New CAD System? Why PDM Makes Sense Now

Congratulations, you’ve decided to purchase a new CAD system. You look forward to creating new products in 3D, impressing clients with full renderings of your models, digitally prototyping and analyzing designs, and even adding animations to assembly instructions. It’s a good choice that will lead to immediate return on investment.

But have you thought about how you’re going to organize all that new data?

It’s funny that most people wouldn’t go out and buy an expensive collection of parts, fasteners, and paints, and then throw them all in a paper sack in the corner. Yet many shops, large and small, don’t do much more than that when they start creating virtual 3D parts and data without the help of a product data management (PDM) system.

Out-of-Control Data

Typically, new or small teams manage new designs in one of three ways:

  • Store it on a desktop computer (that is, File > Save).
  • Store it on a desktop computer, and then Share the file or directory.
  • Use a content management system.

But none of these approaches were built to manage product data. That becomes painfully apparent over time as design teams begin to

  • Spend too much time looking for data.
  • Duplicate efforts.
  • Lose intellectual property due to security failures.
  • Overwrite important work.
  • Forget why key changes were made, and by whom.
  • Fail to update all the files impacted by a single part change.
  • Lose the dependencies between models and drawings shared across products.

Kicking it down the road

Data management problems aren’t too chronic or overwhelming at first. They may not even seem overly expensive. So why shouldn’t a small company wait to implement a professional product data management system?

For the same reason there will never be a good time to dump out that growing sack of parts in the corner and organize it all. The company compounds its losses with every new model it creates or acquires. And it amplifies the problem anytime it adds a new team member who needs to use the design files.

The truth is, the sooner design teams start using a PDM system, the sooner they profit from it. The most benefit comes to those that start off with a disciplined and professional approach that will grow with the company. Plus, it saves the company from an expensive and time-consuming migration process later on.

But aren’t PDM systems for big organizations?

They used to be. Until recently, PDM required an enormous investment in hardware, consulting, and training to be able to manage the complex processes required by large companies. It wasn’t that smaller companies couldn’t benefit from the technology, but rather that they couldn’t afford it.

That’s changed. With the recent introduction of PTC Windchill PDM Essentials, the benefits of a big-company data management system are within reach of even the smallest businesses. Anyone can now enjoy the same levels of version control, accountability, and security as their largest competitors.

Now Is the Time to Start Thinking About PDM

If you’re just purchasing new CAD software, this is the best time to evaluate your PDM system too. Most companies see returns on their investment within just a couple months. And later, when you’re one of the big companies, you’ll be especially glad you looked out for your future now.

Chances are you’re in a growth period and very busy right now. That’s great news. But if you can spare a few minutes, download this free eBook and follow links to some of our demonstration videos to see how PTC Windchill PDM Essentials can help with your design processes today and in the future.

And watch Brian, our 3D engineer, as he explores the world of PDM.

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