I worked for a company that found that its dozens of disparate PDM systems were a source of inefficiency and thus wasted money. Checking three different PDM systems was by definition inefficient and a waste of time. Add in the effort to maintain all these systems, their servers, redundant user accounts and you can see why this was far from ideal.
The logical solution was migration to a single PDM system. It required multiple migrations, but a common PDM system evolved. IT support costs, user efficiency and licensing costs went down.
However, a single software system is not always the right solution.
SAP has a strong financial and payroll system. Visiprise Manufacturing is a good inventory tracking system. However, when it comes to its manufacturing management system, the process of creating routers is notoriously difficult. PTC’s Windchill application is a decent PDM application. It can be used as a content management system. However, it can’t track as-built configuration information for individual assemblies or track depot parts. Each tool has its strengths, they all have their weaknesses.
The mistake an organization could make is trying to eliminate software tools that are not actually redundant.
Let’s take a different example, many small businesses use QuickBooks or another financial software application. These tools track spending, generate invoices and print pay checks for employees. These applications may be able to handle MRP with an add-on module, but otherwise trying to use this tool to track inventory, manage to do lists, track team calendars or store legal documents isn’t ideal.
It easy to say, “There should be only one.” However, the caveat is that there should be only one tool in the organization per category or intended purpose. You cannot use a single tool to run many businesses, or you’ll be as inefficient as the company that has too many tools.