Strategy 8: Manage product design data efficiently
Using CAD tools to design innovative, error-free products
will get you only partway to your goal. An effective CAD leader realizes that
creating solid models is only the beginning. How well you manage, leverage, and
utilize product design data will determine the overall productivity of both
your development process and manufacturing enterprise.
In the past, product data management (PDM) was more product
document management. Engineering organizations managed documents—paper
drawings—within large cabinets using elaborate sign-off systems for approving
and releasing design revisions. In today’s 3D realm, the sheer number of links,
references, and associations between parts, assemblies, and configurations
precludes a manual approach to data management. Fortunately, you have access to
integrated PDM systems to manage data, control revisions, safeguard intellectual
property, and unleash the power of 3D to the extended enterprise.
PDM allows you to formalize and automate workflows inside
and outside of your department. Because modern PDM systems are easy to
administer, you can control the level of access to design-related information
that you grant to technical and non-technical personnel. Within product
engineering, you can set user rights for the players involved, including team
members, partners, vendors, and suppliers, so that contributors can access and
alter the only information related to their specific function. And they don’t
necessarily have to be on-site to access design data because some PDM systems
support web browser access.
You can also administer, manage, and control access by
colleagues outside of product development who can benefit from leveraging
design data but cannot edit or change it. With PDM, you can provide
nontechnical personnel such as managers, purchasing agents, marketing
professionals, and service technicians with access to product design
information—and control how they can use it. Moreover, they often don’t need a
CAD system for access.
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*This article is an excerpt from the "Ten Strategies for Becoming an Effective CAD Leader White Paper", published by DS SolidWorks Corp.