Product data management (PDM) is the process of capturing and managing the electronic information related to a product so it can be reused in business processes such as design, production, distribution and marketing. It usually involves the use of a dedicated software application and centralized database.
PDM typically encompasses multiple products' technical specifications, engineering models, design drawings, bills of materials (BOMs) and related documents. PDM software provides version control and security to ensure that the information stored in the central repository is accurate and up to date, which in turn can reduce data processing and make operations, such as manufacturing, more efficient. While engineers are typically the heaviest users, PDM is also employed by operations managers, salespeople, marketers and others who work with a product throughout its lifecycle.
PDM is a precursor and major component of product lifecycle management (PLM), a broader strategy for managing and collaborating around product information. PDM sprung from the computer-aided design (CAD) industry as a way to track CAD drawings and information. While PDM is a standard component of PLM, it is also offered as a dedicated module in many ERP suites.
A synonym, product information management (PIM) has mostly fallen out of use.