Product Data Management (PDM) Software Systems

Product Data Management Software and Its Role in Product Development

Companies use product data management software, also referred to as PDM software, to manage product information and process-related data as it pertains to the manufacturing of a particular product. The main purpose of a product data management system (or PDM system) is threefold: to ensure data integrity, to streamline process workflows, and to facilitate configuration management. In the life sciences and general manufacturing industries, product data management software has become an essential part of product lifecycle management (PLM).

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How Product Data Management Software Ensures Data Integrity

Implementing an effective PDM system is critical because the creation of any new product yields an enormous amount information which must documented, edited, reviewed, and approved. This information might include: parts information, manufacturing instructions, computer-aided design (CAD) drawings, cost comparisons, construction details, and other product notes and documentation. Automating this documentation process with electronic product data management software allows manufacturers to more proactively capture and manage critical product information, and ensure that users receive this critical data throughout the product lifecycle. Why is this important? It’s important because the quality and accuracy of a manufacturer’s documentation plays a pivotal role in how quickly it is able to satisfy regulatory requirements and deliver its products to market.

PDM software can ensure that the document authors remain in-sync with product changes; this not only yields better quality documents, but also increases the likelihood that product development remains on-schedule, on-budget, and in compliance. In other words, a best-of-breed product data management software solution can drive a regulated manufacturers quality, productivity, and compliance goals.

How Product Data Management Software Streamlines Process Workflow

Product data management software can help global manufactures streamline their PDM systems and increase production volume significantly. Let’s face it, gone are the days when taking the company global was a novel idea for manufacturers; today it’s a business necessity. Consumers have become accustomed to searching the world for the best products and services. If a manufacture hopes to flourish, it must adapt a global perspective. Unfortunately, this can be an expensive and arduous task, particularly for companies that must understand and comply with regulatory requirements from different countries while simultaneously juggling PDM duties with colleagues and collaborators on the other side of the world. A manual product data management system would make this task almost impossible. However, an electronic product data management software system can help an international manufacturer transcend the administration and process boundaries often imposed by globalization.

When you stop to consider the time and human resources required for manual document and change management control, the costs are staggering. Making copies, sending faxes, transporting changes from one person, department, or office to the next, mailing documents and packages overseas, etc., can require a department all its own. Automating these processes with the help of PDM software can help manufactures with stretched resources improve and more easily manage essential PDM system functions such as document identification revision control, supplier source records, part attribute records, bill of materials (BOM), and engineering change control with workflow.

How Product Data Management Software Facilitates Configuration Management

Product data management software helps facilitate configuration management (CM) and customer satisfaction. Configuration management is a key driver of quality assurance throughout the product lifecycle; therefore, it is an important component of any product data management system. Configuration management is a complex, end-to-end process comprised of five key areas: planning (deciding what to design/build), identification (what is actually being designed/built), control (how baseline changes are being controlled), status accounting (part numbers, serial numbers, and methods for documenting items), and audits (verification methods used to ensure compliance). Product data management software provides the traceability (from product design to product creation) necessary to satisfy the ISO 10007 standard on the use of configuration management in industry.

PDM software ensures that the CM process is not by-passed, which can lead to product errors (i.e., not what the customer ordered), variances or deviations, and customer dissatisfaction. Here are some of the many problems that can arise within a PDM system that lacks proper methods for configuration management:

  • Parts with duplicate serial numbers
  • Misidentified part numbers and/or duplicate part numbers
  • Parts that are not built to specification
  • Quality-related problems, including increased scrap and rework
  • Change control problems, such as changes made without design approval (or not made at all)
  • Fulfillment delays
  • Overblown budgets

As stated previously, configuration management is directly related to quality, and like quality, it must be built into the design and manufacturing processes, as well as the product itself. This is easily achieved with a robust product data management software solution.

MasterControl’s Product Data Management Software Helps Companies Manage Every Phases of a PDM System

Implementing a successful PDM system requires powerful product data management software tools that can be accessed across departments, satellite offices, and suppliers. In addition, these tools must be flexible enough to connect with the most commonly used CAD PDM solutions currently in the market such as PDMWorks™ from SolidWorks and PTC’s Pro/IntraLink™ and Windchill™. MasterControl’s robust PDM software connector tools have been designed to support all of these systems to provide the highest level of document control and compliance.

What’s more, MasterControl’s product data management software is user friendly; it enables users, even those who know little about the CAD package, to redline and collaborate on engineering drawings via Adobe Reader®. When changes are introduced, the modifications can be made by collaboration leaders using the native CAD application. After the modifications are made, MasterControl automatically publishes a new PDF file with the new changes implemented, then routes the changes for approval. This level of collaboration insures that data is kept consistent between systems. In addition, robust security features, such as electronic signature capabilities, dual passwords, and time-stamped audit trails, help regulated companies overcome the biggest PDM system challenges and maintain compliance.

For More Information on PDM Software Systems

To learn more about the capabilities and benefits of MasterControl product data management software, please feel free to contact a MasterControl representative.