As you know, engineering groups collaborating on data in two storage locations is a risky situation but there may be more than meets the eye of the casual reader.
I have not only seen this situation but have managed this scenario specifically. The main roadblock to manage is maintaining clean file references as either EPDM file references or non-EPDM file references. You are probably seeing a HUGE issue with mixed file references when files are imported, issues with version matching, and maintaining references & versions is becoming a nightmare probably to the point there is consideration for hiring someone to do this job fulltime.
- How interactive and collaborative do the two groups need to be?
- Are these groups in 2 different geographic locations, physically separated?
The way I've managed this is to push for both groups to work together in one data management system. If not possible/acceptable by leadership of both groups, the group working outside EPDM transfers only PDF and IGS/STEP files to engineering for drawing release & manufacturing build. This outside group does not transfer SW data to the EPDM group until the project is over and that is a data dump pack and go of the entire SW assemblies they work on with all references intact and the EPDM group will import the files into EPDM at one time.
There are some other process specific details hidden in here I can elaborate on but thought it best to start simple. This is not an easy problem to fix.
Hope this helps.