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.
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.
Here are some of the items I've configured EPDM to manage:
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
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
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.
Hi Jeff, decisions like that are usually what drive innovation.
Keep in mind, any electronic system can help you in your work and help you track the process but the electonic system is not the process, it is the tool. If the electronic system is required to do your work then how did Ford do it 100 years ago?
That is very valuable. Thanks for the addendum.
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?
How did you work the wizard tutorials? That sounds like a great idea.
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.
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