Once you have completed your requirements document, it is time to look at possible solutions.  Among your options are PDM software and PLM software.

I say among your options because there are still companies using protected directories to manage their information.

PDM Software

The focus of PDM software is to manage engineering information.  Many CAD software packages have PDM offerings.  The good news here is that the CAD software and the PDM software speak to each other – you will not have to write any code to integrate the two.

Access to documents is through the CAD user interface.  This reduces training time for your engineers and makes adoption more easily attained.

If your main focus is to manage engineering information, this might be the right choice for your company.

PLM Software

The focus of PLM software is to manage your product information within all departments.  PLM software also tends to have a fairly robust business process management component – this makes it easy to be ISO compliant.

It still makes sense to choose PLM software that is already integrated with your CAD software.  Integration code between PLM and CAD is far more complex [and expensive] than integration code between PLM and ERP, so look for compatibility between your CAD and PLM software first.

If you start with PDM software knowing that one day in the future you will be moving to PLM software, you still have a decision to make.  If you choose this path, you could end up with PDM software now and PLM software later.  The two may or may not speak to each other.  If you wish them to communicate, you may have to write some code to accomplish that task.  Or, you could jettison the PDM software and go with only the PLM software.  No matter the path, you will have learned a lot and should end up with a much better solution.

It can be useful to enlist help from someone that has done this before.  Contact me if you would like some help…


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