Get more out of SOLIDWORKS EPDM

Article by Eric van Essen updated February 22, 2012


So you’ve implemented SolidWorks Enterprise PDM, you’re seeing some benefits, but what’s next, how can you get more out of SolidWorks EPDM?

With the growing list of customers that have invested in SolidWorks Enterprise PDM, I thought it would be a good idea to put together a list of common services and added functionality that customers have been requesting from us.  The purpose is to let our EPDM customer base know that you are not on your own and there are lots you can do with the system to get a bigger impact on your business.  This list is by no means all inclusive and if there is anything you would like help with related to EPDM, please do not hesitate to ask us.

1) Upgrading your current Vault

Our most common services for our clients are assisting with upgrades to the latest release.  The latest version of SolidWorks Enterprise PDM offers a number of enhancements including the new integrated search functionality.  With so many people relying on the vault, it becomes risky business taking it offline for an upgrade. But our professional implementation team knows exactly how to do this without your business missing a beat.

2) Upgrade your SolidWorks files

Just because the EPDM vault is upgraded, does not mean that all the files are converted to the latest version.  There are incredibly useful utilities that we have been involved with that can help with this file conversion.

3) Web portal options and mobile phone connection

Many customers have not heard the exciting news yet that there is a new web portal in town.  This new web portal is programmed in ASP.NET so it is device independent and can be accessed while you are on the road.  Work with us to figure out which web portal is best suited for your needs and have a look at the video below to catch a glimpse of the new one.

4) Monitor license usage

It can be challenging as an EPDM administrator to figure out how many licenses are required to handle the team’s usage requirements.  Luckily, we have a great new tool that we can setup for you that keeps track of historical license usage so at any point in time you can see what the peaks in usage have been and plan for licenses accordingly.

5) Expanding to other departments

Although most customers start using Enterprise PDM in the engineering department, it has become quite evident that this is not the only department that requires control and automation to the documentation that they handle.  Departments that have direct interaction with engineering are prime candidates like purchasing and manufacturing, but there are many benefits to consider for other departments like sales, HR or legal.  Please talk to us about where you can go next with EPDM in your company and learn about some new upgrade paths for bulk licenses.

6) Document automation service

My personal favourite capability of EPDM is the template functionality combined with a workflow that is unique to the template type.  This opens up a variety of possibilities with how you work at your company.  Because these are used so often in combination, Javelin has decided to offer them as a bundle to clients to add on new standards and processes at their company.  If you still have a paper process at your company or are using standard Microsoft Office Excel or Microsoft Office Word forms outside of the vault, let’s see how we can take you to the next level of document automation.

7) Predefined templates available on our web store

EPDM templates and workflows can be easily saved and shared for transfer into other vaults.  There are a number of templates that we have created that we have decided to post in our webstore for a very reasonable price.  Some of these include: SR&ED Time tracking, ECR’s and Quoting tool.  Look for them soon or e-mail me if you would like to have direct access to them.  Below is a screen shot of the reporting capabilities of the SR&ED time tracking solution.

SR&ED time tracking solution

SR&ED time tracking solution

8) Administration training course

Just because you have an EPDM Administrator on site, does not mean you shouldn’t continue to educate other staff on the capabilities.  In the past we have always done administration training onsite at our customers but we are at a point where we will start running some more regular public courses to bring the cost down.  Contact us to find out when we will be scheduling the next Administration course.

9) EPDM partner products

There are a variety of solutions that fit on top of EPDM to extend the functionality.  We have partnered with many of these third party developers around the world to bring the best product offering to the Canadian market;  tracking transmittals to contractors or customers, Configuration Management, and Microsoft Office extended functionality are just a few additional capabilities to note.   It is important to be aware of the existing offerings because with over 70,000 users of EPDM out there, there is likely someone else that has already done what you want to do.

10) Enterprise Assistant

Having an assistant would be nice, but having an assistant that works all night without pay would be even nicer.  Enterprise Assistant is a Javelin developed application that is designed to monitor and execute predetermined tasks on the files in your vault.  If you still feel like you are doing repetitive work, let’s see if Enterprise Assistant is an employee that you would want to hire.

11) Custom Dashboards

Dashboards are becoming more and more popular.  This is why we have explored a number of ways to make them accessible to our client base.  There are two main options for providing a dashboard overview of the files in the vault.   The first option are pie charts that can be integrated into the new web portal offering.  These pie charts can be used to navigate workflow status search results.  The other method is Office2PDM which includes a dashboard that is integrated into Microsoft Outlook.  Ask us about license pricing and options.



12) Integration with ERP

There are a variety of ways we have been helping clients integrate with ERP.  It can be as simple as using the XML export options from EPDM or as complex as writing a custom application that monitors both EPDM and your ERP to help bridge the information you need at the right time.  Regardless of the solution, it is important to have a strategy in place to make sure that the most affordable methods are used that reap the greatest benefit for your company.  We would be happy to spend some time with you recommending options on how to achieve this.

Please contact us if you would like any information on the offerings above or really, anything else you would like to do with EPDM.

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Eric van Essen

I have been working with Javelin for 10 years and now have the role as director of products where I oversee the ramp up of new solutions for our customers or potential customers.