7 Replies Latest reply on Oct 19, 2015 8:40 AM by Brian McEwen

    ECP Using workflows

    Wayne Easton

      We are soon to go live with EPDM, however, I need to see if I can make the ECP (Engineering change proposal) process more user friendly. Unfortunately we did not purchase any EPDM collaborator licenses, only CAD editor for designers and then viewers for everyone else.

       

      Anyone must be able to raise an ECP using a viewer license. The only way to do this from what we could tell was to include a ECP transition in our workflow where the user can enter details of their change request in the transition comments section.

       

      At first it seemed like this could work, however, it seems like it could be a problem in future. There is not an obvious way in which we can "package" the associated files to that specific change request. ie. If there are multiple users changing the state of multiple files to Change request, the person responsible for approving the change request has no easy way to see all the files related to a specific ECP.

       

      Does anyone perhaps have a suggestion of how we can group files associated to a change request?

       

      Is it possible to have an ECP variable which is automatically written to during the state change with a serial number? That way perhaps the person responsible for approving the request could then filter by ECP number?

        • Re: ECP Using workflows
          Prasad Bhonsule

          Hi Wayne, is your ECP an actual document? such as a word or excel document?

           

          Most times when my customers have enquired about ECP/ECN processes, they have a ECP document.

           

          You can then create a EPDM template which uses this document as a source and creates a new file everytime the template is run, places it in the vault, names it according to rules or serial numbers you set up. You can then attach files to it, using the Paste as reference functionality within EPDM.

           

          Normally people would have two workflows, one for their CAD files, and one for the ECP documents. You can even name transitions within the workflows the same, so that as you "release" the ECP document, the associated CAD files are "released" as well.

           

          I hope this helps, let me know if oyu have any questions.

           

          Thanks

           

          Prasad

          • Re: ECP Using workflows
            Tim Webb

            Hi Wayne

             

            Prasad is correct, most EC's are managed by a representative EC document which acts like a vehicle for capturing the scope of changes and it isn't that difficult to setup.

             

            Not selling anything here on this post, just providing an idea of just one way this can be done and how I have implemented it in the past.

             

            Take a look at this demo video of "how" this can be done. It can be useful but come to your own conclusions. I have also used XML documents to handle this when I don't need an actual microsoft word document to open. Much easier to implement and manage.

             

            Hope this helps,

            Tim CEPA

            • Re: ECP Using workflows
              Brian McEwen

              "Anyone must be able to raise an ECP using a viewer license. The only way to do this from what we could tell was to include a ECP transition in our workflow where the user can enter details of their change request in the transition comments section."

               

              Viewers cannot change state on files.  I don't see how they would be able to participate other than creating a document outside the vault and getting it to someone with a CAD Editor or Contributor license. 

               

              As a means to manage files included in change - Paste As Reference is highly overrated in my opinion. We use a Version Free data card variable (CurrentECO) - and write the ECO number there - then we transition all the files based on a search for that ECO number. You have to go out of your way to find/select the files just once, and then very smooth. 

               

              See also:

              Re: Automate "Paste As Reference"

              • Re: ECP Using workflows
                Wayne Easton
                Viewers cannot change state on files

                Are you certain? From our trials, the viewer license allows workflow participation. The viewer license does not allow for files to be created / added to the vault. They can not create a engineering change document and paste affected files as reference to this change request document.

                 

                Our alternative was to create a change request state which the viewer could send files to using a transition. The problem is that there is currently no way I can tie the transitioned files together.

                 

                Your suggestion of adding a version free variable may be my answer. How do you write the ECO number into that field on the data card for all the parts? Is this automated in some way? Is the ECO number a serial number?

                  • Re: ECP Using workflows
                    Brian McEwen

                    I stand corrected!  Good to know change state is possible.  I was mislead by my VAR.  And the Viewer license type is indeed able to edit Version Free (VF) variables. Thanks for prompting me to test this stuff!

                     

                    So VF variables are definitely a good way for you to link those files.  It can be done manually for each file, by typing it on the data card, and then saving the change to the card.  Mostly painless.

                     

                    As far as automating it - I have only found a way to do that if the files are in the same folder, or if they can all be called up by a search (which is what you are trying to accomplish, so a Catch 22). Then you can use Dispatch to add the ECO number to all selected files (triggered by Right Click menu). Script below.

                    In our system it is really not bad to locate and tag the files for an Engineering Change - for us there is no way to eliminate human judgement, every EC is so different, so it is just a matter of at what step do you want a human deciding what to include in the EC?  This method means you don't have to worry about it at every transition after that, and you can add or remove files from the EC at any point. Our normal search is set to not include All Versions by default - that helps with removing files from an EC, if I remember correctly.

                     

                    Furthermore - with the VF ECO variable - I write it to a regular variable when the file is released - that creates better tracking so you can search on old ECO numbers and find all the files involved.

                     

                    Another idea is that since Viewers can edit VF variables they can put the change request info into another VF variable (multiline edit box). [or into several variables, if you have a certain structure you want the requestor to follow] That seems better than using the transition comments. You can create a data card tab for ECP Comments or something like that.

                      • Re: ECP Using workflows
                        Wayne Easton

                        Hi Brian,

                         

                        I am finally back on this task trying to work on a solution. Our files will all be in one folder so a user will simply select the files they want to push through the ECP transition. They must not have to think about manually typing in an ECP number. I want the number to be written to the files automatically (Preferably from an EPDM serial number).

                         

                        The issue is that I can't find a way to have a serial number value written to the files using an action / dispatch.

                         

                        The link to the post touches on the EPDM limitation causing the issue for me.

                        https://forum.solidworks.com/thread/54316

                         

                        Do you have any pearls of wisdom which may lead me to a suitable solution?

                         

                        Thanks

                          • Re: ECP Using workflows
                            Brian McEwen

                            Not really wisdom, that is a bit outside my experience. But I can speculate!   So the serial number apparently can't be easily stored in a variable, to be passed to a Dispatch script and written to all the files.

                             

                            But the SN can be generated when adding a file to the vault... especially easy with an EPDM template - so you could create a file (virtual, .doc, .xls, or whatever) with a template, and attach some of the ECP info to that data card (and/or inside the file) - and the ECP number is generated by an EPDM serial number. Then you select that parent file and all the files you want to write the ECP number to, and run a Dispatch script to copy the ECP number to all of them... I think that can be done (tho I'd have to think about the Dispatch algorithm more). I guess you would get the ECP number from the file name of the ECP template file.

                             

                            Or - if you have an ERP system - you could create the next ECP there first, and then export a file (probably .xml)  to a shared folder where EPDM can check to get the next ECP number.  See the Import/Export tools. And... I'm not sure of a lot of the details with that path.  But may be some possibilities by passing data between the two systems.