We had talked about it here but the cost of the licensing made us hold off so far. Ideally this would be great if the upfront cost wasn't so expensive.
Hi Mike, while not using EPDM in a customer sense, when I was working for a reseller I did implement into different departments that were not necessarily engineering/design.
You are right, EPDM can easily handle non-CAD documents. I have a customer whose HR department uses EPDM to handle workplace safety policies etc.
The cost of licensing is prohibitive, however because they are floating licenses, you could get away with buying less than a 1 license per user scenario.
We still use PDMWorks Workgroup. I don't know if we will move to EPDM. There is talk from Corp to possibly move to Enovia.
In comparing costs for a 50 seat PSL and MS Sharepoint, the cost is about the same for us. Sharepoint license is for a user and is not a shared seat like EPDM where I can have 100 users who can access 50 network seats.
Our goal from the beginning was to allow access to users outside Engineering, and I think we have been successful. Our system is used by maintenance, training and purchasing personnel. However, we are now facing a challenge for which we are struggling to find an acceptable solution. This is SolidWorks abandoning support for 32 bit operating systems. While we understand the necessity of our "producers" (i.e. Engineering) to use 64 bit OS, many of our "consumers" only search for and view files. We do not have the budget to upgrade them all to 64 bit. We are looking at Web 2 but it's not the best experience when compared to the Windows client. This is something you may face if you make the system available outside Engineering.
I haven't been able to sell PDM of any flavor to engineering let alone the rest of the site. We are kicking and screaming about moving to some kind of digital documentation system. The integrity of our Solidworks files and production PDFs rests on Windows network permissions, my discipline, and as a last ditch resort, incremental network backups. On top of that, our document control guy up and quit and now all of the old manual systems are starting to unravel because the tasks have been distributed to 3-4 different people all with little understanding of what is important to the previous/next person. I plan on trying to set up a sandbox Standard PDM vault to see if I can sell anybody on the features it has, with the hopes of moving to Enterprise and being able to use the vault to keep track of documentation that is outside of the scope of engineering.
We manage the engineering office documents (Specs, Procedures, Manuals) in EPDM, works great. One of our other groups signed up for EPDM, did the training, and then never really started using if for their Excel files. It would be much better than their current poorly controlled system. But EPDM is a bit intimidating to people who don't use it often.
I'll quote myself. ""Usability - good if you use EPDM regularly. For occasional users it is easy to forget stuff. They say it is like Windows Explorer, but there is really much more to learn - both about the interface, and the correct process to use (for CAD Editors and Contributors). "" [Re: What are experiences with different PDM Systems?] For Viewers it is really about learning how to use the search.
A definite commitment (from management) would get everyone past that though.
We use it extensively throughout our company.
We are ISO certified so everything with that is kept in the vault so it has traceability.
Some people rarely use it and others use it all day long. It varies depending on what they do and what they need.
For instance, we have a warehouse discrepancy process where if there is an issue with incoming, outgoing, or in process goods someone needs to be notified and the issue needs to be addressed. So I have a workflow, template, and a card set up so they guys in the warehouse just activate the template and a card pops up. They select from a few drop downs and type in the issue and it will automatically notify different people (groups) depending on what they selected. I have this set up so that there is delayed in state notifications. I also have a search template set up so that the vendor relations group can easily access any incoming issues and download them to excel. This whole process is totally paperless, too.
That is just the warehouse. I have workflows and templates for all sorts of things that people have asked for; corrective actions, maintaining specs, deviations, projects (that has many departments touching it).
So, yes, you can and should try to use it throughout the company.