A PDM system is a central storage space where all item data is managed. Where this used to be something only the larger enterprises invested in, it is now gaining popularity in the small- and medium sized business segment. With many of these smaller businesses now looking to invest in PDM technology, they are often left with one key question: ‘How do we continue to make best use of our ERP system?’

What is PDM?
A PDM system is used to maintain all kinds of information related to the manufacturing of an item. This information includes the BOM (Bill of Materials) in addition to documents like drawings, work instructions, item specifications and other relevant data. In most cases, the PDM system is linked to the company’s CAD software, enabling the BOM to be automatically accessed and enriched with further information as necessary.

Why PDM?
When businesses are designing complex products, it’s common for the process to involve a large number of revisions before the template is finalized. A PDM can be a valuable tool in facilitating effective management and authorization of these multiple rounds of adjustments, ensuring they remain traceable for all stakeholders.

The PDM system can also be used in the quotation phases, engineers or administrative personnel easily creating price estimates from the centrally stored item data. With all item data together in one easily accessed bank, the business is able to improve the speed, efficiency and accuracy of information gathering and subsequent production flow.

Companies deciding to employ a PDM system are left with a choice. Having previously stored the BOM information in their ERP solution, they now have to decide which of the two systems will be in the lead. In reality, and despite the rest of the functionality stored within the ERP suite, the PDM tends to come out on top – newly designed BOMs appearing there first.

Communication breakdown
When the ERP and PDM systems are not dynamically linked together, all newly created or adapted information in the PDM has to be manually transferred into the other business software. This can certainly be a productivity killer. Locating the changes and most up to date information is time consuming in itself, as is making the effort to physically re-enter the data in another location. And with any process that relies purely on man power and concentration, the chances of mistakes are also considerably greater than with digital systems.



Bron: The Biz Box