We have done many PDM implementations over the last decade and still one of the most intriguing dilemmas is the question about who should have access to product data.
On one hand everybody agrees that people need good information about how to build a product. PDM helps in providing this information in form of documents, information and references. People who design, manufacture and install the products use it to see how it should be detailed, made, assembled, etc.
On the other hand, we are afraid that somebody will run away with this information and starts building these products without us having the economical compensation for it (say: “money”). Within a single site company these discussions are still moderate, but as soon as affiliated production facilities in exotic countries or outsourced engineering workforce in regions with many, well-educated engineering professionals come into the picture, it becomes delicate.
I would like to bring this back to simple economical proportions like you would do for insurance situations. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Ask yourself the question: how much do I invest to prevent what kind of risk. In other words: what is the risk if someone (internally or at a co-working partner) is running away with information and what energy in terms of overhead, extra access management, additional checks, etc. do you have to put to prevent them from running away with the information.
The challenge is to find the best balance and explain this to both sides: the people who are expressing their intuitive feelings about IP leakage and those who have to work harder to secure this data.