14 Replies Latest reply on Nov 4, 2015 1:40 PM by Lawrence Kiefer

    EPDM Enhancment Request For Digital Approval Process

    Lawrence Kiefer

      I have added a pretty detailed Enhancement Request with SolidWorks that I think would be a huge improvement to the Digital approval process.

      I would appreciate it if you all could take a look at this request and if you agree, submit the same request. The only way to get these things done is if a lot of people make the same request. If you do not agree with it, please chime in on the forum and give your feedback. You can see the enhancement request by following the link below.


      Thanks in advance guys.



        • Re: EPDM Enhancment Request For Digital Approval Process
          Adrian Velazquez

          Lawrence, so how and when will this PDFs be generated. In my experience I've found way too many instances where eDrawing Previews and PDFs of drawings DO NOT match the released SW Drawing per Engineering.


          Causes can be:

               -No control on when or how the eDrawing Preview is generated.

               -Users do not have access to some files (models) due to State or Location

               -Users Get the Latest Version when they should have instead "Get" a specific Version (As-Built).


          I absolutely agree that EPDM is long Overdue for some Upgrades, but I believe it would be better for them to be in means of Improving Customization for Admins in general. Some Items could be:

               -Ability to Customize Notification Emails (I have a Macro that pulls a custom HTML Template I designed, looks more like a form with working buttons)

               -Improve the CARD Editor to provide Admins the capacity of designing Robust Interactive Forms.

               -Add functionality to the Task Editor in order to do more without having to Code

               -Improve and add functionality to the Dispatch Designer

               -Improve Workflow Designer to integrate more Controls (Conditions, Filters, Events...)

               -Push for the Release of Web2.0

               -Better integration of SW and EPDM



          Just to name a few...

            • Re: EPDM Enhancment Request For Digital Approval Process
              Adrian Velazquez

              Sorry, didn't mean to be a buzzkiller, I've just been frustrated with the Lack of Development in EPDM. It is pretty much the same as when I started using it in 2009.

                • Re: EPDM Enhancment Request For Digital Approval Process
                  Lawrence Kiefer

                  Buzzkill, Not at all. I was hoping to get feedback on this, good or bad. If my recommendation is not good I certainly would like to hear that as well lol...

                  I simply WANT the users to want to use the digital approval process. I implemented this almost 3 years ago and they still will not use this process because, and I quote "its not user friendly" and "I should not need training to approve a drawing" etc...etc... How can I argue these points. They are correct.


                  So, in response, I do agree that the eDrawing conversion is pretty bad. Text specifically never converts from drawings correctly so I would never consider using that.PDF conversions however in my experience are always perfect. In fact I have never found a flaw.


                  With the rest of your comments, I agree 100% with all. In general, EPDM is very expensive to buy and to maintain....yet it gets very little attention with upgrades.

                    • Re: EPDM Enhancment Request For Digital Approval Process
                      Matthew Phaneuf

                      Hi Lawrence;


                      To a large extent, I agree with Adrian, and I like what Jason wrote re: BB as well. I'm moving from ePDM 14 to 15, and saw 2016, so I think it is improving; just not at the speed or level some of us would like. I too have an e-Approval process that I built in a Development Vault of ePDM.


                      Can I ask about your users?


                      First, "not user friendly" -  compared to what? Manual Approval process? I watch people log miles per day running around complaining they don't have enough time to think, and If I'm (you're) replacing that with a digital, at your desk process, how is t THAT not "user friendly"? Seriously?


                      Second; did they use ePDM somewhere else? If ePDM is new software to them, then YES, they will need training to approve a drawing. All new processes deserve training, and written instruction (often laminated!). Things change, improve, get better - and TRAINING is KEY.


                      It sounds to me like they don't want to change. I'm not surprised. I fight battles too, everyday. However, I would (as I have before) go to management, and express concerns that if you're expected to implement ePDM as a tool, then users will have to change their processes, their minds, their opinions, their efforts. They won't use the process you built NOT because it's "non-user friendly" or "training", it's (IMHO) because they're allowed to not use it, with lame excuses, that management should never let fly - but they are. I first learned PDM in 2006 because I had to, and if I wanted the job, guess what?! There was no option B.


                      If you've built something that you feel strongly about, passionate about, that you know will be an improvement, stand up for yourself, and present that with confidence. I'm sorry to say, it sounds like you're getting walked all over. Don't take this as an insult, I'm only trying to empower you - I've been there. If the tool sucks, it sucks, but I don't share how I feel about ePDM with people I want using it. My co-workers (users) will know that I work hard to make their lives easier with a tool like ePDM. It's powerful, so make yourself an integral part of the tool's success.


                      Hang in there bud!



                        • Re: EPDM Enhancment Request For Digital Approval Process
                          Adrian Velazquez

                          Could agree more, as an Admin sometimes (or most times) you just have to be in King Leonidas Mode...

                            • Re: EPDM Enhancment Request For Digital Approval Process
                              Lawrence Kiefer

                              @ Adrian

                              King Leonidas Died in battle, a noble death but dead indeed

                              I would like to live on.....


                              @ Mathew

                              Not user Friendly...

                              1. The emails sent out by PDM look like they are set up for the old DOS operating system and I should be seeing them on an old CRT screen with green box text. Seriously, the file name field can sometimes be a mile long. Whoever receives these emails does not need the entire path of the file, ITS A LINK.....it should be just the part number. Just the way the links in the emails read make it not user friendly.
                              2. If I submit 5 drawings for approval, all the people on the receiving end need is a link to the drawing, NOT the parts and NOT the assemblies. These are non Solidworks users....they cannot deceiver the difference by file extension like we can, nor should we expect them too.
                              3. Not being able to approve a PDF version of the drawing means they have to eat up a license for Solidworks....And please don't mention edrawings because eDrawings sucks. The revision table text is always misaligned and usually any kind of notes. This was something I brought up with my var and they submitted to solidworks. Their comment was its a bug and Solidworks is aware of it.

                              EPDM/Slokidworks Training

                              I respectfully dissagre....All they are doing is approving or rejecting drawings. Having to open them in solidworks to review a document is crazy, as I stated above they eat up an expensive solidworks licens just to review a drawing. These people do not use Solidworks and they should not have to learn how to navigate the software just to approva a drawing. PDF....everyone knows how to use it, and its FREE...


                              They Dont Want Change...

                              Your absolutely correct....A lot of the people in Quality and MFG have been approving documents the same way for 20 years...So its a hard sell. BUT, if the software was extremley user friendly, had a really easy to use and good looking interface for approvals, then they would want to use it. As it stands they get emails with a mile long blue link of text lol...come on, really??


                              After running and loving Solidworks since about 1995is.....EPDM has made me hate it. We spent top dollar on software that gets almost no attention for upgrades by solidworks. Every year they fix 1 or 2 things. The whole thing needs to be revamped and bough into this decade..

                                • Re: EPDM Enhancment Request For Digital Approval Process
                                  Matthew Phaneuf

                                  BTW I wanted you to know that I get this if I click your link, so I didn't read the ER - it sounds like you've put a lot of thought into it. Good luck. I'll vote for it, or submit one as well, if I can read the proposal first.

                                  As for your original post, it sounded like you were in a spot I've been in many times, but after your reply,  it sounds more like you don't like the UI either, and you sound pretty sure about that. My apologies. I'm advocating eDrawings (I'm still in 2014/2015) over pdf. Have you considered using a 3rd party source for what you're looking to do, such as equivaQ, or a VAR who delves deeper into ePDM, like Hawkridge? They approach the ePDM product much differently than a standard Solidworks VAR does. Try contacting Tim Webb from the forums here, he's a good guy.



                                  • Re: EPDM Enhancment Request For Digital Approval Process
                                    Jason Capriotti

                                    For us, approvals of changes are on the ECO object itself, in this case a 'CVD' file. There are PDF markups in the ECO's folder that get reviewed and when done the user 'approves' the ECO for processing. Emails only show the ECO with a link to the ECO folder. We don't really want people approving from the email anyway.


                                    Once an ECO is in processing, there is a final review by the engineer who created the ECO whom is notified by an email with a link to the ECO folder. PDFs of the drawings are already created and in place and the engineer reviews them for errors. He/She approves the ECO changes by approving each SolidWorks/AutoCAD/Word/Excel drawing one at a time until complete, then they approve the ECO itself, however they use the PDF's for review, they don't open the models files....unless they want to. They make heavy use of the PDM Search tool to view all documents on the ECO since they can be located in various places in the vault.


                                    While there may be some quirks, we mostly hear nothing but positive feedback, especially compared to the old paper system where you never knew who had the ECO paper folder that floated around the office and got buried on someone's desk awaiting work or approval.


                                    I agree with your comments about lack of changes though.......I can come up with two dozens enhancements/fixes needed off the top of my head.

                                      • Re: EPDM Enhancment Request For Digital Approval Process
                                        Matthew Phaneuf

                                        This is the response I more identify with. Keep in mind that the original post wasn't really supportive of ePDM, so I wouldn't expect the users to support something the admin doesn't support himself; that's NOT to slam  Lawrence Kiefer him, I originally misunderstood. I'm working with what ePDDM is, shortcomings and all, and so far I've created something that users will have to learn, because it's new, but ultimately will find a HUGE improvement over the manual process. I'm focusing on working with them to get a reaction over their experience with it, so if there's something they don't like, hopefully I can solve that. I think the post was more a result of "Hey we've been using this for 3+ years and it sucks!", I hope that SW Corp is reading/listening/watching. If things don't change and improve, we very well might be saying that, too.

                                          • Re: EPDM Enhancment Request For Digital Approval Process
                                            Lawrence Kiefer

                                            Matthew, in my original post pointing to my enhancement request, I specifically asked for opinions, weather you guys agree or disagree and so far Ive gotten a lot of responses that agree or disagree. To me this is great because if people disagree then maybe I can learn from their experience and see a better way to do things. With that said, I would never take any opinion as a slam if its given to help people out so thanks for the response.


                                            For the most part I agree with everyone input but we all have to keep in mind that what one group of people accept as user friendly and easy, another group may not. I do not hate EPDM nor do I think it "sucks" In fact EPDM is a powerful data management tool that in a lot of ways has immensely improved out data management process since we implemented it.


                                            With that said, Solidworks really does fall short on enhancing this software in general. For Admins...It does suck, sorry to say. Most EPDM Admins are also engineers with a primary duty do design and engineer products. EPDM in so many ways requires way more time than most of us have to put into it simply because it is so outdated and falls short in so many areas. For example....I had an issue a few weeks back where my files were being categorized incorrectly even though this part of it has been set up for a couple of years. Turns out because I added one new condition in my category, all of the other ones got screwed up. It took over a week to fix. My var had to get involved and then had to submit it to Solidworks...The end result was "We got it working, were not sure why it was not working the way you had it because it should have, but here is a bandage until Solidworks figures it out"


                                            The other thing regarding the email notifications....I don't care how you use them...they look like something a 6th grade programmer in his moms basement came up with on the fly...(Maybe SW is outsourcing to hacker kids to save money)

                                • Re: EPDM Enhancment Request For Digital Approval Process
                                  Jason Capriotti

                                  I often wonder if the lack of upgrades is due to its big brother at Dassault.....Enovia or 3dExperience....whatever you want to call it.