Design Management Software is the brainchild of DON CHERRY and CARL BERING from the early 1990's. They came up with a concept for a software package to help project managers reduce their design time while concurrently increasing their productivity. Design Management Software has come a long way since then. It has become an indispensable tool for many companies across the globe. It has evolved to be a complete system that covers design planning/environmental issues, resource estimating, scheduling, and design execution.
Design Management Software (DMS) allows project managers to organize and manage their projects. This software manages design cycles. DMS projects include both software and hardware development. The software handles the design and prototyping as well as the engineering and manufacturing phases. A good DMS will have all the necessary interfaces and wrappers around other design packages such as AutoCAD, Rhino, Solidworks, and Photoshop etc. So DMS can be used by non-programmers too.
A DMS is an ideal solution for a company with thousands of employees spread over hundreds of locations. Large companies with thousands of employees can reap benefits by automating a large number of tasks for the end-user. For instance, the design manager can create custom reports with just a few mouse clicks. This is possible because DMS projects make use of automatic back-ends called E Bravo.
There are two kinds of DMS. The first is the project management system. It provides the capability to track and trace a project as it moves from the initial idea stage to the production phase. The second kind of DMS is the production or design tracking system. It can monitor design changes, material purchases, quality assurance tests, and manufacturing stops. Project tracking and material tracking can be centralized to a single location.
An important DMS feature is a design recall system. By using this feature, a manager can automatically retrieve any design information that was changed during a previous design change. A similar recall capability can also be applied to project testing. With this feature, a test team will be able to check that all requirements were met during a testing phase.
One of the most useful DMS features is the master design database. The database stores ideas that have been approved for implementation and makes it possible to track and coordinate all the different phases of the project. Not only does it help in coordinating the entire design lifecycle but it also helps in managing the time taken for different phases. The design history can be viewed as a map with stages colored in yellow. Each stage can then be selected and viewed so that any necessary changes can be made.
A DMS also integrates with the CRM so that a new client-added service can be automatically added. The project manager can make additions to the collection of jobs based on the specification supplied by the CRM. As new phases of the project are implemented, it becomes easier to generate reports and other data. The project manager can also generate reports for the customer and suppliers at periodic review meetings or via email.
Design management software is designed to integrate seamlessly with all the DMS tools and systems to make the whole design lifecycle more efficient. It is a powerful tool that can help in reducing delays, costs and risks associated with design development. Its key capabilities include: project scheduling, design planning/reworking, design analysis, design control, design optimization, and design review/mediation. It can be used directly by the project manager or can be integrated with existing DMS softwares such as ERP systems and CRM. It is also available as a stand-alone application.