Does anybody use Solidworks enterprise PDM?

I’m currently working for a company that has been using solidworks for 10 years or so, but has never had a structured filing system. We are trying to change this and are looking at getting Solidworks Enterprise PDM. We have had the sales guys in from the reseller and I’m not 100% convinced that it will help us in finding old files in the messy heap in which they currently reside. The drawing control/approval route also struck fear into me as it was reminiscent of the restrictive and time consuming online document control software that I had to use when working in construction. Our work is split into two main areas - NPD and specials (variations of existing products to match customer requirements).
Does anybody have experience of using PDM to ‘clean up’ an old filing system? Will PDM actually help us (6 seats) with the management of new files or would a structured filing system do the job just as well for free?
Thanks for any guidance that you can provide.

Here’s the thing, having SOME type of data management is better than any manual system that an IT team comes up with. That said, trying to fit EPDM over 10 years worth of data is going to take time. Think of it like some of the new features in SW that weren’t their 10 years ago.

Enterprise can be AS granular and as focused as the company needs it to be but it’s not just going to be like a light switch that once it turns on all of your old files will just magically fall into place. If the tech team behind the implementation is really good then they will help implement the data into the vault/revision scheme that’s needed. Again keep in mind that since the system was not in place when you first created the files then there is going to some mapping that needs to be done. Once the files are in EPDM then yes searching for files will be easy.

My suggestion is to put the sales guy to the test, give them a sample data set and ask them to set up the files, systems…etc the way you’d like it to be fully implemented. If they are willing to do this then they may also ask for a commitment from your side as well. Meaning that it will take the EPDM tech team sometime and time is monay, so they might ask you to commit that if they show that EPDM can do what you ask 100% that you will buy it…

I agree with cadjunkie. Your files won’t fall magically fall into place. You’ll need to get them sorted and then, once they’ere in you vault things should go smoothly.

If you only need to organize your CAD data, you should look into SolidWorks Workgroup PDM. It is included in your package if you have SolidWorks premium or professional. It might be way cheaper.

Thank you for the feedback. We have decided that we do require something in place. We are getting a demonstration of another file management system by another software developer (the same one that provides our stock control software). It will now be a case of choosing between the bespoke Solidworks software and the other software that claims to be 100% compatible with Solidworks files, and excepting that there will be a decent amount of work created for us to sort our old files. Putting the sales guy to the test would be brilliant but my experience of our Solidworks reseller doesn’t suggest that it would ever happen.

We’re actually looking to buy a few EPDM licenses. The reason we’re looking into it is that we need to manage QA documentation, instructions and all kind of stuff on top of our CAD files. I’ve been using SolidWorks workgroup PDM for years, witch is free with your SolidWorks License, (Might be worth just upgrading your licenses if you have SolidWorks Standards) and would stick with it if we didn’t need to manage the other types of files.

Beware of the “100% compatible” claim. Our QA manager already had gone down this road, working with a CAD package and, for financial reasons, getting another PDM solution witch they claim to be 100% compatible and regretted it. You’ll be compatible all right, but might not be able to use the advance capabilities and features of the software and this is where all the fun stuff is!

A few things that are important to consider for any file management system especially if what you are considering is at this large a scale. Consider this: The file management system should be able to control not just Solidworks files, but any file type. At this level you’ll want a system that can manage different files, permissions, access and when different groups and users have access to files.

Another really HUGE consideration is that the whole reason for having a data management system is revision control. The ability to always go back is key. Consider that the current revision scheme is A-01 for Solidworks files in one life cycle status but you’d like that to change in the another LCS to AA-001. Also consider that you’d like to have your PDF’s, JPEG, Drawings…etc to all have different paths for their revision.

Consider remote access to the vault for “traveling salesman” or others on the go, possibly even vendors based on certain LCS. If there are remote locations i.e. france, china, and New York, vault replication is a major component to have when it comes down to having the data in each location in sync.

If your VAR’s is not up to par that’s not a reason not to get the best system for what your company needs. It just as soon wouldn’t make sense to get a software that doesn’t meet 100% of your needs. You can always either go to another VAR in your area or go to SW HQ direct.

Thanks for the feeback. After a less than impressive presentation from the alternative software company we have decided to go for the Solidworks package. Now it’s just a case of getting the MD to sign off the money for it.