Sounds like you are about to embark on a fantastic journey into uncharted waters!! This is a common process problem not a technology problem, so your solution needs to be a process solution not a technology solution. This will take some work on your part but it is worth it. Sure, a program for auto-check in is an easy quick fix, but I urge you NOT to take that route and I think the other EPDM gurus on this forum will also recommend the same. You need to get to the root cause and give your users the benefit of the doubt while you are at it.
First, I would not recommend dealing with a process problem of this magnitude by introducing a technology solution, it will only further "enable" the behavior. Especially without knowing what is driving this behavior.
Second, maybe it's just a training thing? Can they get training on how to check files in? Would some tutorial videos on your own private company YouTube channel library help?
Third, I'm sure you have evaluated whether or not the system performance is the underlying root cause, right? Maybe they aren't checking in files due to the perceived lag time? Is it a time thing?
Fourth, they need to have skin in the game. Period. Don't baby them, give them accountability and hold them to it. You have accountability as the admin, right? Who do you answer to if you don't follow procedure? Same question for them.
Fifth, has leadership adopted the stance that PDM "is" the solution the company "will" use? Do they talk about it often? Do they bring it up in meetings?
Giving your users the benefit of the doubt, users usually just need to realize they *really* need to adopt the technology "the company adopted and paid for" because without it, they will cost your company money if something happens to any of their computers (hard drive crash, CPU crash, motherboard crash, etc.) while there are files checked out on them. Besides, how do they collaborate with each other if files are never checked in? How do they work with the right versions on assemblies? How do their drawings update? The questions can go on and on.
Lastly, know the difference between CAN, WILL, CAN'T, & WON'T. http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/attitude-cant-or-wont.html
- The user CAN do the work if they have the time, training, resources, etc.
- The user WILL do the work if they have the time, training, resources, etc.
- The user CAN'T do the work even if they have the time, training, resources, etc.
- The user WON'T do the work even if they could. <<< This is the most dangerous of them all because they deliberately make up their minds NOT to do the work even if they could. It's an attitude issue. These are non-workable and though rare, just one of these can affect an entire organization.
As a side note, you need to ask yourself where you, as an admin being paid by your company to be an admin, will draw the line and say "enough is enough, they have to use the system the company paid for!" Even on a basic level, I mean checking files in...wow. Not rocket science and doesn't take long. Again, how does anybody work together if they don't?
Thermo 101: A work input is required to offset chaos. It will take a little work to keep order and use a "system", chaos is easy.
My recommendation is to offer 2 solutions:
- Once daily check-ins using saved searches showing each user's checked out files. The admin can set these up and show them how they are used.
- Weekly check-ins using the same saved search but caution about lost work if something happens to their computers before each check-in.
The end result needs to be "files will be checked in", you just need to determine how often. Maybe you or someone in leadership can begin championing the PDM solution, develop a campaign to work with them, introduce a new video each week, blog about it, see if you can foster change in a tough environment. This is your time to shine.
Hope this helps,
People have momentum - routines, habits, and lack thereof. People also take time. An automated daily check in feature at the user or group level would benefit the company by removing it from process. People know they have to check in, but it takes resources to enforce it. Automated tasks don't get forgotten or purposefully neglected like process-based tasks.
Maybe I'm jaded, but we're all capable of being can'ts or won'ts depending on the day, and something like a daily auto-check-in feature would be a tremendous help. At the very least, a weekend check in for all unopen checked out files in the vault would be amazing.
Perhaps it's because a PDM system is usually thought of as something for medium to large companies. I could see how important the process could be in those situations, especially using the life-cycle management end of things, but at a smaller company, you can literally yell over the wall, "Hey is this thing ready to go yet?" and get an answer. It just needs to be checked in. On the other hand, when that person is out sick, and there is a deadline, maybe one person is tech savvy enough to know how to force check in their stuff at the admin level... but not if they're busy with their own stuff or stuck in a meeting or no one thinks to ask them.
I would say if someone is requesting this feature, it's a matter of too many "can't" people: too forgetful, too distracted, too busy, wouldn't know how to care if they wanted to. These people aren't bad workers, they're just adjusted to their environment which includes leaving in a hurry, coming in earlier, leaving later, not taking a breath in between tasks, and always being on high alert to drop what they are doing and work on something else.
So... anyone want to show me a macro to paste into the EPDM tasks to automate this thing?
Hi Sebastien I completely agree with Tim's reply. This is not a limitation in EPDM, but rather a matter of enforcing training/discipline on the users.
A method I have found effective when implementing EPDM at organisation is reinforcing the idea of ownership, ie that if you check a file(s) out, then YOU are the owner of the files and are restricting access to anyone else until you check them back in. Having a PDM system is not meant be a automatic solution to all your problems, rather it enforces a structured approach to your day to day work. You want to work on a file? Check it out. You want others to see your changes? Check it back in.
I understand it can be hard if people are sick or away and forget to check files back in. There are overrides available to the Admin user to either Undo checkout on files, or check them back in, but these really should only be used as a last resort.
Hope this helps.
My problem is that the users do not check-in files in the vault. Sick, forget vacancy ... . It is imperative for us to find an automatic check in solution. We do not use the review system .I thought about that ( 3 solutions) :
1) The best would be that the file check in when we closing it in Solidworks.
This is how it's done in SolidEdge. Mind you, SolidEdge used SharePoint to manage all documents via the Insight server setup. It also allows you to store all sorts of other file types which are accessed by non-SolidEdge users. A person opens or closes a document it's checked-out and checked-in respectively. The system works really good and in the 4 years I've used it before going to my new company have not had any issues. Occasionally a crash would happen in SolidEdge, Excel, Word, whatever and the document would not get checked back in, in which case it could be Force Checked-in.
Sorry, but I think it's a limitation of SolidWorks vault.
I know this thread is a bit old but i know for the most part it is possible to do given that you want to force a check-in of the Solidworks files when the user closes the files. You will have to create a Solidworks Add-in.
You probably want to access the DestroyNotifyEventHandler and add the code so that when this event(Closing the document) is fired. Have it access PDM to see if the user has it checked out and if they do check the file in programmatically.
You will have to use ForceReleaseLocks for Parts and assembles and CloseAndReopen for drawings. CloseAndReopen does have a bug thou so programmatically checking in drawing i dont think is possible at the moment and has SPR 967430 assigned to it as explained in SOLIDWORKS Crash Using CloseAndReopen in Conjunction with EPDM. I am currently doing something very similar to this in an add-in I have created.