How smaller manufacturing companies are taking control of their product data – Part 1: Getting control of product data

By SusanCinadr

I’m turning over the blog this week to my colleague Dave Chadwick (follow Dave on twitter @davidchadwick) who is launching a three-part series about taking control of product data. Dave works for Siemens PLM Software and is responsible for global product marketing for Teamcenter Express.

Part 1: Getting control of product data

Many small to mid-size manufacturing companies struggle with managing product data efficiently and effectively. Their designers can spend a significant proportion of their time just searching for the data they need, and in the manufacturing process errors often occur because the correct product data is not being used. A new whitepaper from Jim Brown of Tech-Clarity shows how companies that experienced these and other problems have implemented Product Data Management (PDM) software to quickly get control of their data.

As a result of his research Jim identified 3 key themes where the companies he interviewed have successfully applied PDM to achieve significant benefits:

  • Controlling and securing product data

  • Improving the ability to quickly find and reuse data

  • Sharing product knowledge with other departments

In this first of a 3 post series we will focus on the first and most fundamental of these three themes – getting control of product data. All of the companies that Jim interviewed saw improving control and security of product data as a key reason for implementing PDM. Here are a few quotes from these customers that describe the problems they faced and the benefits they are achieving:

Mr. Pinakin Mate, CEO of Veeraja Industries, a manufacturer of coolant filtration and management systems:

“Our primary objective was to sort out the data, to get it in line… earlier the engineers used to have free ground, but now the process is streamlined and locked down so they can’t just store data anywhere and name it anything.”

Mr. Arun Gupta, Head of Design Engineering at Flovel Engineering, a manufacturer of hydro power equipment:
“Without PDM we had no control over our information and different engineers had their own data…now with PDM we have access and security.”

They also reported a significant reduction in errors:
Mr. Gupta of Flovel
“We have fewer design errors introduced to manufacturing”

Mr. Mate of Veeraja
“Our errors came down drastically”

Another benefit of getting real control of data is the resulting improvement in security. I am sure you would agree that product designs represent critical intellectual property and any compromising of this data, whether this is simply being unable to locate the correct data or worse the data ending up in the hands of a competitor, could have a significant impact on your business.

Mr. Mate of Veereja

“We had a lot of human turnover … people came and went, which made data security a concern”
PDM systems like Teamcenter Express restrict access to authorized personnel and go further by making that access dependent on both the person’s role, and on the stage the product is at in its lifecycle. For example, manufacturing personnel can be restricted to only seeing designs that are released to manufacturing and not those that are currently under development.

Jim summarizes his findings “Manufacturers turn to PDM in order to take control of their product information and get more value from it … PDM helps these companies achieve business benefits including increased efficiency, improved quality, reduced cost, and the ability to bring products to market much faster.” Jim also did his own blog post titled Can PDM Value be Achieved Quickly? Painlessly?

In my next post I will discuss how widening access to product data (in a controlled way of course!) has the potential to significantly improve collaboration between departments, and with suppliers and customers, resulting in faster release of new products to market.

Read the full whitepaper or listen to a podcast summary for more information on how to achieve rapid and extendable benefits from PDM.

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