No time to implement PDM? Survey indicates you should think again!

By SiemensPLM

Guest Blog Post by Dave Chadwick, Global Marketing Manager, data management components of the Velocity Series for Siemens PLM Software. See bottom of post for Dave’s bio.

On a recent trip to Wales, I visited a successful manufacturer of automotive assembly tooling who told me that they are running into issues with managing the large volumes of CAD data they are creating to support a growing number of new design projects. At the same time they said that they just could not find a time slot to implement a data management solution to address these issues. This manufacturer recognizes the value of PDM, but this situation demonstrates that we still have work to do to make data management software available that can be implemented easily with minimal disruption to a company’s ongoing design projects.

In my first blog post about our 2011 data management users survey, I presented an Infographic that summarizes the survey results and discusses the current landscape for data management solutions. This confirmed the wide scope that still exists for manufacturing organizations to implement solutions that address basic data management needs such as fast retrieval of needed data and getting control of document versions and revisions.

Identifying the top performers in product development

In this post, I want to focus on the characteristics of leaders in the area of product development. Of course asking survey respondents to rate their own performance is open to error, but we took the approach of asking respondents to rate their organization’s performance in the 4 key areas shown below, and then aggregated these ratings to identify the top 20% performers.

Self- assessment of performance in key product development capabilities

This self-assessment in itself showed up an interesting finding: performance in the areas of product quality and innovation is generally rated higher than performance in terms of speed and efficiency for product development. This shows scope for data management solutions that can help speed product development and facilitate better resource utilization.

So what are the top performers doing differently?

Perhaps not surprisingly, top performers in product development are 30% more likely to use specific data management solutions including PDM, PLM and Microsoft SharePoint, but a surprisingly high number (54%) are still using network or shared drives as part of their overall data management solution.

Data management systems in use by top performers (blue bar) compared with others

The survey also investigated to what extent data management solutions are being applied across 9 functional areas. The three most common areas are storing CAD files, controlling access to CAD files and managing document versions and revisions. You can see that there is significant opportunity even within the top performers to expand the scope to other areas such as managing ECOs and release to manufacturing, and integrating design data with ERP systems.

Application of data management systems by top performers compared with other

Positive impact of structured data management

The survey also confirms that top performers are benefiting significantly from their wider application of structured data management solutions. For example top performers are:

  • Nearly 3x more likely to be “very effective” at finding the data they need

  • More than 3x more likely to “very effective” at completing data management tasks efficiently

  • More than 3x more likely to be “very effective” at managing design projects

  • More than 2.5 times more likely to be “very effective” at providing the correct data to manufacturing

I think these findings are very significant and should encourage manufacturing companies who have delayed implementing a specific solution to look again at what is available today to address their data management issues.

What is Siemens PLM doing with all this data?

A specific theme this month at Solid Edge University will be this issue of data management. Jim Brown from Tech-Clarity will be presenting the findings of our recent survey and will give his perspective on best practices that are being followed by industry leaders. At this event, Siemens PLM will launch, Solid Edge Insight XT, a new design management solution for our Solid Edge customers that builds on our 10 years of customer success in Microsoft SharePoint based design management. We believe this new offering represents a huge step forward in providing an attractive, visual approach to managing complex design data.

Watch this video for a sneak peak preview of Solid Edge Insight XT.

In the final blog post of this series I will discuss how we are using this survey data to fine tune our software offerings and let you know more about Solid Edge Insight XT.

Dave Chadwick is responsible for global product marketing for the data management components of the Velocity Series for Siemens PLM Software. Dave has 20 years experience in data management and has led implementation projects across a wide variety of manufacturing organizations. You can follow Dave on Twitter: @davidchadwick


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