3 Replies Latest reply on Sep 10, 2009 10:12 AM by Jon Brunke

    Looking at EPDM, Need feedback

    Seth Renigar

      I work in a fairly large company that has locations worldwide.  Currently, there are 3 locations (mine included) that use InnoCielo Meridian Enterprise from BlueCielo (aka Meridian).  And all other locations (I think around 8-9 in all) kinda do their own thing with their own systems.  Almost all of these other locations were acquired companies that already had their systems in place.  We are looking to commonize all major systems in all locations, including CAD, PDM, ECM, etc.

       

      Currently, management is thinking of switching all other location over to Meridian for the PDM.  But, we have had SO many problems with this package, that a lot of people are trying to convince them to look at other packages before making this huge investment.  I couldn't begin to explain how bad the problems we've had with Meridian.  Anyway, my vote is EPDM based on a demo that I saw from a SW employee at a local user group meeting.  Most others (including middle management) are also convinced that switching is the right thing to do.  But now we need to build a case so-to-speak, to present to upper management why we should look elsewhere.  Whether that be EPDM or not.

       

      So, I'd like to hear some feedback/opinions from people running EPDM, that is in a similar scenario as ours.  And that is:

      • Multiple locations worldwide.
      • Fairly complex workflows, with multi-department approvals, etc.
      • Vault contains mostly SolidWorks data (but many others as well)
      • Visibility only to specified departments, depending on type of data (only engineering has write access to CAD, manufacturing has read-only access to CAD, only HR has visibility to personnel, etc.)
      • Remote visibility to vault (i.e. salespersons on the road)
      • Vendor access to specified documents.
      • Vaults synchronized corporate wide.

       

      I'm asking anyone with a similar setup using EPMD, to give me any feedback, good or bad.

       

      Ideally, I'd really, really like to here feedback from anyone that has used Meridian in the past, and is now using EPDM, even at the user level.  For that matter, I'd also like to hear opinions of people that have even used other packages that is now using EPDM.

       

      Thank you in advance for any feedback you can help me out with.

       

      Seth

        • Re: Looking at EPDM, Need feedback
          Jon Brunke

          Seth,

           

          I'm not familiar with Meridian but in many other respects I have the same profile and requirements you face.

          So, I'd like to hear some feedback/opinions from people running EPDM, that is in a similar scenario as ours.  And that is:

          • Multiple locations worldwide.
          • Fairly complex workflows, with multi-department approvals, etc.
          • Vault contains mostly SolidWorks data (but many others as well)
          • Visibility only to specified departments, depending on type of data (only engineering has write access to CAD, manufacturing has read-only access to CAD, only HR has visibility to personnel, etc.)
          • Remote visibility to vault (i.e. salespersons on the road)
          • Vendor access to specified documents.
          • Vaults synchronized corporate wide.

           

          Currently, there are 3 locations (mine included) that use InnoCielo Meridian Enterprise from BlueCielo (aka Meridian).  And all other locations (I think around 8-9 in all) kinda do their own thing with their own systems.  Almost all of these other locations were acquired companies that already had their systems in place.  We are looking to commonize all major systems in all locations, including CAD, PDM, ECM, etc.

           

          I don't have to tell you this is a large undertaking but we've doing most of what you asked about. The exception would be "Vendor access to specified documents. We just haven't gone there yet.

           

          We don't have a corporate "ERP" system. What got my attention in your post is that like you many of our group companies were "acquired" with a "systems in place".  As a result the most interesting areas to address have been:

           

          1. Different group compnay part numbers for the same (reused) parts and assemblies.

          2. Material specification differences between global suppliers

          3. Access control scenarios between group companies

           

          We are handling each of these but initially didn't realize the scope of the effort.

           

          Our VAR did a great job customizing EPDM to help us handle the first and third issues and I would have to suggest you find a VAR with EPDM expierience.

           

          Until recently our suppliers have been domestic, didn't realize the issues that would arise from the simple decision to apply our domestic materials to our models. Not a disaster but interesting.

           

          Access control gets interesting when you start thinking about things like which global engineering group should have control of the models. What will you do when management decides design control of a product is to be transferred to another group company or how to facilitate joint design control.

           

          I realize I'm not giving you much here. If you would like a talk I'm open to it. No I'm not selling anything. We seem to be very similar and I've been looking to compare notes with people in the same boat. Dare I say that almost rhymes?

           

          Jon B

            • Re: Looking at EPDM, Need feedback
              Tom Cote

              Seth,

               

              Your story sounds very much like my story where I am.  So far we are live in three locations, five more to go.  Overall it is working well for us, although I did the three easiest sites first.  I do have the vault setup and running in six site since I travel to them and wanted to test out the replication & the reliability of it.  Your story sounds eerily familiar to Veeco, we also grew by acquisition although all our engineering locations are in the states.  This makes data all over the place and more of a challenge to bring together, we have some facilities on Workgroups, SmarTeam and some not using any vault system at all.

               

              My workflows are fairly complex and they are different for each site.  Yea, we do not have one common ECO and/or workflow for each division every site is allowed their own.

               

              My workflow does go to different departments for approval.  I am using the outlook e-mail system for notifications.  This works well.

               

              We have gone to the approach of letting vendors have any access yet.

               

              My biggest obstacle has been that Veeco did not make a "corporate" decision to go to one vault system.  They acknowledged that it is a good thing to do but that each site will have to purchase and figure out how to migrate their own data, but oh yea, work through Tom because he owns the EPDM.  This approach has made implementation MUCH more difficult than it should be.  So my suggestion is to select one CAD Leader/Manager from each facility and communicate ideas and concepts before moving forward and make sure that corporate is supporting it.

               

              I too have been looking for someone to share notes with.

               

              Regards,

               

              Tom C.
                • Re: Looking at EPDM, Need feedback
                  Jon Brunke
                  Tom,

                  Gee and I thought I was in this boat all by myself. There is one difference between you and I. I can tell from your picture my beard is much grayer than yours and you have more hair left than I.

                  We have three engineering sites running (one database and three archive servers) with three or four to go. We did purchase enough licenses to cover all end users globally. None have a pre-existing data management solution for the CAD data so everybody is chomping at the bit to get on the system. Brief synopsis of some of the things we cover follows.

                  Each group company has a separate scheme for:

                  Part numbers
                  Revision coding
                  ECO numbers
                  Work flows
                  Assembly, part and drawing templates

                  We have an access control scheme in place that allows:

                  Design control by one group, read access for the others
                  Design control by more than one group, read access for the others
                  Temporary design control transfers between groups
                  Permanent design control transfers between groups
                  Any group can reference any other group’s models and produce their on unique drawings (populated with their unique meta-data)

                  We run full replication between all three sites with the farthest being in Australia which theoretically was our worst case but everything runs very well.  The only replication issue I have right now relates to a brief experiment with "cold storage". For a period of time I set some cold storage rules. I turned that off after determining it didn't serve my purpose.  As a result my event logs are slam full of can't replicate notifications due to the item versions that fell under the cold storage rules. As a result if I have other events of interest I never get to see them.

                  I am currently working on a solution for alternate material sources to support differences between global supply sources. This one I didn't see coming and is causing a bit of rework.

                  The one other issue (I know of) has to do with a subset of our engineering users. We have engineers working for the group companies, one day in office, four days from home offices. From home I can't get these guys logged on.

                  This is not a problem for state side users with vault views and direct VPN access to the database and archive server. In Australia however the users only have VPN access to the Australian LAN (and archive server).  I believe we can add some hardware for the home offices to get them running from home.  What I haven’t tried to deal with is when any engineer (that far away) works from some other temporary off site location.

                  What it boils down to right now is the US based users are completely mobile in terms of access to the servers. The off shore users are restricted to running from the LAN where their Archive server is located.

                  Anyway good to hear from you. As with Seth I'm open to a dialog, perhaps if you’re going to World this year.

                  Regards,