A few weeks back SolidWorks announced the purchase of GCS Scandinavia AB of Sweden, the makers of Conisio PDM/PLM software. Eighteen days later a second announcement was made regarding the release of PDMWorks Enterprise (looks to be Conisio renamed). The key advantages of the new PDMWorks offering vs. the “traditional” PDMWorks will be multi-site file replication, ECN/ECO workflow processes, better support for large design teams, & connectivity to MRP/ERP systems.
I’d like to add a few observations on this subject. First and foremost, I think this is a great addition to the SolidWorks product line. The key advantages listed above will provide welcome relief for many users. One interesting item is the marketing towards larger businesses. While in many instances this is the case, it can also provide needed features for smaller workgroups as well. For companies that maintain ISO certifications, the workflow features can provide an integrated avenue to a paperless ECO/ECN system that meets ISO documentation requirements.
A common problem that I have seen with many companies large and small is getting the PDM Bill of Material information to the MRP/ERP system. Often times to get this accomplished days of custom programming is required and maintenance to the code is often times necessary as new software versions are released. An even worse senario is having to manually re-enter the BOM into the MRP/ERP system. It will be interesting to see how much customization will be required to make this feature work. (Could be heavily dependent on which MRP/ERP system is being used.)
The integration of the vault with Windows Explorer offers many advantages since virtually EVERYONE is familiar with the interface.
It will be interesting to see what type of upgrade path is offered for those currently using PDMWorks Workgroup. One would think that this will be high on the list of future additions. Also, one would think that with each new release, the user interfaces of both packages will be come more similar. This would only make upgrading easier for PDMWorks Workgroup users.
The coming months should reveal more answers. I’m sure many potential and current PDMWorks users will be watching with key interest.