Complicating PLM Choices

There are many parameters that can have an impact on your choice of PLM [PDM or document management] software.  Some major ones follow…

Most PLM decisions start in engineering.  Basic engineering drivers include the ability to manage CAD models, CAD files, Bills of Materials and change requests.

Each of these have constraints.  CAD models are made up of a number of files [a configuration] that need to be checked in and managed as a single entity.  Typically, the 3D CAD software company will have software that has this feature.

3D CAD software can automatically generate a Bill of Materials that needs to be managed in the PLM software.  How will it populate the PLM software?

Engineering change requests require that the PLM software have workflow capabilities [and even better, business rules].

What if some feature isn’t there?

If the PLM software can’t manage CAD models [configuration] then your engineers will have to manually create a folder and check in all of the needed files.  The next engineer can check them out to work on, but will have to make sure that they check out and check in all of the needed files again.

If the PLM software can’t extract the bill of materials from the CAD software, then bills will have to be keyed in manually.

If the PLM software doesn’t have workflow, then you will have to continue to route change requests manually.


These manual activities can be automated by writing software to do the work at a great expense.

The positive – your solution can fit your company exactly.

The negative – if any of your purchased software gets upgraded, the software you wrote may no longer work.

These trade-offs aren’t easy, I can help…


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