28 November 2011
This legendary product data management (PDM) solution has a new focus on satisfying the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) requirements of customers, writes Al Dean
|Company name||CSI Europe|
|Price||from £600.00 (first license free)|
If you’ve haven’t come across DesignDataManager (DDM), the PDM solution from Concurrent Systems Incorporated (CSI), you’ve been missing out.
I’ve been watching this product progress from a workgroup data management system for Pro/Engineer users into something altogether more interesting.
Today DDM manages all manner of product and engineering data, which can be used by all departments in the company. In terms of CAD systems, DDM currently supports the latest versions of Solid Edge, Inventor, SolidWorks, IronCAD, Creo Parametric (Pro/Engineer) as well as AutoCAD.
For many years it has supported organisations that use more than one CAD system. So what have the team been working on for the latest release if it’s not CAD data management?
The answer is that CSI has been focussing on the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) requirements of its customers in three areas in particular: supply chain data sharing, business process management and, central to both of these, the devolution of administration.
This is something that makes a great deal of sense if handled properly. Many PLM systems require an IT consultant to enable data sharing with those outside an organisation. But CSI’s DDM offers a different approach.
Why not make the tools available to those that have the knowledge and ability to make changes quickly and efficiently?
One of the key updates for this new release is the introduction of transmittals.
Essentially, this allows those with permission to quickly communicate with team members in a controlled and audit tracked manner, based on an email infrastructure. The command is fired up, team members selected, documents, parts, assemblies or drawings from a specific folder referenced and instructions or comments added and then sent.
Everything is tracked and traced by the system and interactions are recorded.
Supply chain management
When it comes to communicating with the supply chain many organisations are using technologies such as FTP folders to transfer larger datasets such as CAD geometry.
The problem is these are typically not auditable or traceable. DDM looks to solve this by allowing the creation of secure folders to which data can be added. Team members are then sent an email with a link to that folder. When they then log-in they only see the data you allow them to see.
Any interactions are traced and, of course, using DDM subscriptions supply chain users can be notified of any changes or updates. The traceability aspect means that it can clearly be seen when and if they’ve done anything with the data.
Access can also be switched off at any time.
Business process management
Business Process Management is central to any PLM system but problems arise when it requires a heavy client application.
CSI is looking to side-step this by providing centralised and fully auditable tools for workflow management (such as ECO sign off) that can be used on a smartphone. This app uses web-based approval processes that are lightweight and optimised for such devices.
Emails show that an action is required on a specific workflow, the data can then be inspected through a quick log-into the system using a very stripped back UI.
DDM is a comprehensive solution that does things differently. PLM, PDM, data management, call it what you will, is often perceived as a complex solution that requires constant maintenance, adaption and general tinkering.
DDM differs by putting the control of all the fundamental data in the hands of those at the forefront of the process. If data sharing needs to be set up with your partners, you don’t want to wait for an IT consultant to come and do it.
You want it done, the job closed and the data made secure again. The same is true of business processes.
By giving those that need it a lightweight way to interact with workflow, you’re more likely to get issues solved and change rationalised.
Whether dealing with complex data, multi-locations and multiple CAD systems, DDM is an impressive solution and one worth exploring further.