PDM is a technology of the past, CPD is the future

If you have more than one engineer in your company then you’ve had to figure out a way to manage CAD files. If you have a lot of engineers you’ve probably looked at tools like Product Data Management (PDM) or Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems. And chances are when you looked at these solutions, you noticed too many problems.


Specifically, PDM and PLM don’t work the way you do. We think there’s a better way, and we’re calling it “Collaborative Product Development” (CPD).

“Oh good!” I can hear you thinking,  “Another acronym!  That will make everything better!”. Bear with me. There’s a reason we’re using this term, and it’s not because we like acronyms.

If you’re worried about CAD file management, it is probably because you’ve run into one or more of the following problems:

  • Engineers work on the same file at the same time, resulting in wasted time and lost work

  • Engineers run out of hard drive space because they make copies of CAD files whenever they make major changes as a way of tracking versions

  • There are hundreds of copies of the same CAD model floating around the network because each engineer made a new copy to work on, and as a result no one knows which is the latest version

  • Engineers can’t find previous designs so waste time starting over again

  • When someone saves over a file by mistake, there’s no easy way to revert to an earlier version, so you waste time redoing the work

  • Partners and suppliers sometimes get the wrong version, and might even make prototypes or production parts from it, wasting money

If you’ve had these problems, you’re ready for a CAD file management system.

What’s wrong with PDM?

Until recently, you would likely look at a PDM solution. And like many before you, you would likely immediately see that there are a lot of drawbacks with existing solutions, which can be summed up with the phrase, “They don’t work the way you do”. For example:

Your team is distributed...

but PDM requires a central server and often makes it hard to access files remotely

You work from home ...

but PDM requires a VPN to access files

You want to spend time designing not filling out forms...

but PDM requires forms and configuration and overhead for each project

You want to get going immediately...

but PDM requires installation, configuration, and training

Your team want to be engineers not act as IT admins...

but a PDM requires someone to configure, manage, and maintain

You need to collaborate with non-CAD users outside your company ...

but PDM requires every user to have a paid seat

You have a limited budget...

but PDM requires large upfront license, service and hardware expenses

If you’re a small or mid-sized business, PLM systems are even less appropriate, with a focus on complex workflows, business process automation, and integration with enterprise systems.

You need a CAD file management system that is easy to set up and use, that enables you to work with your team members whoever and wherever they are, and that will grow with you.  Welcome to Collaborative Product Development.

What is CPD?

CPD takes the features of traditional file management tools like PDM, adds collaboration tools, and removes IT headaches.

  • All the benefits of PDM - File syncing, file locking, version and revision control, release processes, and more.

  • Cloud-based infrastructure - Eliminate IT overhead, work from anywhere, get started immediately.

  • Built for teamwork - Sharing is built in.  It’s easy for non-CAD users to see models, easy for anyone to comment or markup a model.

Obviously the CPD tool we’re most excited about is our own GrabCAD Workbench, which we’ve recently made generally available and which has gotten some great reviews recently from Engineering.com, GraphicSpeak, and PLM ThinkTank.

CPD is the future

If you’re struggling with file management or CAD file sharing, we think you’ll like the ease of use, flexibility, and control of CPD.  And we think you’ll agree that other file management approaches are history.
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