PDM: Product data management

This acronym designates a class of computer programs whos task is the management of documents related to the process of designing a product: where product is generally intended to be the output of a manufacturing process.

PDM programs are often met with in conjunction with CAD programs and so called ERP systems: the former being the source of a large percentage of design document data which are, at some point in their life, sunk in the latter.

An important part of the mission of PDM is managing the BOM (Bill of material) - a list of part numbers that describes the composition of the product, before it is also swallowed by the ERP system.

Working with PDM systems (either as the designer or the user) is often a frustrating experience. As a younger engineer I remember jokingly saying to my colleagues that PDM was really an acronym for "Programma Di Merda" - italian for "shitty program".

A few brand names in PDM: Thinkteam, MatrixOne, Metaphase, Windchill.