Product Data Management, aka PDM. Ask most people in manufacturing companies what PDM means and chances are you’ll get many different answers. Wikipedia gives PDM a standard description I think most people would agree too, but only in principle. In practice, PDM means different things to different people depending on their role and responsibilities. Engineers are mostly interested in CAD version control. Manufacturing people need PDM to provide them reliable BOM and parts lists. Moreover, who has access to data within PDM is one of those topics that causes no small measure of strong language amongst people on both sides of the “who has access” divide. Ultimately I think the real point behind PDM is about access to current data by anyone in a company that needs it to accomplish some task or job.
I was recently reading an interesting blog post by Chad Jackson, The Many Faces of Product Data Management. Chad starts the article with what I think is a great quote, “As I’ve said before and I’m sure I’ll say again, terminology in this industry can be a source of confusion.” I agree. Here’s a passage from Chad’s post I felt nailed my own sentiment:
Now of course, Product Data Management (PDM) isn’t just about managing stuff within the engineering organization It’s about the enterprise too. However, there are two progressive ways in which it can be used.
The first is all about access. A prevailing concept is that many other stakeholders in the enterprise would greatly benefit by having access to the information generated within engineering. If they could, they would make better decisions in their domains. Procurement agents could source functionally equivalent but cheaper parts. Service planners could start designing their procedures earlier. Marketing managers could start generating their collateral far earlier as well.
But that’s not the whole story. There is also the concept of Enterprise PDM. The basic idea here is that every organization in the company uses the same PDM system to manage all of their artifacts and deliverables, creating some type of interdependency or linkage between related documents. When one changes, the owner of dependent documents get a notification to update it. Of course, that leads to a discussion about how feasible Enterprise PDM truly is, but that’s a topic for another post.
Inforbix provides a way for people of any skill-level in a manufacturing company to access product data from disparate sources and locations within their company. Inforbix can track and monitor CAD docs without the need of a PDM system. It can even access data within legacy PDM systems and make that available to anyone in the company. Here’s a short video we produced some months ago that demonstrates a typical PDM like task without the use of PDM.
Conclusion. Inforbix is a new way of aggregating, accessing, and monitoring data. It deploys product data crawlers that scan on-premise data and process meta-data on the cloud to provide PDM like data access to anyone in a manufacturing company. Learn more about our cloud based product data apps and when ready, give Inforbix a test-drive.