Product Data Management

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Definition: Product Data Management

Product Data Management or PDM is defined as capturing and “managing the overall data” with respect to a product by using a software or a tool. “Managing the Overall data” in product data management includes storing all the data related to the product which the company requires like the raw material needed to build the product, the methodology applied to build the product etc. This data, in turn, is used for designing, production, distribution and marketing.

Categories of data collected in product data management (PDM) includes

1. Technical Specifications like material used, technical workings of the parts

2. The drawings of the blueprint of the product

3. Bill of raw material used, labor hours

4. Engineering documentation demonstrating the methodology of the product

5. Other supporting documents which includes competitors data, the research material

All this data is stored in the central repository and is kept up-to-date. Though, generally engineers are the heaviest users of the data, product data management is also used by marketers, salespeople, operation managers or any other person who is involved with the product life cycle.

Product Data Management (PDM)


Importance of Product Data Management (PDM)

Product data management is a business function in which some software or tool is used to track & keep a record of data related to a particular product. The data involved is technical specifications related to the product for manufacturing & further development of the product and the materials to be used. Through this product data management, company can keep a track of all the costs associated with creation & launching of a product. Product data management is a part of product life cycle & is widely used by engineers in the company.

The product data management serves as a central database having all the data related to the product. The central data has the product history, promotes integration & notes all data exchange that is being done by all business users. This software will capture all the useful information about the product or services throughout their useful life. The information in PDM includes part number, part description, vendor name, vendor part & description, measured unit, Cost, CAD designs, Material data sheets etc.

Product data management can be used by anyone who builds a product which requires raw materials or a series of processes or both. It enable the designer to focus more on the main part i.e. the design and to prevent wasting its time on searching the stored files, updating the systems and recreating the data required. Data Security is another very important part of product data management. It ensures that the vital data is never lost and it will always remain with the organization. It also protects the companies and its employees from various data breaches, thefts and losses. Along with the faster data access, DMS also improves the data quality by improving the search results. This, in turn, aids in faster decision-making.


Advantages of Product Data Management (PDM)

1. Reduced Time-to-Market: Product data management enables reduce considerable time which is otherwise wasted in searching the data. With PDM, paper documents are not needed to be distributed and reviewed. With reduction in time, it also enables to improve the process further.

2. Improved designs of products: The new and useful data is regularly updated and the old or redundant data is regularly discarded which enable the designers and marketers to focus on the job in hand rather than focusing on figuring out which data to use and which not to. With increased focus and the right data in hand, their productivity and efficiency, both increases which reflects in the product.

3. Minimized Errors: The more decentralized or distributed the data is among the departments in an organization, the more likely it is to have errors and product data management does the exact opposite. It makes the data available centralized which is very less likely to have errors or even if there is one, it will surely attract attention very easily. This, in turn, enables minimizing the potential errors and the potential damage being caused by the error.

4. All product related data can be managed easily

5. The product design data can be reused thereby increasing efficiency

6. Increases collaboration


Example of Product Data Management (PDM)

For example, a company A manufactures potato chips. The company incorporates a Product Data Management System for its end-product i.e. potato chips. The technical part of this PDM will contain the details like what oil being used to fry, what is the optimum temperature of frying, quality standards necessary for potato to be used. The blueprint may contain the photos of the process, the color and size of the chips, packaging photos. Bill of Materials will include the bill of the potatoes, oil, salt, packaging and other ingredients used to manufacture the chips and chips packet. Other supporting material will include the competitor’s price details, product details, the research work for the existing product or the product to be introduced later in the future. Product data management will incorporate all this data at a single place accessible to the required people as and when needed.

Hence, this concludes the definition of Product Data Management along with its overview.

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