Have you ever saved an office document locally and also on a network or shared drive so other people can see it? What file is the master then? How do you know who modified the file and when? These questions have presented problems to many of us and lead to lost or incomplete data. I know in my work environment this happens sometimes especially with files stored on a shared drive that several people need to add information into. Someone’s working on it and you don’t know who so you can ask them to close it. The other common problem I often see is where the file is sent around in an email string and you wind up with one version from each person on the thread.
Some companies think that data management is really only useful for CAD data but having better control over your other important files can save time and money. It is estimated that 30% of all data loss is attributed to human error like accidental deletion or damage to hardware. Add this together with time spent searching for files and chasing down the latest version with all necessary information and it results in real costs to an organization. So how can a document management system help manage non-cad data? Here’s some areas to consider:
- Robust and Integrated Searching
- Quickly find data across a range of file types using the powerful searching tools right inside Windows Explorer. Perform file content searches on multiple data types (such as CAD files, Microsoft® Word documents, Excel® spreadsheets, Outlook® emails, and image files) and locate documents using a range of search criteria (including name, data, metadata, and workflow status).
- Version and Revision Control
- Ensure everyone is always working with the “right version” of a file by using revision and version control capabilities. Customize file naming and revision control schemes, maintain document history, and easily manage document versions to avoid the costly manufacturing errors associated with working with the wrong revision.
- Save time and eliminate manual tasks by taking advantage of automated revision incrementing. Using built-in file plug-ins (to read and write “attribute” information to files) and automated workflow engine, you can increment revision properties when a file reaches a certain workflow state.
- Centralized Storage and Replication
- Create and maintain a single data location and vault that can be accessed by users worldwide to store and retrieve files. In addition to preserving a secure backup of product design data, secure file vaulting enables you to eliminate multiple “silos” of information, duplicate files, and unsynchronized revisions. Through vault replication, the convenience of local file access directly from your workstation can be maintained and only use the network to check-in or check-out files, as needed.
- Integration with Office products
- Perform vault operations, directly inside the user interface of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. This streamlines working with these documents and opens up the benefits of PDM to other departments outside of engineering.
- Create and manage references to other files
- Many times one file relates to another like a PDF of a material specification sheet or an Excel based engineering change notice for a CAD model. A robust PDM system will allow these files to be referenced to each other so when the information of one file is being viewed the relationship to other file can be easily seen.
If these capabilities seem like they would be beneficial to your organization then check out SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM (EPDM). SOLIDWORKS EPDM provides a unique seamless interface with your SOLIDWORKS design workflow as well as your other important documents. SOLIDWORKS EPDM is so well integrated into Windows, SOLIDWORKS and Microsoft Office, it easily becomes part of a user’s work experience and is almost transparent to them.
Click the banner to learn how easy document management can be when you stop worrying and make EPDM part of your design process.