9 Replies Latest reply on Mar 22, 2013 10:35 AM by Brian Dalton

    EPDM pros and cons

    Jeff Hamilton

      We currently have PDMWorks and are looking at Enterprise PDM to handle our release approvals process and potentially  the whole lifecycle. What are the pros and cons from you existing users? Anything else we should be looking at.

        • Re: EPDM pros and cons
          Tim Webb

          Hi Jeff,


          Here are some of the items I've configured EPDM to manage:

          • Engineering release process
          • Engineering change control
          • Redline management
          • Document control & release
          • Vendor integration through the web client
          • Supply chain integration (Computed BOM routing, computed BOM export to ERP/PLM)
          • Production shop traveler routing with full status through data mining in SQL Reporting
          • Dashboard with measures for the leads (drawing due dates, work orders, shop travelers)



          • EPDM is fully customizable and scalable. Every EPDM implementation is custom because every organization handles their data differently so you can control your destiny!
          • The data card is probably the single most powerful vehicle for dynamic metadata within EPDM. Version-free variables (2013) are a VERY powerful addition.
          • Vault replication will allow mult-site collaboration (even globabally)
          • This forum is a tremendous knowledgebase and aid to those new EPDM and to seasoned EPDM admins
          • Low learning curve and since it is built directly into Windows Explorer interface
          • Data mining can bring your EPDM to life
          • MobilePDM is a great product for the iPad to navigate your vault on the go http://www.mobilepdm.com



          • EPDM is fully customizable and scalable. Every EPDM implementation is custom because every organization handles their data differently so you can control your destiny!
          • It is not easy to configure EPDM for files to "expire" which can be useful for external vendors in the system
          • Users are not able to "self" subscribe to Notifications like an RSS feed. I've heard this numerous times.
          • Not easy to get meaningful reports from EPDM without post-processing saved searches. Crystal reports would help here.
          • The industry as a whole seems to be "stuck" in the mindset that E in EPDM stands for Engineering when it actually stands for Enterprise. Grow your EPDM into what it was designed for, Enterprise integration.


          EPDM is a data management system that your team can grow into rather than out of which is probably what your team is experiencing with Workgroup PDM.


          EPDM can help your teams track the process and measure the process but unfortunately EPDM is not the process. Your team will need grow their mindset.


          This list is not an all-inclusive list and other forum members probably have their feedback as well but this shows the items that are near and dear to me.


          Hope this helps,

          Tim Webb, CEPA



          • Re: EPDM pros and cons
            Stephen Reed

            We just made the transition from PDMW to EPDM about a month ago. I would agree with most of what Tim says about EPDM except the learning curve. Our experience is that there is a steep learning curve for the editor license level users.  Windows integration makes some functions easy but there's a lot more to EPDM than Windows.


            Here's some things you should consider:

            Do you really need the additional functions that EPDM provides (see Tim's Pros)

            Cost, EPDM is not cheap and you will need to buy help for setup, migration and training from your VAR

            If you get EPDM, get as much user (not the same as admin) training as you can

            In spite of what some may say, about everything you do in EPDM is more difficult than Workgroup PDM (our experience at least)


            These are my opinions based on our experience in transition from WorkGroup PDM to Enterprise PDM


            Steve R.

              • Re: EPDM pros and cons
                Jeff Hamilton

                We currently have PDMWorkgroup and it can't handle a workflow, just drawing storage and revision control. Our current workflow is a hybrid between some electronic documents and a true manual (walk around) approval system. Our new owners have decreed that we will have an electronic workflow this year. That's what its all about.

                • Re: EPDM pros and cons
                  Brian Dalton

                  I would add that it's important to include in the budget the cost of customization.  Out of the box EPDM has all the power and features you'll need, but the interface is very generic (by design and need) so it's hard to imagine any company being truly satisfied with using it without some custom programming.


                  We have also found that training of users is neither trivial nor disposable.  I've held several seminars, complete with slides and take away handouts and I still get lots of 'how do I do this' or 'why does it act this way' questions, often repeats from the same individuals.  It's just too much stuff to understand to expect people to remember all of the intricacies that are (now, after 2 years) second nature to me.


                  Plan to pay someone to custom program for your needs or plan to learn how to do it yourself (see VAR for EPDM API training).  My own strategy is to create sub-environments for our company-specific operations which include built-in explanatory and instructional popups.  Wizard-like, if possible, to guide users through their tasks without requiring them to memorize the details of all the required actions.

                    • Re: EPDM pros and cons
                      Tim Webb


                      That is very valuable. Thanks for the addendum.



                      • Re: EPDM pros and cons
                        Jeff Hamilton

                        Thanks for all the insight. IF we get serious about going to EPDM I have been told that myself and probably someone from It will go to admin training early to get an idea of what it's really capable of and be certain of how to use it before we purchase the product. The VAR is also going to be helping set it up and getting what we need done up front, so we aren't having to do it all ourselves. "Baby steps" Get one group going before expanding it too far to fast. I understand about the learning curve in training too. I deal with it every day....

                        EPDM looks like something we can use as a tool to better manage the workflow we already have, which is a hand signed paper printout of electronically generated documents. If it just forwarded the documents along from person to person in the approval process and generated the release drawings it's already done alot that we no longer have to. Hopefully much faster too. Can the workflow be improved? Oh, yeah. But that 's a separate issue really. It looks like it can do the job and more, if they decide to go with it.


                        I know this is the Solidworks EPDM website, but dare I ask, Is there anything better we should be looking at?

                        • Re: EPDM pros and cons
                          Jeff Hamilton


                          How did you work the wizard tutorials? That sounds like a great idea.

                            • Re: EPDM pros and cons
                              Brian Dalton

                              The idea is to create programs to handle company-specific processes outside of the generic EPDM interface.  They could be add-ins that trap certain EPDM commands and handle them in a custom window (where I can provide guidance information for each prospective action) or possibly in a separate application in the case of larger, more fully managed processes.


                              It depends on how far outside the standard interface your company processes lie.  Some of ours are pretty unique to us, so not at all well handled by built-in EPDM commands.