ePDM – Is it worth it?

Posted on October 27th, 2012. Posted In Software Review,SolidWorks Community

When I started in my new position I found it odd that they were using ePDM. As far as I was concerned ePDM was for large design groups, not 1-2 designers. In the back of my mind I started thinking about how we’d cleanly transition from ePDM to PDMWorks¬†when the subscription was up. I’d be saving the company ~$1000 per year, or would I?

When I first began using it, I found ePDM to be a bit cumbersome and not very user friendly. While this may have had something to do with being a PDMWorks for years and having zero exposure to ePDM, I still think it could be a bit more inviting. That being said, I’m starting to warm up to it. Unlike PDMWorks, ePDM lets you check files in and out without bumping the revision, which is awesome (yes, I know about “working copy”). I like how it keeps track of each iteration, even allowing you to put in notes so you can keep track of what you were doing. In the fluid environment in which I work, this is a HUGE plus, especially where I suffer from CRS. When I check in whatever I was working on, I type in a few notes to remind me of where I was when I last left off. If only my predecessors had used this feature…

More upsides that I’ve sort of seen are the ability to easily export to different file formats. While all of our suppliers are good with PDF’s, most can’t handle native SolidWorks files. From what I’ve seen, I can simply set up tasks to export different file types right from ePDM. What I don’t know, but will find out, is can I decide where to save files to? What sort of parameters can I set? It’s the answers to these questions, along with a couple of other bits, that will ultimately help me decide whether to keep ePDM when our subscription is up. That will have to wait for another post.

If you have thoughts, I’d love to hear them.

I’m the only SolidWorks user in the company and, up until now, haven’t been using PDMWorks. Part of the reason is I don’t trust our server. We’re a small company and the server’s stability worries me. Presently, I have everything on my computer, with a backup on an external hard drive. The only things I put on the server are pdf’s of completed drawings.
I’ve been contemplating creating a vault on my hard drive, with a backup on the external drive, for a while now. The thing is, I’m just not convinced it’s the way to go. I’ve used PDM plenty of times, and think I’m pretty well versed in the positives in a multi-user environment, but I just can’t quite wrap my head around using it solo. Yes, I’ve heard the “what if the company grows” argument, but it just isn’t enough to get me to make the switch.
Are you using PDMWorks in a solo environment? If so, why? How do you feel it enhances your work flow? If you’re not using it, why not? Curious minds want to know.

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