Rob Evans, Altium Ltd.(03/19/2007 9:00 AM EDT), EE Times
Today's design-to-manufacture process for electronic products typically includes hardware and software design, mechanical CAD, procurement and manufacturing as well as marketing and distri- bution. With such a disparate range of disciplines, the task of coordinating the flow of information can be daunting.
The ability to maintain design data integrity throughout the development process is becoming the single most critical factor for market success. The most brilliant design will not reach the market within budget or on time if data management allows incorrect or corrupt design data to propagate through the process. The most effective way to implement effective data management is to scale its capabilities progressively to your organization's needs and budget.
While formalized document version control is common in software development, its application on the hardware side of product development has been limited. This is in part due to the inability of design systems to integrate data management into the design process. For example, the ability to compare graphical schematic and pc board files is sadly missing from many board-level design environments.
By progressively introducing data management systems and matching them to the needs of your organization, and by implementing design software that integrates data management into the design environment, you can gain many of the benefits of a formal product life-cycle management (PLM) system without the major investment.
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