Arena Blog

Why You Should Be Using The Pdx File Standard

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PDXViewer ScreenshotThe 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?

At Arena, we have built a robust way to invite trusted suppliers into your decision making process, but there are still occasions in which you need a quick, easy way to send product data to one-time, transactional partners. That’s why I am so excited about Arena PDXViewer—it makes assembling and sending build packages, quote requests and BOMs easy.

If you’re already using a PDX viewer, I encourage you to try Arena PDXViewer—it’s web-based, easy to use and works on any computer. If you’re unfamiliar with PDX—read on to learn how this XML-based standard can revolutionize the way you connect with your suppliers.

Life before PDX

If you’re not using PDX files to share comprehensive product data (including AMLs, BOMs, change orders, etc.) you can probably relate to how difficult it is to make your BOM accessible to external teams.

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.

There are several problems with the manual methods of data sharing. For one thing, it’s nearly impossible to maintain the original BOM indentation when you export to Excel or try to print, and you may end up making PDFs of screen shots to try and maintain the original format. If you need to get rid of confidential data before sending your data, the process takes even longer. You quickly end up using tools like Paint or Acrobat, or find yourself at the printer with scissors, Wite-Out and a glue stick.

It’s amazing how many time-consuming, error-prone methods there are for getting product data out of a PLM system, when all you really need is a simple, standardized format for sharing PLM data.

A case for PDX

If you’re sick of all the workarounds, you may be ready for PDX—an open IPC XML-based standard with a solid and devoted following.

PDX is a great way to maximize your PLM usage because it incorporates suppliers—and anyone else who can’t access your PLM system—into your process in a clean, secure way.

PDX acknowledges that not everyone will be a PLM power user, and takes the burden off of engineers and doc control to get data from business systems for colleagues and vendors.  For power PLM users who have to work with a wide variety of people, PDX means easy data consolidation and sharing. Suppliers can even use PDX to run exports with BOM attachments as needed, or take the information and upload it into a variety of systems.

The PDX standard is fast, but more importantly, it minimizes errors. Because PDX is a read-only snapshot, you don’t have to worry that your data will get tampered with or that errors will be introduced to your BOM. PDX really is a fool-proof way to get structured product data out of your business system, and get it to the people who need it.

PDXViewer—a PDX viewer from Arena

As we announced earlier this year, Arena offers a free PDX viewer that is more convenient, and easier to use than any other PDX viewer on the market.

Based on customer feedback, we recently updated the Arena PDXViewer interface and added the ability to highlight BOM substitutes. We believe these updates really increase the value of PDXViewer, and extend its functionality even further.

We have already seen how useful PDX can be, and we are committed to improving the process for Arena customers and other users. If you have never used PDX, I would urge you to give Arena PDXViewer a try. It works with SAP, Agile, Arena BOMControl, Teamcenter and WebSphere systems.

About the Author

Victor Gill

As the product manager for PDXViewer at Arena, Victor is focused on helping companies streamline communication and management of their product data. With 10+ years of experience in manufacturing and ...

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