19 Replies Latest reply on May 20, 2008 2:10 PM by Jonathan Bravard

    VAR visit

    Jonathan Bravard
      Our VAR is coming in to do a demo of PDMworks next week.
      What questions should we be asking him?
        • VAR visit
          Jeff Sweeney
          "Are you bringing donuts?" Other than that most important question, you've opened a pretty broad topic! Why do you need PDM and how can this software help you do your job better?
            • VAR visit
              Glenn Wilkins
              If your VAR is worth their cut of the licensing fees you pay, THEY should be asking YOU the questions. They are the experts (supposedly) and should be asking you how you do business now. Then they can say, "How would you like to be able to do this and that in additon to what you do now?" Afterwards, they can tailor PDM to suit your needs.

              However, I'd prefer bagels.
                • VAR visit
                  Jonathan Bravard
                  I doubt he will bring either, I just want him to buy lunch

                  I understand it is a rather big topic, but we have never used PDM, so we are starting from scratch. I was hoping somebody who had been thru this could offer a little insight into the process.

              • VAR visit
                Jeff Sweeney
                My question wasn't for you...it was for you to ask your VAR: "Why do I need PDM and how can this software help me do my job better?" Like Glenn said, if they have done their homework, they should know how you do business and know what value PDM would have for you. It all comes down to your return on investment.

                Once you get past the hurdle if you need PDM or not, then you can start comparing programs and the questions can get nitty-gritty.

                Without knowing your business, listing cool features for you to look for would be a difficult task. Though generally if you are a SolidWorks house, your designers are going to want good SolidWorks integration.
                  • VAR visit
                    Glenn Wilkins
                    Some things to keep in mind are:
                    How do you manage your engineering documentation now?
                    What is your revision scheme?
                    What is your "document of record"? (for us it is a PDF of the SW drawing.)
                    Do you have an approval process? Do you want it automated and documented?
                    Does your company have more than one location that need access to SolidWorks data?
                    How do you organize your projects? (by project or by part number)

                    These are just some of the questions to get you started.
                      • VAR visit
                        Jonathan Bravard
                        Let me it put it this way, after 20 years my company is finally moving to a PDM product, currently we have nothing in place. I have been here just 5 years and I have been trying to get them to do something, only now have I made my case.

                        Basically we are starting from zero, and need a solution to handle thousands of documents, Microsoft Office, Solidworks 2007, AutoCad 2002, MathCad, some ProE and Pads files thrown in for spice.

                        ECN's are done in meetings and end up envovling lots of copying and had delivery, we want to move to a complete paperless system, and need to find something robust and simple to use.

                        As to Jeff's reply we are a Solidworks house and I do a lot of the change/design functions in Solidworks, they give me napkins(seriously) I turn them 3D.

                        In answer to Glen's reply, we do all of that currently as explained above, we just do it badly and waste reams of paper.
                          • VAR visit
                            Glenn Wilkins
                            Wow! Sounds like you have your hands full!

                            You might be better served if you look at something like "Agile".

                            http://sme.agile.com/default.asp

                            You may also want to look at "Adept".

                            http://www.synergis-adept.com/solidworks.shtml

                            I've seen demos of these and they are quite impressive and would help you manage more than just SolidWorks data.

                              • VAR visit
                                Jonathan Bravard
                                Glen, I thought PDMworks could handle more than just Solidworks data, at least that's what they are claiming. Did I miss something?
                                  • VAR visit
                                    Glenn Wilkins
                                    Yes, it can. I believe you can load any file into PDMWorks. However, you can only "view" (from within the browser) certain file types. The help file says:
                                    "SolidWorks, Microsoft® Word, Excel, PowerPoint®, AutoDesk Inventor®, or AutoCAD® document" and I'm pretty sure it can view PDF's, too.

                                    Obviously, it handles SW data better and controls relationships between files. But with non SW data you have to manually create references if you want them.

                                    We have a seperate ERP system that manages ECN's and BOM's so I'm not sure how best PDMWorks could be used for those but I'm sure you could make it work. Perhaps someone else out there is using PDMWorks like this and could comment??

                                    You can do quite a bit with PDMWorks but it is not a full blown PDM. With some thought and creativity, you may be able to get PDMWorks to do everything you need. I mentioned those other applications because they've already done all the thinking for you and can offer a complete solution.

                                    I would recommend talking with your VAR and then set up a test installation of PDMWorks and play with it. Try different documents, workflows, lifecycles, revision schemes, etc. That's how we first got started.

                                      • VAR visit
                                        Jonathan Bravard

                                         

                                        would recommend talking with your VAR and then set up a test installation of PDMWorks and play with it. Try different documents, workflows, lifecycles, revision schemes, etc. That's how we first got started.

                                        We have been attempting to get a eval copy of PDmWorks, but so far it is slow sledding, not sure if or when we will get one. As I said before, we do have a demo coming up, but I am not sure if that will be as helpful.
                            • VAR visit
                              Jeff Sweeney
                              Glen is it possible you are confusing PDMWorks Enterprise with PDMWorks Workgroup? While Enterprise is not an ERP, why would you say it is not a full blown PDM? -Granted the definitions of both of those terms is rather fuzzy.

                              PDMWorks can handle any file type, though I would not include files that allow more than one person write access at a time (i.e. MS Access...and there are a few others that aren't very Windows compliant.). PDMWorks Enterprise can view several hundred file types out of the box...and the viewer is simply an ActiveX application, so with an ActiveX viewer, you could (sometimes with programming, sometimes with nothing more than in install) be able to view any file type you want to.
                                • VAR visit
                                  Glenn Wilkins
                                  Sorry, when I say PDMWorks I think of Workgroups which is not a full blown PDM. I believe that Jonathan is looking at Workgroups and not Enterprise but I could be wrong. I don't have any experience with Enterprise so I can't comment.



                                    • VAR visit
                                      Jonathan Bravard

                                      Glenn Wilkins wrote:

                                       

                                      Sorry, when I say PDMWorks I think of Workgroups which is not a full blown PDM. I believe that Jonathan is looking at Workgroups and not Enterprise but I could be wrong. I don't have any experience with Enterprise so I can't comment.

                                      It is Enterprise that we are considering not workgroups, sorry for the confusion.
                                        • VAR visit
                                          Todd Puckett
                                          Jonathan,
                                          We are very happy with PDMWE and our VAR does an adequate job...But here are some things we didn't ask.

                                          How do you charge for support?
                                          Do we get a invoice for these charges on a regular basis?
                                          If the time we were charged for was later determined to be a bug in the software will we be credited?
                                          Will you be available after hours when we do upgrades?

                                          You will like PDMWE, easy setup, quick learning curve for users, and little maintance.
                                          • VAR visit
                                            Stacey Wilcox
                                            Jonathan/All,

                                            I was curious about your research into PDMWE as this was about a month ago. We are looking at PDMWE and Adept as solutions for our company. I am trying to find pros/cons for each system and compare them against our needs. We already have an ERP system that we will export data to. We currently have about 140,000 documents that need to be managed in the system between active projects and archives. One group is a SW group, the other ProE. We sit in multiple locations. Each group has different processes for workflow. Anyone have any pros/cons/redflags to for me.

                                            Stacey Wilcox
                                            Project Engineer
                                              • VAR visit
                                                Devon Sowell
                                                Hi Stacey-

                                                RE:"We already have an ERP system that we will export data to." PDMWorks Enterprise can export data to ERP systems.

                                                "We currently have about 140,000 documents that need to be managed in the system between active projects and archives." PDMWE includes Windows 2005 SQL Server STD Edition.

                                                "One group is a SW group, the other ProE." Starting with SP4, PDMWE will keep track of the references in ProE files.

                                                "We sit in multiple locations." PDMWE offers Replication to multiple sites. Replication and Backups come standard out of the box in PDMWE.

                                                "Each group has different processes for workflow." PDMWE offers multiple WorkFlows.

                                                Since PDMWE is a SolidWorks product, support and training come from one source.
                                                  • VAR visit
                                                    Stacey Wilcox
                                                    Devon,

                                                    Thanks for the information.

                                                    "One group is a SW group, the other ProE." Starting with SP4, PDMWE will keep track of the references in ProE files.

                                                    When you say it will track references do you mean it will maintain parent/child relationships and meta data?

                                                    Do you know when the SP4 will be hitting the market? And do you have any cost information?
                                                      • VAR visit
                                                        Devon Sowell
                                                        Hi Stacey-

                                                        I'm sorry for the delay, I've been very busy and out of town.

                                                        "When you say it will track references do you mean it will maintain parent/child relationships and meta data?" Yes

                                                        "Do you know when the SP4 will be hitting the market? And do you have any cost information?" Very soon, within the next few weeks is my best guess.

                                                        Cost estimates come from the VAR (value added reseller), contact the local VARs in your area. They should be happy to give you exact price information. Ask for implementation and training prices too. Discuss different implementation and training senarios that meet your company's specific needs.
                                                          • VAR visit
                                                            Jonathan Bravard
                                                            Stacy,

                                                            Sorry for the delay, but it's been a mad house at times here.

                                                            But to answer your question, we are still working on it, I believe we are getting a demo in for at least 30 days maybe longer. Later this week we are doing a teleconfrence with DbWorks. We haven't looked at Adept yet. But considering the cost (at least 50K) we are taking our time. So far our VAR in conjunction with Solidworks has been anwering questions. But until we have our hands on it, we won't know how it will perform in our environment.

                                                            Jon