By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
In "Managing Engineering Data: The Role of Product Data Management in Improving Engineering Efficiency," author Jim Brown, the president of Tech-Clarity, a research and consulting firm, sets out to demonstrate why PDM is a key component in manufacturing and engineering enterprises. For most of this 12-page white paper, Brown’s methodology is to make an assertion then step aside and let real-world users from a diverse set of engineering-driven companies prove the point. This makes for a powerful read, albeit with an occasional flirtation with pounding home the point.
But my guess is that pounding home the point is exactly what Brown intended. After all, PDM, workhorse that it is, has been relegated to the blog-a-lot’s backseat as they gush over the cool things you can do and visualize with 3D MCAD and other engineering software. Brown does not debase these tools. On the contrary, he lauds that the efficiency and collaborative power CAD brings to new product development.
Still, Brown hammers home the simple, neglected truth about PDM: "Product data management is the fundamental building block of any engineering software strategy and helps companies get the most out of their precious engineering resources." That is, if your product data – models, bills of materials, change orders, approvals, supporting documents, etc. – are not well controlled, secured in a single source of complete accuracy, and easily sharable with all stake holders, your enterprise rests on shaky foundations.
Brown investigates the case for PDM from various angles, such as how PDM supports enterprise business strategies, as a critical engine driving 3D CAD efficiency, and as an enabler for streamlined and automated product development processes. Brown eschews the preaching this sort of paper could easily fall prey to. Instead, he lets those real-world users relate the how and why PDM benefits their company.
Finally, Brown wraps with a set of testimonials about PDM that any marketing department would flip for; however, no PDM companies or systems appear in this paper. Let me also say here that this Check It Out is sponsored by Synergis Software, developer of the Adept engineering product document management software suite. I presume they had a hand in underwriting Brown’s work, but I do not know. If so, Synergis Software earns positive points for letting him write a straightforward, ad-less business technology paper.
In recent years, PDM as a hot topic has been overwhelmed by the ballyhooing for CAD, CAE, and additional engineering tools. That’s a pity. PDM is, as Brown says, the fundamental building block of an engineering software strategy. PDM does the yeoman’s work for engineering and manufacturing enterprises, and Brown has done yeoman’s work on behalf of PDM by forcefully bringing this crucial system back into the discussion.
Thanks, pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
Register to download the "Managing Engineering Data" white paper.