Data Management (PDM) system is too expensive to install. The reality, on the other hand, is entirely different. The cost of not adopting PDM is rather high. A business may incur huge costs in terms of money and time because of not using the PDM system in their business.

Not using PDM lead to troublesome error such as

  • Difficulty in restoring deleted data
  • Inadequate BOM management
  • Sluggish engineering change orders (ECOs)
  • Ineffective search methods

These errors add up to cause a significant financial loss for the organisation. With a centralised PDM system, a business corporation can reduce operational costs in many ways.

As PDM improves collaboration among the teams, wastage of resources is minimised. With correct product information, the design and manufacturing team can easily estimate costs associated and control expenses better and produce the right product.

What does a PDM system do to your business?

A Product Data Management system may assist the business corporations in establishing, managing, and executing automated workflow-driven procedures for change planning (what-if analysis), change implementation (execution), and change verification and communication that reflect the company's best practices.

PDM systems gather and manage product information, ensuring that the correct information is supplied to users at the right time throughout the product life cycle. The PDM system handles file ownership, version control (file check-in and check-out), revision management, and release status.

The Employees utilise the PDM system to cooperate on data-related initiatives. For example, Technical staff can supply information in the system on particular product features if the description is lacking and needs to be improved. Marketers may use this information to create product descriptions that appeal to buyers.

PDM connects people, processes, business systems, and data. It helps in managing every aspect of the business and facilitates interdepartmental cooperation. Additionally, it lays the groundwork for the strategic use of digital intellectual data as a competitive advantage.

As a result, PDM provides enormous benefits for all types of businesses, regardless of the size of the business. Product development must serve as a foundation for product growth. So, installing a PDM system in the business gives you enough time to take important decisions related to the product and focus on continuous business operations improvements.

Here's What Cloud-Based PDM Offers Your Business

Traditional PDM has been around long enough to be considered a mature product, but there is no such thing as a ready-to-use installation. Some drawbacks of traditional PDMs are-

  • Need front-end and back-end administration professionals.
  • Slow upgradation for new versions.
  • Difficult for remote or traveling employees to access data.
  • Requires huge investment for hardware and infrastructural installation.
  • Expensive for initial purchase and maintenance of named user licenses.

These drawbacks of traditional PDM are eliminated with cloud-based PDM. Whether your business is small, medium, or big, a cloud-based Product Data Management (PDM) system offers a lot more than traditional PDM.

Advantages of cloud-based PDMs to the businesses:

  1. Single interface for users and administrators, and easy project management.
  2. Less expensive than traditional PDM. No upfront license cost, only monthly premiums.
  3. It is accessible from any location.
  4. Data is always backed up and is constantly up to date.
  5. Can instantly expand or contract the user base. So, no money will be wasted on licenses that aren't used.
  6. New product development may use PDM right away without waiting for another standard PDM system to set up.
  7. A single-user license allows access to a variety of projects.
  8. Non-data developers have simple access to files and don't need to learn the software - It's enough to know how to use PDM.

Conclusion

The Product Data Management system is a centralised system for efficiently handling product data and production operations. The engineering team may save time and money by implementing PDM software in their operations. Product Data Management is a critical tool for any company for simplifying its design, engineering, and production activities across all departments and locations throughout the globe.

PDM has a long list of advantages, the most important of which is considerable cost and time savings throughout the design and engineering processes. PDM, when properly implemented, increases communication, saves time, minimises mistakes, shortens time to market, and makes the entire iterative design process more efficient.

To summarise, A PDM system is more than just a data store. It organises and maintains product data and allows many stakeholders to access, change, and use it. However, not all users have access to all files at all times. The administrator determines who has access to which files and at what step in the workflow.

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