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How a Strong PDM Workflow Can Accelerate Your Project

Key Takeaways

  • Learn the key elements involved in a successful PDM workflow. 

  • An engineer’s role in the PDM workflow. 

  • PDM workflow security and regulation features. 

PDM workflow

A strong PDM workflow can improve your team's productivity, collaboration, and organization.

Product data management (PDM) refers to tracking elements of manufactured products and their associated documentation and design data. There are many software platforms available to help design teams with PDM functions and requirements. These software features are a subset of the broader tasks required for product lifecycle management (PLM)–enabling all elements of a product’s design to be tracked, from design to retirement. 

As an organization’s products become more complex, so do its data management needs–in both size and complexity. We’ll be outlining just how to incorporate PDM into a design workflow to ensure the team's organizational success.

What Is Involved in a PDM Workflow?

Having a strong PDM workflow involves optimizing the ease of tracking for all required data: technical specifications, manufacturing and development specifications, and any components and materials involved in production.

The Engineer’s Role in a PDM Workflow

Engineers and designers play a critical role in generating new related data stored in a PDM. The PDM serves as a central knowledge repository, but it is part of the engineer’s role to interface with the PDM, uploading and modifying preexisting designs and technical parameters. Oftentimes, the central database will manage metadata such as file ownership, release status of components, and revision history.

PDM software typically uses a check-in and check-out system; any changes an engineer makes to a part will update the universal current version, with the previous versions being accessible through version control and archives. As an engineer completes specific aspects of the product’s design–whether it be simulation, layout, or other related activities–they update the changes in the PDM. An advanced PDM software ensures that any associated changes in materials or components are updated such that the bill of materials (BoM) is always up-to-date.

elements involved in a PDM platform

There’s a lot that goes into developing a product or device. A good PDM workflow is capable of handling it all.

What Makes a Strong PDM Workflow? 

Ultimately, a strong PDM workflow serves as a method of decreasing friction when communicating technical information with engineers, management, QA, sales teams, and manufacturers.

Using PDM software that is capable of storing all required data in a single platform is essential. In this way, all data is accessible in a single location, which allows for updated BoMs, better communication, improved productivity, easier collaboration, and better visual management.

Having an up-to-date BoM is critical for enabling automatic reports on products and costs to be sent to management. A successful PDM workflow requires having all the data required for production easily accessible. Furthermore, it should synchronize all sources of BoM data in addition to any other lifecycle phases and allow everyone to view any changes made to parts, components, and the BoM.

A PDM workflow should make the following information easily accessible:

  • Part numbers and descriptions
  • Suppliers and vendor
  • Associated vendor part numbers and descriptions
  • Quantity, cost, and price
  • Associated schematic and 2D CAD drawings
  • Physical layout of your elements 
  • Associated materials, components, and data-sheets 
  • Manufacturing specifications
  • Any other project-specific items and information

PDM Workflow Security and Regulations

The ideal PDM system can interface with multiple applications and a number of teams across an organization. However, it is essential for a PDM platform to keep data secure while enabling authorized personnel to easily configure and manage it. For this reason, security and administrative functionality should protect the intellectual property rights of an enterprise’s designs through a system of role management and associated access privileges.

In the case of an organization needing to meet specific regulations and requirements, the use of a PDM in the workflow can pose significant advantages. Having all a device’s related information accessible in a single platform allows for better visibility in auditing and ensures that any business regulatory requirements are met. Being able to produce individualized reports to send to regulatory bodies in a simple and concise manner is invaluable. 

Improve the PDM Workflow With Cutting-Edge PDM Software

As we’ve discussed, there’s a lot that goes into a PDM workflow. Having an advanced platform capable of all of these required elements is essential for your device’s developmental success. For this reason, using the complete set of PLM features in Allegro Pulse can improve your PDM workflow capabilities. The PLM features in Allegro Puls help teams move through the entire development process, push products to production, and access the data needed to distribute and maintain products while monitoring obsolescence and the supply chain. 

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