Anyone using Solidworks PDM Pro for non drawing workflows like Deviations and Work Requests? Looks like it would be a natural for it.
Sure Jeff! Support requests for manufacturing to alert engineering to raise ECO's. Virtual documents with a data card and routing workflow is a perfect way to handle that.
Hope this helps,
I'm going to have to look into virtual documents. Sweet!
Yep, basically they are files without any content so you get the great benefit of only having metadata. They use the file data card of the base file extension you save the virtual document as.
ex. Create a new virtual document by right clicking in a file area of a folder in PDM. Then save it with an extension of ".docx" and the virtual document will end up with an extension of ".docx.cvd"
I'm in the middle of building a deviation process and a QIP/QIR process right now in our sandbox. Deviations will include any/all file types while QIP/QIR will primarily be Excel files. I have basic workflows, PDM Templates, Dispatch routines, and a few API pieces roughed in (or in process). The API pieces are proving to be the biggest learning curve. I have some resources to contact, but have been muddling through it on my own for now.
Edit: I'm using Excel files with linked field content (for use outside the vault if needed). I really like virtual docs, but have not found the right application for them yet
The out of box functionally is robust and allows me to build a nice framework to support the processes, but I need to do some very specific tasks which are just outside of the grasp of OOB. API will fill the void readily, once I become a bit more adept.
Hi Jeff -
There are many methods for doing what you want. As Tim mentioned, you can use Virtual Documents.
Others have used XML documents, some have used old fashioned Excel or Word based ECO documents and attached files as user defined references.
I suggest you 'sandbox' your ideas and make sure they do what you want before putting it on a production system.
Perhaps some other users will chime in with their methods and give you some more ideas.
Craig, be careful with Dispatch - it's not really designed for automation as it lacks error handling - that's more the domain of the API.
At this point I am just trying to see how many people are using it for such processes so I can prove the point. We are right in the middle of setting up PDM Pro and that's part of what I want to use it for, not just drawing storage and a release workflow. We have been using Workgroup, but it's been more or less just an electronic version of a locked room with file drawers in it. All requests and release packages are manually done. There are a lot of "nay-sayers" who want to stay with the old status quo, and I know if that isn't addressed as a goal up front someone will always find a way to keep it from happening.
Believe it or not I actually had someone go back and redraw some two sheet casting drawings to put them on roll size paper even though there is like one plotter capable of running them in the building. Officially we went to all pdf about five years ago.
Old dogs + new tricks doesn't work most of the time.
Jeff, we use it for non-engineering processes as well, both virtual and non-virtual.
For instance, we have a supplier request for deviation which is an excel file because the process requires a signature on the document. We also use it for our ISO process which would be in excel, word, and visio.
For an virtual use we have our warehouse discrepancy where they may have an issue like missing bill or unlabeled parts. Depending on what they select on the card drop downs will end up sending a message to someone to check out the issue.
There are many processes that can use PDM. Remember, the PDM is a tool for managing documents, virtual or otherwise.
We use Virtual files (.cvd) for our ECOs and plan to use them to represent part item masters (.Part.cvd) as well. I could see them being used for deviations and work requests. Our ECOs are created via a Template and has several associated files and folders.
Some people use Word, Excel, or XML files but the problem I see with those is its more difficult to distinguish between the DB record for the deviation and any associate documents that need to go along with it. Also its more difficult to get the data card straight as its based on file type so if your deviation is a Word document and you have other Word documents that go with the deviation, then the data card will be the same for both and you'll have to do some creative data card magic to make it display differently. The .cvd has a secondary extension, ours is ".ECO.cvd." and each secondary extension can have its own data card.
The XML file may work well if you want to go though the additional steps to link and display the data in the data card in the XML as well. Some people like to do that for the ability to print the data card values but it takes a bit of XML magic to make that happen. We don't print the ECO data card or have a need to (people use the system)....we do however run reports on the ECO data via Crystal Reports.
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