Specification Data Management vs. Product Data Management

By Matthew Wright, CEO

Specification Data Management vs. Product Data Management

Posted on October 15, 2019
  • October 15, 2019

Specification Data Management vs. Product Data Management

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Specification Data Management™ (SDM™) is relatively new in manufacturing, but its impact is already earning notice. Going above and beyond traditional product data management systems, Spec Data Management provides a single source of truth for DNA-level data that can be shared across departments and organizations to ensure seamless production, intelligent procurement, and optimized transportation along the supply chain.

While there are similarities between Specification Data Management software and product data management software, the two platforms look and function differently. Here’s a brief comparison.

A Product Data Management Overview

product data

Companies need a better way to use and improve their existing product data.

In today’s world of big data, manufacturers are eager to find better, more efficient ways to manage their product data. Product data management (PDM) systems can fill this role by collecting files needed to manufacture and develop products.

Specifically, PDM manages “product versions” and files that engineers need to make and assemble the product. These files are stored and can be accessed by project managers, engineers, buyers, quality control teams, and other stakeholders to minimize confusion and ensure a seamless production process.

PDMs handle information at a high level and typically in document format, which limits the insights users can obtain beyond managing version control. Other critical data such as specifications, sub-assemblies, and Bill of Materials are not addressed with PDMs. For this level of supply chain visibility and transparency, companies are turning to Specification Data Management to go deeper with their data.

What Is Specification Data Management, Then?

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Spec data provides insight into the working of your entire production process.

Specification data includes all product-specific data needed to make a product, along with data related to quality docs, packaging costs, raw materials, bill of materials, SKUs, formulas, packaging materials, labeling, images and more. Therefore, SDM represents a collection of all of the above to unify and simplify downstream operations. It goes much, much deeper than PDM tools, which address versioning challenges instead of spec challenges. It forgoes document-based specifications for digital, live specifications.

When it comes to making products, nothing is more critical than the right specifications. There’s a spec for everything in manufacturing, from what a product is made of to how it’s made to what it looks like after being made. SDM allows users to view details on a DNA-level to drive key business decisions that impact their bottom line. For example, when looking at a Bill of Materials, companies can dial in on what those materials are, where they came from, how much they cost, how they’re used in the manufacturing process, and other key information.

There are countless details involved in the production of a single product and Specification Data Management ensures no detail falls through the cracks.

The Future of Managing Product Data is SDM

While PDMs and product information management systems (PIMs) helped bridge a gap in manufacturing technology, they make it difficult for manufacturers to unify and take action on data across their supply chain. The reality is that PDMs address the symptom, spec versioning, and not the problem: that specifications need to be standardized, digitized, and easily shareable. Put simply, SDM data is “live” and “robust,” while PDM data is “static” and “high level.”

SDM was developed to overcome these challenges and provide a single source of truth for the information needed to make, ship, and sell products. Today, most companies are facing challenges ranging from new regulations to changing consumer tastes, which makes specification management more important than ever before. The organizations that win in this changing environment will be able to harness the power of their product and packaging data to stay ahead of the competition and evolve to meet the demands of tomorrow.

To learn more about SDM software and how it can benefit your organization, book a demo today