Organize Data to Better Manage a Product Lifecycle


Problem: As a product moves from initial design to service and disposal in a global marketplace, manufacturers have a huge amount of data to keep track of, leading to logistical headaches.

CADLearning Expert Solution: Use Autodesk Vault in conjunction with your design software and Product Lifecycle Management software to maintain a leaner, more efficient organization.

One of the biggest time-wasters within any company is duplication of efforts. If the drafting department already has determined part sizes, properties and bill of material information, the next department shouldn’t have to spend time reproducing that information. With Vault, companies are able to better share data, control versions, manage revisions, and ensure accountability. By keeping all drawings, communications, and processes in one central location, companies experience less waste, fewer redundancies, lower material costs, and less fluctuation.

When beginning to work in Vault, there are some important data management acronyms to become familiar with. The first is Product Data Management (PDM). Software such as Vault Workgroup falls into this category. PDM simply refers to the management of data. This includes the basic capabilities of Vault, such as file security, historical version management, and file links and connections.

Another system that is often discussed in manufacturing companies is ERP or MRP. ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. MRP stands for Manufacturing Resource Planning. Whereas Vault manages CAD data within the drafting department itself, an ERP or MRP system will take the data from Vault and manage it throughout the company. Data may include what stock material is to be used, where that stock is located, what machine the piece is to be cut on, and so on.

PLM, or Product Lifecycle Management, is less concerned with the models and drawings themselves, and is more concerned about the data’s lifecycle. PLM essentially tracks and manages revisions, releases, change orders, and more within the context of the entire business, rather than just the design or engineering office. Using Product Lifecycle Management software, such as Autodesk PLM 360, in conjunction with Vault Professional, provides for a powerful lifecycle monitoring system.

Basic PDM products, such as Vault Basic, make the transition into the world of PLM easier by helping organizations become more accustomed to properly managing data. This is a great way to prepare to take the next step into higher editions of Vault, which provide for better integration with PLM tools. By taking the data that already exists in the PDM side, products like Autodesk PLM 360 are able to continue and add to that data. Through the use of items within Vault Professional, users can control lifecycle states, such as Work In Progress, Released, and Obsolete. When changes occur, they can be tracked and managed through the Change Order workflows.

Once the systems are connected, duplication of efforts is avoided nearly entirely. Bill of material information, property data, and more can be easily transferred back and forth.

The process of working between PDM and PLM systems, such as Vault and Autodesk PLM 360, can save a great deal of time, avoid countless issues, and open communications amongst colleagues.

CADLearning Playlist of the Week: Manage Product Lifecycles

  1. Introducing the ADMS Console
  2. Creating and Working with Vaults
  3. Introducing the Vault Client  
  4. Understanding Lifecycles
  5. Controlling Lifecycles
  6. Setting up lifecycles  
  7. Working with lifecycles and items 
  8. Working Through an ECO Process

Did You Know? CADLearning provides in-application performance support. Users can access our expertly-created content while actively working on a project IN application using the free CADLearning Plug-In.

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