What’s wrong with PDM?

By Melville Bryant and Christina DePinto

At first glance, it might seem natural that most electronics companies would use product data management (PDM) systems, so they spend less time in data management. However, it turns out that quite the opposite is true. It’s the approach that companies take in addition to PDM that makes all the difference in the world.

The problem is that engineering and CAD model data are more in demand than ever before. This demand surge primarily comes from outside the engineering department. It comes from collaborators, supply chain partners, vendors and customers who are all part of the product development and manufacturing process. While they all have a legitimate need for data, their needs place a significant burden on engineers and designers to retrieve, update, package and share the information. The result is that designers spend less time designing and instead engage in nonproductive data management tasks. Such things include:

  • Preparing CAD models for consumption by other departments
  • Manually creating drawings and updating files
  • Translating models for downstream use
  • Prepping visuals or simply locating specific data for others

Sound familiar? The trouble is that all these unnecessary tasks interrupt the creative process. And this takes precious time away from the most vital task of all, innovation. So how do companies manage this issue? As you might guess, there is a large gap between the top-performing firms that are engaged in digital transformation and firms that are still relying on outdated methods.

How are you handling your data management capabilities?

It turns out that the top-performing companies handle it by enhancing design data management maturity, enabled by PDM, but with the addition of product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions.

These successful companies rely on a systems approach to eliminate the most common data and CAD design timewasters. Thereby, boosting engineering productivity. Greater efficiency in data management systems frees up time for creativity, collaboration and innovation. With PLM companies significantly reduce non-value-added time and free up engineering talent and resources for better results.

“It’s about time” for companies to transition from PDM to PLM

These data management issues are so pervasive, yet the solutions are so accessible, that we wanted to share our thinking in a compelling EBOOK that provides the data, the insights and the answers:

  • How to avoid the timewasters in CAD design and meet due design dates
  • Avoiding conflicting document versions, which is an issue for 41% of manufacturers
  • Why enhanced ECAD-MCAD collaboration is the key to increasing design productivity
  • How effective Product Data Management (PDM) and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions let engineers save time by securely sharing data with key collaborators
  • Optimizing your engineering and CAD design staff for greater productivity
  • Plus, many more valuable insights you don’t want to miss


Blog is co-written with Melville Bryant, Siemens Digital Industries Software

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at