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PDM Structure Tips & Tricks

Structure a Project in TopSolid PDM

The big picture that is “structure”

I am often asked the question “How should I structure a project in TopSolid’PDM?”.  And I often answer with something like…that depends.  Why?  To build a good structure for your process, you must first ask yourself a few questions.  Before you can ask the questions however, you also should understand your end goal.  And to understand the end goal, you need to understand the mission of managing data and how it will flow through your organization.

My goal in this blog post is to help you begin to understand your own work flow.  Then take that workflow and turn into some basic structure within the TopSolid 7 platform.

The mission of data management

Why do you want to manage your data?  It’s a very simple question…but wow the impact of the answer can be intense!  Why?  Managing data (or information) should be in the top 5 of items that have the largest impact on your business.  If it is not, then you might be making a critical business mistake.  The reason I say this is because if you do not manage information within your organization correctly, then you can run into problems like:

  • Misinformation being shared (internally or worse externally)
  • Wrong revisions being manufactured
  • Projects not starting on time
  • Projects starting too soon

The list can go on and on.  Managing your data in a way the follows even a basic structure can ensure that some of these business-critical mistakes are lessoned or better eliminated altogether.  Ask yourself this question:

What would it be worth to your organization if you could eliminate or even minimize the number of mistakes made during the flow of your manufacturing process?

I’ll bet that if you really sat down and thought about this question…the answer would shock you.  And hopefully the answer will motivate you to begin down the path of structure.

Now if we circle back to the first question in this section… Why do you want to manage your data?  The simple question after all will have a simple answer.  You want to structure your data so that you can ensure it flows through your organization in a way that follows the most optimal path while ensuring all parties involved always have the most up-to-date information possible.

The end goal of structure

Structure of a viceNow that you understand why it is important to manage data, it’s time to discuss the structure of data.  In thinking structure, you want to think about what you need to manage and what the parent/child relationships of managing that item might look like.

For example, maybe you build vices.  The overall vice will have a part (or item) number for the final assembly of the vice. Each of the components of the vice will in turn have their own part number.  Each component of the vice would be a child to the main assembly of the vice (called a parent).  Yet still some of the items of the vice are standard off-the-shelf items and might have their own part numbering structure as well. Continue reading Structure a Project in TopSolid PDM