Configurable PDM

Part of my job as Product Manager at DS SolidWorks Corp is to visit customers and see how they are using our technology. I love to ask how they did things before implementing our software, what productivity gains they have made, what pros and cons they could speak to and how things have changed overall.

I was blown away in one of my last visits where a customer had been implementing a competitors PLM solution for the past two years, but still had not moved into the production roll out phase. Whenever they wanted to make a simple change to the PLM system, they had to call the PLM vendor and schedule a service call which would take about two (2) weeks. Once the consultant was on-site, they would spend about two (2) days programming and customizing the PLM toolkit in order to fulfill the request.


Last year they decided to try SolidWorks Enterprise PDM (EPDM) as an alternative to the never-ending PLM project and were able to get this system into production in less than 6 months. The time would have been even less, but this project was combined with a re-engineering initiative.

The most startling difference between the two systems seems to be in the approach of building up a PDM system with simple and highly configurable administrative tools versus a PLM toolkit approach that requires very specialized, expensive and time-consuming customization. The customer told me, changes that took 2 weeks to schedule and 2 days to accomplish with our failed PLM implementation, now take less than 10 minutes 95% of the time for me to change myself”.

We take this customer feedback to heart and will continue to provide easy-to-setup and configure tools to enable our customers to get into production quickly with new solutions, achieve fast returns on investment (ROI) and increase productivity over time with additional changes that can be made in-house. If you have any feedback or stories on the concept of configuring versus customizing (programming) we would love to hear from you.


Rich Allen

Rich Allen

Senior Director, Product Management at Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corp.
Senior Director, Product Portfolio Management that manages the team that focuses on the SolidWorks integrated desktop product portfolio, including SolidWorks CAD, SolidWorks Simulation, SolidWorks Enterprise PDM, eDrawings, SolidWorks Electrical, SolidWorks Plastics, SolidWorks Inspection, SolidWorks MBD and SolidWorks Composer. Rich has been with SolidWorks for the past ten (10) years, working in strategic accounts and then leading the data management products for the SolidWorks brand, including SolidWorks Enterprise PDM and ENOVIA Collaborative Design for SolidWorks. Prior to that Rich spent over 25 years in the PLM industry leading teams at United Technologies, IBM, CoCreate and was the founder and owner of several technology companies.
Rich Allen
Rich Allen