I looked at Adept and EPDM, and they seem pretty equivalent. One thing I didn't like about Adept is that their forum is locked, so you can't see discussions like this one. We are about to implement EPDM and I must say we are daunted by the number of setup choices and the amount of time it takes even for a "simple workflow". We have 6 SolidWorks seats and my workflow is way simple compared to some I have seen (I posted image here Re: Grade my workflow ,and I have cut out a few states since this draft). We are moving from no PDM.
I think WPDM or DB Works Express would be a lot easier to implement - you still have the file migration issue, but you don't have nearly as many choices to make. Apparently, with the power of EPDM and Adept comes responsibility. If we had been on SolidWorks Premium or Professional WPDM might have been the way to go.
My advice is definitely pay for migration help (if you have more than a few thousand files). And pay for some setup consultation, but you must spend some signficant time on the PDM Admin tool yourself (beyond training - we had 3 day Admin training), or you won't know how it really works... but you can probably figure out most changes you need to make, but that is just time later instead of up front time. And some choices are hard to undo. Each of the components (file cards, pdf task, workflow, templates, etc) in EPDM is fairly simple, it is just the combination that is a beast.
Also one of the big things you can't fully outsource is "what do you want?" this takes a ton of time and knowledge of how system and software functions to figure out. 2 weeks is unlikey to be the end of that process. In spite of all that, if you are going to do PDM it is worth doing right. What is another $10,000 or another week of setup effort compared to a year or 2 years of smoother work following that? That's not the only way I look at it, I also think it sucks, but I hope it is true we come through this with a great system.
Thanks, it's good to know that there is a quite a bit of support needed with Enterprise PDM as well. I guess all the companies keep all the start up support costs quiet untill the end? We talked to our VAR about Enterprise and that was never mentioned at all, at least Adept did mention some of the start up costs up front.
We are talking about a small number of files though, about 2500. We have more, but are only migrating in our current main customer.
Our work flow is even simpler than yours. We are mostly interested in keeping people from saving over each others files with a check in and out system and making sure that everyone knows when a more recent version of a file has been checked in, not so much the approval and change order type of set up. We also have some other requirements and preferences that led us to Adept.
That is one thing that I dislike about all of these systems, they are all set up so that you can run General Motors or Boeing. We don't need all that complication, but are stuck dealing with it at nearly $20K of set up cost, and that is with out admin training. I have never had a program that I could not install and set up myself except for High Res Halo Deck, I just find that annoying.
Any one with Adept experience?
I asked for a quote well in advance so I knew roughly what the setup costs would be.
Have you looked at GrabCAD Workbench? They keep adding features to it, now has a SolidWorks add-in. I don't know if the cloud thing would be fast enough. Just a thought.
I agree there should be something easier, but it could be a while before there is a good alternative to a big PDM.
If I was to implement EPDM again (from a network folder based system), I would just move everything into the vault as-is. That is easy.
I would not set up variables or data cards or workflows or part numbers or permissions to begin with.
We were doing many things manually before EPDM; there is no reason we wouldn't be able to continue manually in a vault environment.
After I had everyone content working inside the vault with checkin/checkout, then I would start looking at automating some of the things we do manually, and coding in the workflows (that we still dont *need*).
This is where all the implementation time goes, into automation. I saw all these cool things EPDM could do and wanted to take advantage of it all right away. Looking back I don't see a benefit to doing this. Just made it a harder transition for all involved.
On the plus side, after you finally do get it set up, the end result is the same. :)
Thanks for the insight, I will keep that in mind. I was thinking that there was significant time in setting up all these things regardless if you were going to use them or not.
That is a very interestng point Terry. I'm trying to think of drawbacks... One is we have migration help from our VAR so we might as well put them to work getting our files in and up to the correct Revision letter. Two: no clear way to recognize an important version for a given file, say the person working on the part leaves the company, you just have a whole mess of versions with no Revision "stamp". But you could simply and safely do a 2 state workflow I think, to help clarify. Or have polices in place to put good comments on check in.
But I'm actually very glad you shared that, it makes me more comfortable with all the features I removed because of lack of time.
"This is where all the implementation time goes, into automation. I saw all these cool things EPDM could do and wanted to take advantage of it all right away. "
That is totally where I am/was coming from.
This is - no offense - a terrible idea. Without your cards and variables setup you lose a very important part of PDM, meta data. If you don't have variables set up when you bring the files over you'll only be able to search for files by file name. Not exactly ideal. Just my 2¢.
Terry Raymond wrote:
I would not set up variables or data cards or workflows or part numbers or permissions to begin with.
The meta data and searching is something that I see all the PDM systems touting but don't really understand.
What would you search for if you were not searching based on the part number or part name?
Do people really spend that much time searching for files that they feel a better searching capability is a greatly beneficial feature?
Is this something that is more important for a company that has a large variety of very similar parts?
People spend a lot of time searching, and yes, it's usually based on the part number. However, different departments within an organisation may have different needs. For example, purchasing may want to find files to give to a specific supplier based on the material or some other criteria. It's not only searching, it's reporting as well one should be concerned with.
Meta data is basically free; it takes up very little space in the database. Why not tag parts with whatever you feel is necessary to organise it? Not implementting that data from the get go is a mistake in my opinion.
(Sorry to take your thread off topic.)
Lee Young, I agree with what you said.
One comment is that meta data is not free when it comes to time. You have to decide what to add, you have to create the cards and variables and mapping. And someone has to fill the values in. Either each time, or with some kind of automation. Done right I imagine it is like a library though, and the setup time pays off in the long run.
You can change cards and variables at any point with EPDM, but then all the old files don't have some info filed in.
Terry may have overstated it a bit, but I think it is a good point to consider. You don't need to include all the auto pdf tasks (simple until you get to the exceptions, and oh it can't pdf Excel files, etc), and auto watermarks, and other things that you have been doing manually for years, if it encumbers the system and makes it an overwhelming project to get started. You do need to do some planning anyway.
In talk at SWW 2014 by Kent Keller and Jack Sanford (EPDM Workflows: Avoiding Complexity) - they advocated for cutting out a lot of the auto/forced stuff, and having more actions controlled by policy. Most users don't have a PDM system at all, so this can work. They also said some more radical things - for example not having Drawing Revisions controlled by PDM, because people spend too much time trying to get those revisions correct in the system (legacy workflows, increment revision...), when the user almost always knows what revision it is supposed to be. I'm still thinking on that one.
Also since Yeager only has 2500 files, he might have more flexibility than a big user. We want Chuck Yeager to have the right stuff - for his project
I've thought some about the revision control portion of PDM. There are issue like migrating in legacy file and getting them them set to their current revision level (skipping). And then there is cases of file format changes such as an AutoCAD file being recreated in SolidWorks and thus the new SolidWorks flie must "skip" revision to get to the current set. We handle it with an add-in and a migration workflow process but I still have to fix it from time to time as the users forget to put it in that special migration folder. We do have another add-in though that validates the revision before release so we catch it there. For companies that can't custom program though, this is sorely missing functionality out of the box.
I'm not sure removing the revision function is the answer either. Those same users who forget to put these files in the correct folder can just as easily type it in wrong.....it happened before PDM and we had to go back and fix it.
I implemented Adept at the company I work for back in 2005 and have recently expanded our system by implementing Adept Explorer last year.
When I implemented Adept back in 2005 we did a pilot trial of the system first where I setup and configured the system to see how it worked and whether it was suitable for our needs. I learnt a lot from doing this and when we decided to fully implement the system I did the implementation myself with some assistance from Synergis Software. From memory we paid for 2 days consulting where I could contact their implementation team for any assistance if I got stuck with part of it. I found that this worked well and our implementation took about 2 weeks. I am based in Australia so getting Synergis to do the implementation on site was out of the question and by doing the implementation myself I can fully support the system.
We did get Synergis to perform a database conversion and file copy program from our previous EDM system. This part of our implementation cost about the same as our licensing cost. This involved converting our old system’s database information and placing it in Adept’s database and copying all files from the old system and placing them into Adept's libraries. We had about 55,000 files at that time. From the sound of it, you won’t need to do this.
If you are concerned about the implementation cost you could consider doing some of it yourself if you have the time and a little experience. Ask Synergis for the installation manual that comes with the software and have a look through it and see what you might be able to do yourself and then see what you could then get Synergis to do. Doing some of it yourself also teaches you how to administer the system and make changes like adding new users, libraries etc.
Design Engineer / CAD Administrator
We currently use Adept (2011) and i am looking into moving to EPDM instead. is there a reason we should stick with Adept? We used it mainly for Autocad vault and used workgroup PDM. Workgroup PDM is not powerful / flexible enough for our needs. Management decided to go with Adept. I personally want EPDM (its looks easier to use). Your opions?
Not sure how big your company is, but if everyone kinda knows how to use Adept I'd hesitate to switch. Perhaps just rework what you have for SolidWorks? EPDM is not as easy to use as the marketing materials like to say. I think after a few months it will be fine for most. But, besides the interface, ease of use also depends on a good PDM system design and implementation. Configuration and migration is a lot of work.
I looked at both EPDM and Adept and decided on EPDM, but if you already have Adept I do think they are comparable systems.
we are a medium size company. however this is how our CAD systems are setup.
- 3 to 10 users (3 heavy users)
- use Adept for file management
- 3 different sites
- site 1 (USA) - 3 to 6 users (2 heavy users) (Workgroup PDM for file management)
- site 2 (USA) - 1 user (uses network drives as his vault) he is almost working autonomously, however i want to integrate him into a system with site 1
- site 3 (china) - 3 to 6 users (2 heavy users) - (use network drives as their vault) they are totally different than site 1 & 2. I want to integrate them into a system with site 1 but this is not a requirement.
Right now, we are only using Adept for autocad file management system and solidworks workgroup PDM for solidworks file management system. Both systems are totally manual (ie - if a manager signs printed drawings, then cad operator goes into file and types in the managers name and date, then check the dwg into the system) The team right now has decided to move solidworks into Adept. I personally like EPDM (not sure why, it looks easier to use i guess)
ECN, etc are handled by email approvals and all manual methods.
Eventually we will try to integrate ECN, etc into Adept or EPDM for approval processes.
So my question is, since we are almost starting from scratch which system do you recommend, Adept or EPDM? and why?
Thanks everyone for the all info and advice, I guess we just have to make up our mind now.
Did you give any considerations to PDM Workgroup? It's a low cost solution with big benifits.
I read that you don't have much of a workflow and you have a few users.
We have been using PDMWorkgroup with 30-40 users for the last 8-9 years.
It does a great job at making sure you have the latest version of the file. And if someone else takes owernship for revision you get a read only copy.
We are now looking at a global pdm solution so I'm interested in your Adept stories if you're willing to share. PM me if you can share via e-mail.