PDM, Solidworks

PDM customers have ONE BIG Pain!… Learn what it is NOW and how to FIX IT

09 Oct

“It’s amazing how productive doing nothing can be.” – Kevin Flynn (Tron: Legacy 2010)

Today is March 1st, 2018 and I’ve just finished my morning meetings with some new clients who have just expressed what I believe is the biggest pain point we hear about in from our 50+ PDM consulting clients.

What’s the biggest pain you feel with SOLIDWORKS PDM?

  1. Customer support?
  2. API development?
  3. Understanding Dispatch?
  4. ERP integration?
  5. Configuring Version Free variables?

Today’s Blogging Goal

To understand what every customer’s biggest pain point is so you understand you are not alone in your PDM struggles!

#1 Biggest PAIN Point we hear from our customers:

“Users struggling just to use the system on a daily basis.”

We emphasize the fact that this is a “struggle” and most PDM admins fight to get users to check out, check in, and transition documents in PDM on a daily basis.

What does this mean?

SOLIDWORKS PDM became a product in 2006 when SOLIDWORKS acquired Conisio. Since that time, the VAR channel has done a splendid job promoting the vision of integrating a stable data management product into the product development value stream. Through sales and training, SOLIDWORKS PDM has become a well known product offering that has numerous powerful features, however, our client base of 50+ PDM customers who subscribe to our monthly PDM consulting subscription or who subscribe to our Outsourced PDM Administration subscription, struggle to simply use the check out, check in, and transition process.

Where the Pain begins…

The pain begins when visionary PDM admins “see” the power PDM brings and introduce cool features like renaming files when they are checked in, assigning part numbers using templates, or write .Net add-ins that automate features like attaching file references.

But how does this apply to me as an end user of PDM? Great question! Most everyday PDM users tend to want/demand very few things when they go to work:

  1. Know what work is expected of me today, tomorrow, and this week.
  2. Know where to get that work I need to do.
  3. Know where to find “written” instructions on how to do it…similar to work instructions but please don’t bury in a formal ISO document.
  4. Get Tools and Training to assist me in making sure I get it right for the company.
  5. Be able to report what work I have done to my boss every week.

NOTE: Results of customer surveys.

It’s simple. Users need to know what to do, where to do it, and instructions, tools and training to do it, and have reports on what they did.

As a SOLIDWORKS user for the last 15+ years, a PDM user for the last 12 years, AutoCAD user for the last 28 years, AutoLISP programmer since 1994, .Net developer since 2002, etc. I have developed a ton of automation functionality and subsequently built a company around it. And understanding what users actually need is my passion.

How to resolve this pain point

Although we would love to work with you to help you resolve your pain points, we can’t sell you a “Fix All” solution that completely remove your pain but simply understanding this is a very common pain point will help you identify where to begin resolving your most common need.

Here are some guidelines to help you get through the pain:

  1. Start simple. The best solutions carry the burden of being highly complex on the back end so the front end is easy to understand and use. Everyone who loves sausage, wants to eat the sausage…they don’t want to know how it’s made. Trust me on that one 🙂
  2. Avoid automation until the basics are mastered.
  3. Assume your users are smart!
  4. Listen to your users. The voice of your customer is your input to a real solution they can grow into not out of.
  5. Find where your users get their “food” and make sure they can get to it easily. Their food is their work and if they are hungry, they will make sure they get fed.
  6. Be relatable first. Connect with your users daily by having coffee or taking breaks with them. But make sure you stay relatable and that you aren’t always selling a new bit of technology that will help them.
  7. Go to bat for your users. Defend them to your boss and give them the benefit of the doubt at every opportunity.
  8. Avoid talking negatively about the PDM solution at ALL cost! If you must say negative comments about it, complain up the chain of command OR talk with your VAR/reseller about how to find a solution! Your opinion of the PDM Solution will set the pace for the entire PDM user base in your company.
  9. Offer lunch and learn training where you cater in lunch once per week or once per month on the company.
  10. Promote attending the local SOLIDWORKS User Group meeting and VAR rollout events! Engage them with real world solution providers and a network to expand their knowledge! Everyone loves to learn.


Lastly, in The Q!, we have designed our End-To-End Solution around this core concept because we believe that when users have the core concepts mastered, they are more efficient in their work which saves time and money.

Make it a great 2018!


This entry was posted in PDM, Solidworks

Tim’s Blog

Tim Webb

Tim Webb

Tim is an all around SolidWorks guru and everything in between. Tim shares HOW TO topics, tips & tricks, using the API to create addins, and expanding the boundaries of the scope of EPDM deployment.