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Concurrent Engineering Blog

Why You Should Consider Product Data Management

Posted by Adrian Lowe on 22-Jun-2018 09:30:00


Why would you need PDM (product data management) to help organise your data within your business? If you haven’t already considered this question, here are a few reasons why you should and how it could enhance your business and your employee’s experience and success.



PDM is a data management system that can manage the entirety of your businesses data held digitally, in one single data system, often described as ‘one central point of truth’.


The first place to start is to be able to acknowledge AND understand how PDM can benefit your business. Firstly, we will begin to achieve this understanding through outlining some of the typical challenges you often come across within business and how PDM can resolve these issues for you.

Typical challenges that PDM can resolve:

  • Difficult to find information
  • Duplication of data
  • Difficult to standardise product data
  • Multiple silos of information
  • Circumstances when it’s difficult to collaborate with other teams in the business
  • Un-secure data

PDM can resolve all of these issues businesses face  through the solution’s capability to store all data in one system. This makes finding information simple because you can search the one database and it is guaranteed to be there, regardless of colleagues edits or changes to documents. This helps to eliminate human error.

Next let's begin to understand the goal of the PDM solution: What does PDM deliver?

  • ‘One central point of truth’, manages your digital data in one single system that can be accessed, tracked and edited by all.

  • The fact that we can gain this level of control over our data means that we can record the history of our data as it changes over any period, through this we get improved traceability of the data, helping us to establish who did what, when and why? This helps to simplify audits.

  • Having all data stored in PDM improves its visibility around the business. It is one location - everyone has access, which is controlled, consistent and can be searched. This helps us to determine the root when error occurs or documents may otherwise be misplaced.
  • Promotes consistent working practices, employees within the business will avoid bad practice and shortcuts because they become aware that everything is tracked and mistakes will be flagged with no doubts.

  • All of this results in improved data confidence.

Now let’s explore a couple of the ways PDM resolves some of the specific challenges in business:

  1. Multiple silos of information:

The majority of businesses will have their data stored across several different locations around the business, with no consistency and no singular point of reference. With PDM, being one singular data storage system, this simplifies the process of finding data to one point of search, this ability to store all data in one central point saves time which in turn improves the functionality of the business as a whole.

  1. Lack of traceability:

Without PDM, there’s no traceability regarding changes being made to documents, who made the changes and when. PDM resolves this by tracking exactly who is making changes to each document and track when this happens. If you’re a business that is audited, setting up an audit is a costly expense, this eliminates the need for that.

The next steps once you have adopted PDM within your business:

  • Document your current process and through this analyse and identify the areas that could be improved and achieved through the implementation of PDM.
  • Try to establish some measures to identify the value of PDM to your business specifically; these measures could be based on your industries metrics or based on your own proven best practice.
  • Finally, plan out how you will go about your adoption of PDM, in four steps:
  1. Implementation- First applying the software and getting it set up among all staff
  2. Training- Making sure each member of staff is fully capable and has a comprehensive understanding of how it works
  3. Mentoring- They mentor you through the process and usability of the software
  4. Support- PDM provides continued support after the software has been implemented, aiding you through the use of the software in your business specifically

To conclude, there are a number of measurable potential outcomes to adopting PDM in your business. The main three being: improved ability to fulfil demand, a lower lifecycle cost and improved asset utilisation. These can all result in increased revenue, reduced time to market, a general reduction in time and cost AND increased ROI. Inevitably all of these should provide overall value to your business in terms of growth and profitability. 

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