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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has almost 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the design … More »

Making a Case for Product and Project Data Management for SMBs

October 30th, 2013 by Jeff Rowe

For many years, all of the major CAD vendors have been stressing the importance of managing the design and manufacturing data created using their software. Surprisingly though, still relatively few design and manufacturing companies, especially SMBs, have a formal PDM system of any type in place beyond Windows Explorer or Excel. Some of the reasons we hear for PDM not being employed include the perceptions (and experiences) that PDM is time consuming and expensive to implement.

While most SMBs have made the transition from 2D to 3D, many are finally exploring how to manage the mountains of CAD and associated product development and project data. These companies are seeking solutions that are more capable and scalable than just files, folders, Excel spreadsheets, and Windows Explorer.

Because of the interest shown by our readers in PDM, we will evaluate several options for product and project management. We are also seeking qualified users (select SMBs) for a new online PDM solution for feedback on the capabilities and benefits of this new approach. Beyond data management, this new PDM solution also includes project management capabilities and manufacturing operations functionality, such as MRP and PO management. This new PDM system roll out is designed specifically for SMBs who are currently non-PDM users or those who may have had less than stellar experiences with other PDM systems in the past.

If you are interested in learning more and being considered for advance implementation of this new online PDM technology, contact me at or 719.221.1867. Only a limited number of participants will be accepted for services that include licenses and implementation at no cost.

Later this year we’ll be putting together an evaluation series for MCADCafe that will compare and contrast the following PDM solutions for SMBs:

  • Autodesk Vault Professional (with Inventor 2014)
  • Siemens Teamcenter Rapid Start (with Solid Edge ST6) (Participation Pending)
  • PTC Windchill PDM Essentials (with Creo Parametric)
  • SolidWorks ePDM (with SolidWorks 2013/2014)
  • Online Web-based PDM systems (still being determined)

We will be publishing the results of the evaluations as a series over the course of a few weeks, both individually, as well as a summary/wrap-up in the December 2013/January 2014 time frame.

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