Product Data Management is the use of software or other tools to track and control data related to a particular product. The data tracked usually involves the technical specifications of the product, specifications for manufacture and development, and the types of materials that will be required to produce goods. The use of product data management allows a company to track the various costs associated with the creation and launch of a product. Product data management is part of product life cycle management and configuration management, and is primarily used by engineers.
Within PDM the focus is on managing and tracking the creation, change and archive of all information related to a product. The information being stored and managed (on one or more file servers) will include engineering data such as computer-aided design (CAD) models, drawings and their associated documents.
Product data management (PDM) serves as a central knowledge repository for process and product history, and promotes integration and data exchange among all business users who interact with products — including project managers, engineers, sales people, buyers, and quality assurance teams.
The central database will also manage metadata such as owner of a file and release status of the components. The package will: control check-in and check-out of the product data to multi-user; carry out engineering change management and release control on all versions/issues of components in a product; build and manipulate the product structure bill of materials for assemblies; and assist in configurations management of product variants. This enables automatic reports on product costs, etc.
Product data management is focused on capturing and maintaining information on products and/or services through its development and useful life. Typical information managed in the PDM module include;
- Part number
- Part description
- Vendor part number and description
- Unit of measure
- Schematic or CAD drawing
- Material data sheets