PDM: Manage & Secure Your Engineering Data

In engineering, design that could once only be accomplished by manual drafting can now be done digitally using CAD software. With so many new software options for designing and testing models — including 2D CAD, 3D CAD, and design validation — engineers need a way to securely store and manage their data. The solution? Product data management software.


What is PDM?

Our engineers define product data management, or PDM, as business technology used by people who produce and consume product data to securely share, regulate, version control and track a product's intellectual property throughout its lifecycle. This intellectual property could be a variety of data such as CAD models, product specifications, drawings, sketches, bills of material, and emails.

Real Cost of Losing Data

What are the Benefits of PDM?

The biggest benefit of using PDM is its ability to reduce the amount of time spent accessing, managing, and using CAD data. Companies that spend excessive amounts of time on these basic functions can take a substantial hit to their productivity, especially when storing data on a shared file server or collaborating between multiple users. PDM software eliminates this issue by:

  • • securely indexing data for fast retrieval
  • • integrating workflows that automate your design
  • • simplifying collaboration
  • • preventing data loss and improving accuracy through version control

According to a study by the Aberdeen Group, PDM users saw a 15% decrease in development time and reused data 68% of the time versus 58% for non-PDM users.

What are the Applications of PDM?

PDM is most commonly used by companies involved in manufacturing, where time to market and product quality are critical. The software’s ability to automate the design and approval process has made it popular with companies looking to improve speed and collaboration, as well as companies looking to leverage its revision control to avoid costly mistakes.

SW Manage

What is PDM in Project Management?

PDM can also be useful in project management, where tools like SOLIDWORKS Manage allows organizations to “plan each stage of their projects, assign resources and tasks, and attach required documentation to the project.” Project managers can eliminate tedious tasks with automatic updates, access important data with dashboards and reports, and even define complex business processes to company standards. Greater insight into projects and a streamlined workflow make it easier for managers to make important decisions and keep work on track.

Which PDM Software is Right for Me?

Although there are multiple companies that offer PDM software, we recommend SOLIDWORKS PDM for its wide range of capabilities and easy-to-use interface. Like most SOLIDWORKS products, the PDM product line includes multiple options so each company can find a solution to best fits their needs.


SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard “is a data management solution for smaller workgroup environments in a single location.” Included in both SOLIDWORKS Professional and Premium packages, SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard offers secure access, revision control, integrated search, and an audit trail — everything you need to find, reuse, and manage your engineering data.


• Building on the features of SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard, SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional works for both small and large organizations seeking scalability, remote access, automated approval process, and more.


SOLIDWORKS Manage “provides SOLIDWORKS customers with a unique set of advanced data management tools. This is accomplished by leveraging the file management capabilities and ease-of-use of SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional and adding powerful project, process and item management capabilities.”

You can find the full list of features for both SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard and SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional here (pdf).

PDM Resources

For more information on PDM, you can contact our experts or reference the PDM resources below:

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Data Management:
Increasing Productivity Through a Single Solution
- White Paper
Don’t Skimp on Product Data Management - Video
SOLIDWORKS PDM - Product Pages
SOLIDWORKS PDM Installation Guide - Guide
Ringbrothers - Case Study