Why Distributed Data Management is Important

To operate efficiently, manufacturers must not only effectively manage assets (people, IP, technical systems, production equipment, and distribution networks) but also perhaps their most valuable asset: the enormous amount of data housed within their departments, databases and systems. Although most companies recognize the benefits of managing, mining, and using data to improve efficiency and achieve a competitive edge, these efforts have largely focused on managing and leveraging data at the department- and/or application-level, not enterprise-wide.

To tackle the challenges of managing all of this data as well as other assets, SOLIDWORKS recently announced new distributed data management solutions that enable both internal and external users to access and edit the most up-to-date files, including Bills of Materials (BOMs), project timelines, and processes, from anywhere and on any device with a browser and internet connection.

SOLIDWORKS Manage combines the ease of use and familiar Windows® Explorer interface of SOLIDWORKS PDM with advanced capabilities that allow teams to manage project timelines and resources, complex business processes, and advanced item management. SOLIDWORKS Manage takes the place of the separate disconnected tools that an organization might use to manage engineering resources and processes. It is compatible with many existing tools, and works to more efficiently and effectively maintain the integrity of enterprise information.

With SOLIDWORKS Manage, you have complete visibility into all projects, enabling organizations to plan, manage resources, connect project deliverables and monitor status right down to the task.

Let’s take a quick look at the features of SOLIDWORKS Manage:

Project Management

Time management is a crucial aspect of the product development process, and while there are many tools available that can handle project stages, timelines, and milestones, they tend to be separate applications used by many stakeholders in an organization. Since these are separate systems, it is very difficult to collaborate across applications and associate active design data and resources with project requirements.

With SOLIDWORKS Manage, and its tight integration into SOLIDWORKS PDM, organizations can now plan each stage of a project, assign resources and tasks, and attach required engineering documentation within the same ecosystem used in design. Resources can be allocated to each stage of a project and tasks can be defined and assigned to project stakeholders. Attachments can be added to a task, including CAD files, documents and items with no file associated with them. When users complete their work, the project progress is automatically updated.

Process Management

Data management systems, like SOLIDWORKS PDM, have electronic workflow capabilities, which are mainly focused on document approval and engineering changes, but many manufacturers may have more complex needs for engineering change requests, orders, and notices. With the powerful process management capabilities in SOLIDWORKS Manage, you can automate critical workflows to minimize errors and streamline approvals.

Individual processes are stored as a record and authorized participants have access to information associated with this process. Effected items, documents, and CAD files can be attached to the process and tasks can be automatically created. Insight into the progress can be viewed visually, so you know exactly where you are in the process. Activities are added using the drag-and-drop process designer, and can be connected to define the path through the organization. Individual stages can be configured with users, notifications conditions or tasks that are automatically triggered when a stage is started or finished.


In today’s digital environment, it’s easier than ever to create vast amounts of data, but keeping track of it all can be a challenge. To gain insight into all of this data, SOLIDWORKS Manage provides fully customizable Dashboards to visualize critical information in an easy-to-consume format for better decision making.

Dashboards can be built using grids, gauges, charts, and more to capture key information about what is happening in your department or business. These graphical elements reference your data, in real time, and provide instant access to key performance indicators. Dashboards are fully customizable and provide a wide variety of dashboard controls to display your data in real-time. These controls reference the data fields stored in SOLIDWORKS Manage and can be built as easily as dragging and dropping.

Items Management

PDM is a great tool for keeping track of CAD files and creating an engineering Bill of Material (BOM) from your design, but not everything gets modeled in CAD and typically, there are items that need to be added after the design is modeled. Items such as glue, spare parts, packaging and documentation need to be accounted for, as well as overall quantities when customers order multiple units.

With the tight integration of SOLIDWORKS Manage and SOLIDWORKS PDM, all of this data is in one place, whether represented by a CAD model, document, or database-only items. Others in the organization can create a BOM in SOLIDWORKS Manage and leverage the engineering BOM by referencing the SOLIDWORKS assembly. This can be the basis for creating a manufacturing BOM, which can contain additional files, records or items that are necessary to manufacture a product.

SOLIDWORKS Manage provides a much smarter manufacturing approach. Cross-disciplinary teams can leverage a centralized system to easily create, edit and compare Bills of Materials for various stages of the manufacturing process.

Take a deeper dive into all the functionality offered in SOLIDWORKS Manage by watching the video below.


Barb Schmitz

Barb Schmitz

Senior Marketing Communications Manager at SolidWorks
Barb Schmitz is a Senior Manager in Marketing Communications with BA in Journalism and over 30 years of experience in the CAD software industry. She started her career as a journalist covering technology and served as an editor for several leading industry publications for over 20 years. Besides being a sleuth of tech, she is a loyal dog owner, travel bum, mom, lover of hoppy IPAs, red wine, and alternative music lover living in the great city of Chicago.