SolidWorks: Product Data Management for Engineers

This is more a ranting review of SolidWorks’ own Product Data Management solution – Enterprise PDM.

As an engineer, and ultimately being charged with not only creating data but protecting, I usually find myself frustrated by the lack of courtesy people generally afford those who do so – me in this case.  I spend hours, sometimes days or weeks, working through projects.  Every little detail has a purpose for being there or not.  The very idea that all that work can be simply undone by some ogre mashing buttons on a keyboard frightens me terribly and is the root of my recent insomnia.

Enter PDM.

In a nutshell, here is what a product data management system does.  Think of it as a library where your data are books on a shelf, filed neatly and safely away.  I walk into the library, see the book on the shelf and decide that I want to take it home so that I too can learn to curtsy like Meg Smith.  But before I’m aloud to take that book home, I must first identify myself with some formal ID, sign that I am taking it, and will bring it back.  It’s just that simple, really.

This keeps people from stepping on others’ toes.  And all seems to go really well, most of the time.

I have used A LOT of software over the years.  I have even had a seperate computer to run beta software as a beta tester for several companies.  I’m not a software nerd, just an enthusiast.  I would consider myself above average when it comes to understanding the why’s behind a failing software.  I can usually sense when a software seems premature, or in this case, amateur.

I love SolidWorks.  As an engineer coming from the drafting board, and then on to AutoCAD; you can imagine the joy of finding out that there IS a better way.  And SolidWorks, it just works.  Very stable.  Well thought out.  Love the GUI.  Can’t say enough good.

Enterprise PDM, however, bad.  I can’t count the number of calls and emails to tech support for simple things like just checking data into or out of the vault (library).  This is the most basic of functions of the software.  Something that is at the backbone of why we bought it.  You would think that you’d atleast get THAT right.  Right?

Most people have no clue what this even is.  So I’m not going to spend too much time spelling it out.  I just needed to vent.  I’m so frustrated right now I could spit.  This software will make or break the fact of whether I have to work tomorrow or not.  It’s not working, currently, so I will assume that by the time tech support gets around to calling me back, I will have accomplished nothing today and will end up having to work tomorrow.  Thanks EPDM.  Thanks for pushing out subpar software and selling it at a premium.


About Lyn May

Designer, engineer, producer; I haven't really decided yet. Maybe I'll keep it that way - it's much easier to be undecided any way. I love graphic design, writing, photography, video production, animation, playing guitar, singing, engineering and pretty much any other medium that allows me to express my self artistically/logically.

Posted on September 8, 2011, in Business, Tech and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has had their productivity destroyed by rolling out EPDM from WPDM.

  2. Agreed using PDM is a bit tricky..

  3. It’s a great idea, and when implemented corrently, works almost 99% of the time. Problem is, most business owners won’t give more time past the week of initial setup to allow for tweaking. If you can’t get it up and running in that week, you may as well, just say fuck it. My business owner spent nearly $50k for the server to run it and the software itself. And a week of downtime with my team. And that killed him.

    I chock it up to poor marketing on SolidWorks/VAR’s. They should do a better job at informing companies what it MIGHT take to get this thing up and running. Just my opinion.

  4. the biggest issue of implementing a PDM system is getting a consensus of how things should be structured prior to implemetation. Because once your in, your in.

  5. Hello, I am very interested in your post. My company is in the process of switching CAD software and data management. I think we settled on Solidworks but we are still working on the data management. We would like to keep the CAD and data management under the same roof so we are very interested in EPDM. I notice that this post is several years old. Has it gotten any better? By your follow up post, it sounds like it works alright if you spend the time to set it up? If you could do it all over again what would you do?


  6. Yes! EPDM has gotten much better. At the time of writing, I was on Windows XP. Now we’re on Windows 7 and all is well. Come to find out, the issue with checking items into the vault stemmed from losing communication with the vault, albeit for a fraction of a moment. Win7 does a much better job at maintaining connections, as you might expect. So to answer your question, yes, I would do it all over again. Not only are the basics functioning as it should, they’ve been adding features left and right to make it even better. So yes, go ahead and have a ball! lol

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