In today’s fast-paced and competitive business environment, effective management of product design files and related data is crucial for companies to stay organized, secure, and efficient. Thus, adopting dedicated Product Data Management (PDM) solutions could improve your workflow. SOLIDWORKS, a leading provider of 3D software solutions, offers different data management solutions;
SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard, SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional, and SOLIDWORKS Manage. In this article, we will explore the features, benefits, and differences of these solutions to help you choose the right one for your company’s needs.
Understanding the Purpose of PDM
Before diving into the details, let’s first understand the purpose and benefits of implementing a PDM system. Product Data Management is the business function responsible for managing and sharing product design files, their metadata, supporting documents, and the overall release and change process flows. In Solidworks, PDM is used to manage and control design and engineering data throughout the product development process not only limited to CAD perspective but any files related to the project with ability to share throughout your company.
Importance of Project Data Management (PDM)
Let’s have a look why PDM is important in your project;
Control and Security
PDM systems provide a secure environment to control access, prevent unauthorized changes, and protect sensitive product-related data from loss or misuse.
Efficient File Retrieval
With a PDM system, companies can quickly locate and reuse existing files, reducing duplication of effort and promoting collaboration among team members.
PDM systems facilitate easy sharing of product knowledge and collaboration with other departments or external stakeholders, enabling seamless communication and streamlined workflows.
From the summary above, let’s dive into each of the solutions in more detail to help us understand better.
SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard: Streamlining File Management
Key features of SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard
SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard is an entry-level data management solution designed for smaller companies or single-site operations. It offers a user-friendly interface and essential features to streamline file management and ensure version control. Here are some key features of SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard:
PDM Standard provides a secure vault to store and manage design files, ensuring that they are protected from unauthorized access.
Basic File Management
With PDM Standard, you can easily check in and check out files, track revisions, and manage file relationships.
Basic Revision Control
PDM Standard allows you to control and track document revisions, ensuring that the latest versions are always accessible.
Multi-criteria Data Search
The solution offers a search functionality that allows users to find files based on various criteria, such as file name, metadata, or custom properties.
PDM Standard enables efficient design reuse by allowing users to easily find and access existing designs, eliminating the need to start from scratch.
Low Volume Usage
PDM Standard is designed for companies with lower file storage and usage requirements, making it a cost-effective option for small to mid-sized businesses.
While SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard provides essential file management capabilities, bigger companies with more complex workflows and advanced requirements may need features such as multiple server sharing and multi layered approval system to fully utilised the PDM capabilities. This is where the SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional gets its edge.
SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional: Advanced Data Management
SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional is a comprehensive data management solution that offers advanced features and capabilities to meet the needs of larger organizations and more complex workflows. It builds upon the functionalities of PDM Standard and includes additional tools for enhanced collaboration and automation. Here are the key features of SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional:
Advanced Revision Control
PDM Professional provides more robust revision control capabilities, allowing for multiple revision schemes and advanced control over workflow states.
Multiple Process Workflows
With PDM Professional, you can define and manage multiple process workflows tailored to different products, departments, or divisions within your organization.
Basic BOM Management
PDM Professional offers basic Bill of Materials (BOM) management, enabling you to create, edit, and manage BOMs associated with your design files.
PDM Professional allows you to automate repetitive tasks and approval, minimize administrative work such as batch printing or file conversion, saving time and reducing manual effort.
High Volume Usage
Designed for organizations with higher file storage and usage requirements, PDM Professional can efficiently handle larger datasets and provide seamless performance.
PDM Professional offers an Application Programming Interface (API) that allows for customization and integration with other business systems.
PDM Professional includes reporting capabilities that provide insights into file usage, revision history, and other relevant metrics.
Web Client Access
PDM Professional offers a web client interface, allowing users to access and collaborate on files remotely via a web browser.
PDM Professional is scalable and can support multi-site deployments, enabling organizations to expand their data management capabilities as they grow.
SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional is the preferred choice for managing CAD data and document throughout development process. However, if you need beyond CAD data management, SOLIDWORKS Manage is the answer.
SOLIDWORKS Manage: Taking Data Management to the Next Level
For organizations seeking an even higher level of control and insight into their product development lifecycle, you might need SOLIDWORKS Manage. This advanced data management solution extends the capabilities of PDM Professional with additional project, process, and item management features, along with interactive dashboards and reports. Here are the key features of SOLIDWORKS Manage:
Record & Item Management
SOLIDWORKS Manage provides comprehensive record and item management capabilities, allowing organizations to track and manage various aspects of their product development, such as project details, tasks, and milestones.
Advanced Process Management
Organizations can define and manage complex process workflows, ensuring efficient collaboration and adherence to established processes.
Advanced Project Management
SOLIDWORKS Manage offers advanced project management features, including task assignments, resource allocation, and tracking of project timelines.
Advanced BOM Management
With SOLIDWORKS Manage, you can leverage advanced BOM management capabilities, such as variant configurations, where you can create multiple versions of a BOM for different product options.
The solution provides advanced reporting capabilities, including customizable dashboards and graphical representations of data, enabling better decision-making and insights into project status.
Live Graphical Dashboards
SOLIDWORKS Manage offers real-time graphical dashboards that provide a visual representation of project and process data, allowing for quick identification of bottlenecks or potential issues.
Organizations can automate various tasks and processes, reducing manual effort and improving overall efficiency.
Web Client Access
SOLIDWORKS Manage offers a web client interface for remote access and collaboration, enabling team members to work together seamlessly, regardless of their location.
SOLIDWORKS Manage is designed to meet the needs of large organizations with complex product development processes, providing scalability and flexibility as the business grows.
Choosing the Right PDM Solution for Your Company
Now that we have explored the features and capabilities of SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard, PDM Professional, and SOLIDWORKS Manage, how do you choose the right solution for your company? Here are five steps to help you make an informed decision:
Define Your Data Management Needs
Assess your organization’s specific requirements, considering factors such as file volume, collaboration needs, workflow complexity, and scalability.
Research and Review
Conduct thorough research on each solution, comparing their features, capabilities, and compatibility with your existing systems and workflows.
Request a Demonstration
Reach out to a SOLIDWORKS representative or reseller to schedule a demonstration of the desired solution(s). This will help you gain a firsthand understanding of how each solution works and how it aligns with your requirements.
License Types and Implementation Steps
Understand the different license types available, such as user-based or floating licenses, and consider the implementation steps required to deploy the chosen solution within your organization.
Select the Best Match
Evaluate the information gathered during the previous steps and select the SOLIDWORKS PDM solution that best matches your company’s requirements, considering factors such as functionality, scalability, ease of use, and overall value.
In a Nutshell
Effective management of product design files and related data is essential for companies to thrive in today’s competitive landscape. Whether you are a small business looking for essential file management capabilities or a large enterprise requiring advanced project and process management features, SOLIDWORKS PDM solution help you streamline your data management processes, enhance collaboration, and drive your business success.