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What is PDM?

What is PDM? Product Data Management (PDM) is an information system that facilitates the management of product data. In essence, you can use a PDM system as a central repository for your enterprise's design, engineering and manufacturing data. 

The following is a more in-depth look at PDM systems and their benefits.

PDM Definition

Product Data Management, abbreviated PDM, is a part of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). PDM is a type of software for managing product and process data throughout the product lifecycle.

PDM functions as a centralized database for product data, including designs (such as CAD files), engineering data, manufacturing instructions, bills of materials, information on the processes used to create and modify product data, and other types of documents. 

However, a PDM system is more than just a data repository. It not only stores and organizes product data, it also allows different stakeholders to access, update and use this data. But not all users may view and edit all files at all times. The administrator determines who has access to which files – and at what stage in the workflow.

en_how-to-optimize-the-entire-value-chain-with-PIM_mockup-300p“How to optimize the entire value chain with PIM”

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Why use a PDM system?

PDM helps companies manage the product development process. Here are some of the main benefits of using a PDM system to capture and manage product data:

  • Improved collaboration. PDM software features such as fast data sharing, file version control and the ability to track revisions allow teams to collaborate better. The PDM software prevents overwriting files, so there's no risk of creating conflicting copies.
  • Streamlined engineering processes. PDM systems allow teams to create automated engineering change orders, bills of materials and more, while keeping all data synchronized.
  • More efficient product development cycle. When engineering teams don't have to waste their time searching for and managing data, they can spend more time on value-added work.
  • Reduced risk of error. All files containing product data are stored centrally in the PDM system. This reduces the chance of data loss, duplicate files and conflicting copies.
  • Easier creation of future products. A PDM system acts like a knowledge repository that you can leverage for future designs.

Why PDM is often confused with PIM

The acronyms PDM and PIM are often used interchangeably (PIM stands for Product Information Management system), but they're not the same thing. PDM and PIM are complementary systems. 

PDM software is a powerful tool for the design, engineering and manufacturing teams, but it is less useful for e.g. marketers and sales teams. This is because PDM system offers easy management of product data as it relates to product development – not marketing and sales. 

Marketers may need to use the technical data in a PDM system, but they rely on product information to create product descriptions, images, videos and other marketing material. A PDM contains only a fraction of the product information needed for customer-facing operations. 

To effectively manage product information for sales and marketing purposes, you need to use a Product Information Management (PIM) system. A PIM system makes it easy to store, organize, access and modify product information so that it's consistent across all distribution channels.

Why Use PDM Software?

A PDM system is an effective tool to maintain, organize and disseminate product development data across the enterprise in a safe and secure way. Using a PDM system helps ensure that all stakeholders share a common understanding about a product throughout its lifecycle. Ultimately, a PDM system helps you speed up product development, reduce development errors and costs, and use resources effectively.

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How to optimize the entire value chain with PIM

To find out more about how your marketing and sales teams can manage product information and data, download our whitepaper ‘How to optimize the entire value chain with PIM’

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