The story of standards is always fascinating. I love these stories on my blog and spent quite a lot of time talking to people about standards. Do you know what is common between standards and toothbrushes? Here, you go –“standards and toothbrushes -everyone needs to use them, but nobody wants to use someone else’s”. So, I was reading Arena Solutions blog yesterday – Why you should be using the PDX File Standard.
For the sake of truth, I had a chance to speak to Arena PLM folks few weeks ago. Here are some of my thoughts about PDXViewer.
PDXViewer. The need is here.
The idea of sharing information using free tools isn’t new. The story, in a nutshell, is simple. Your company will keep PLM system (actually any enterprise system controlling information is good for this story) and it will control the information you need in your company. However, as Arena’s blog is stating, your problem will be to share the information with people outside of your company.
The point of purchasing a PLM or PDM system is to simplify and centralize your BOMs and other product data. But once your BOMs, Items, AMLs and associated content exist in a structured format, you are faced with a new problem—how do you share your data with vendors and internal players who aren’t plugged into your PLM or PDM system?
You can ask how do you deal with the problem now. The madness of sharing data is here. The following quote brings you the top stories about possible (and impossible) ways company use to share data.
Without PDX files, preparing a build package for delivery is a mixture of black magic, blood, sweat and data from a business system. In some companies, one person is hired or trained to access the system for the sole purpose of sending data to suppliers once or twice a year. At other companies, data is pulled manually out of the PLM system by the design engineers, who put the data into an Excel spreadsheet and send it to suppliers in binders or zip files.
Why to use PDXViewer
You may find the “PDXViewer” way quite powerful. Pull data out of your PLM system, publish or send it in PDX format. Use free tool. I think many people will find it useful. I found user experience of PDXViewer nice. What you practically do is to export subset of your data and access it with a limited set of functionality. Another benefit – the level of encapsulation file gives you – you don’t need to go in multiple places to search for the information you need.
What concern do I have
My main concern is “file”. This is my usual suspect for problems. Don’t take me wrong – files are good and mankind is using files for the last 40+ years with various computer systems. However, when I move my thoughts towards the cloud and the internet, files become actually my concern. How do you manage files? What is the right (or last) revision of your file? Another significant problem is related to the changes. In case you allow to make changes to data outside of your system you burned to support multiple data synchornization, which is very painful for all people involved into this process.
What is my conclusion? I found two absolute advantages of PDXViewer – it is free, and you can enjoy a simple user interface. It definitely solves the problem of people accessing information outside of the company firewall and serves IT concerns about non-company users accessing information inside of the company. At the same time, I have a concern about files. In other words, I think there is a “better way” to organize people’s access to the information. Sending files can be a good solution, but it can get complicated within the time. Just my thoughts…