9 Replies Latest reply on Jul 21, 2008 2:49 PM by Corey Hinman

    Multiple Part Number Schemes

    Jon Brunke
      Has anyone defined a PDMW Enterprise strategy for dealing with multiple (different) part number systems?

      I have seven different independent Engineering groups world wide. Each has a different part number/revision scheme. After discussion and exploration with our vendor it appears our situation hasn't been directly addressed by SolidWorks INC.

      The scenario:
      Engineering group A creates a model and drawing with part number 281-0027, noun name Knob, revision A. We imbed that part in several of our product assembly models. The BOM's for the assemblies are exported from PDMWorks Enterprise and with some effort is transferred into our MRP system to initiate manufacture when/as required. Everything is good so far.

      Six months later Engineering group B decides they want to use that part in their product line(s). Their MRP system isn't configured to accept our part number. So the same model (at least) has to have their part number applied. We know we can predefine additional data card fields to allow groups B, C, D etc to add their part numbers and revisions.

      There are two (at least) inherent disadvantages with the "data card" solution.

      In order to make the entries we (or they) have to "check out" my production part to add their part number. They can't add what I consider to be just meta-data. Now I have a new version of the part driving update notifications for a "non-geometry" change across many of my products. We would like to avoid the additional work.

      We end up with numerous issues revolving around what to do with the revision coding. For instance if we do anything other than call the new version revision "A" (again) we will have to initiate a new revision change in our MRP system. Again we would like to avoid the extra work.

      Undoubtedly someone will wonder or ask why we don't require everyone to adopt a standard numbering scheme. For many reasons that's just not possible. By way of explanation (not defense) our company has grown by acquisition of other companies. Each acquired company comes with decades of imbedded policy, procedure and software systems. It's never been deemed practical to force them to convert to our systems.

      We purchased PDMW Enterprise because it's replication function met our need to share/re-use our CAD data. We don't think our part numbering situation is all that unusual and should have been accounted for within this procuct. After all PDMWorks Enterprise is an "Enterprise" solution.

      Thanks in advance for suggestions.
        • Multiple Part Number Schemes
          Corey Hinman
          What is the MRP System? You'll have to make some kind of manual entry whether it's on the ERP or PDM system.

          If Group B is asked to produce this part that their ERP system can't "accept", then they will have to setup the new information anyway right? I know in our ERP system (Microsoft AX), that you can have a base part linked to several customer parts.

            • Multiple Part Number Schemes
              Jon Brunke
              Corey,

              Group Company A uses MAPICS. Group Company B is implementing SAP. The other groups are using other tools as well.

              Your observation about Group B is correct they will have "setup" our part in "their" MRP system.

              I'm trying to avoid driving anyone to have to evaluate whether an update represents a geometry change or just meta-data and depending, spend time updating "our" SW assemblies/drawings. If we are forced to version the part they wish to use (add a part number to) then potentially EVERY product assembly where this part is used may have to be revised in addition to the updates.

              I've been told it is possible to do meta-data edits with the workgroup product without a check out/in. I kind of assumed the Enterprise product would cover that base as well. I know never assume.
                • Multiple Part Number Schemes
                  Corey Hinman
                  Jon,

                  Just changing metadata on a data card could be seen as a version change, not a revision to the document...so maybe take a look at your process map and see what is triggering the notification of change. Is it a rev change or a version change?

                  Workgroup functions the same as enterprise, you have to check it out to update the metadata.

                  Corey
                    • Multiple Part Number Schemes
                      Jon Brunke
                      Cory,

                      Philosophically we (and in our former CAD data management system) relate whether something is handled as a version or revision as follows.

                      1. A change affecting form, fit or function (which affects assemblies, parts and drawings) generally requires a check-out, edit, check-in and re-issuing the documents with a new revision.

                      2. A non geometry change like annotation corrections on a drawing (things like corrections to notes) requires a drawing check-out, drawing update, check-in and re-issuing the drawing with a new revision which affects only the drawing.

                      3. An administrative correction (things that have no material effect on the part, assembly or drawing). Our legacy system does not require a version or revision.

                      The third item is what we need to be able to do, and can't so far. To illustrate here is an example from our legacy system. Note we are not trying to get PDMW Enterprise to behave exactly like our legacy system, this is just a simple example to make the point.

                      We have a policy that requires a parts operating system file name match the assigned part number. So the requirement is:

                      Noun Name = "Knob"
                      Part Number = "281-0027"
                      Operating System File Name = "281-0027.(file extension).

                      There is a sequence of events during a parts development where the requirement isn't met yet the part gets issued anyway. The following can result.

                      Noun Name = "Knob"
                      Part Number = "281-0027"
                      Operating System File Name = "Knob.(file extension).

                      When this occurs I can administratively correct the file name to "281-0027" as it should be under our policy without incurring a version or revision.

                      Noun Name = "Knob"
                      Part Number = "281-0027"
                      Operating System File Name = "281-0027.(file extension).

                      The correction has no effect on how the part is made so from our point of view no addition work is required in this example

                      My original task is simply to add group company part numbers as information (meta-data). The decision to add an addition group company part number will almost always be after the part has been issued by the original Engineering group. With PDMW Enterprise the only way to add this "information" is to check out/in which creates a new version at minimum and potential addition rework/effort.

                      To make the implication clear it must be understood that we design products which we sell and service for many years, this is not engineering contract work. In addition a wheel originally designed for use in a specific product assembly may, over time, be adopted for use in literally dozens of other product assemblies within a specific group company.

                      A big part of the logic for the PDMW Enterprise purchase was to expand the reuse of engineered items to include those items created by other group companies.

                      The near real time access to each group company's current Engineering models via replication is fantastic. The inability for the groups to apply their part numbers without additional work potentially affecting all group companies throws a great big wet towel on the "improvement" if you know what I mean.

                      Jon Brunke
                        • Multiple Part Number Schemes
                          Corey Hinman
                          What about this. The files in question reside in a specific state, let's say "Released". Could you make a link to another state (or external workflow) with a transition called "add customer number"...and in that state you could give the appropriate permissions to whichever group needs to check it out and change it?

                          They could check out the file, add the metadata and check it back in, and then have it go right back to the state it came from. This would increment your versions by a couple, but not your Major Revision.

                          Then when someone looks for the file they will see if it's out of date, they can just click "get latest".

                          Just a thought. I understand what you are wanting to do, it's like just going through the back door and changing the database.
                            • Multiple Part Number Schemes
                              Jon Brunke
                              Cory,

                              I appreciate your attention to this topic. We have developed a workflow method enabling access almost exactly the way you describe. This does indeed deal with our access control requirements.

                              As it relates to our original problem your "back door" reference has also been suggested and we believe holds some promise.

                              In part my post was intended to draw out responses like yours and determine if others had actually implemented the "back door" solution (for instance) as a best practice. If others chime in here declaring their conclusion was to use a back door I'd feel more comfortable spending time and money pursuing it in some form.

                              Spencer noted (thank you Spencer) that most "ERP" systems can handle multiple part number systems. The reality on the ground here is we collectively or individually haven't employed "ERP" software solutions. At my location we have a manufacturing resource planning (MRP) solution. There are associated "ERP" modules, but we haven't purchased or implemented them. The other group companies are in similar circumstances.

                              So I guess I should clarify. We looking for the experience of those who have purchased SolidWorks, PDMW Enterprise and some MRP software but no ERP software. Again thanks to all.
                    • Multiple Part Number Schemes
                      Rodney Hall
                      ah yes... legacy data, the reality is it will never go away and causes many wasted hours to attempt to manage it in a way that makes any sense at all. I hope that someone someday provides the magic bullet that helps solve this dilemma. Until then I look forward to retirement... but that is so far away.... I can't stop banging my head against the wall. LMAO
                        • Multiple Part Number Schemes
                          Spencer Smith
                          I think Corey's suggestion makes a lot of sense. In most ERP systems, you can define customer part numbers that are specific to that item/customer. So, you have your 'headquarters' part number as the primary item master number, and if each division/acquisition were set up as a customer, you can build the aliased part numbers from there. Obviously, any single item in your system can have multiple customers, so there would be no problem there.

                          Keep the extra fields in the PDMWE data cards, and if you have some type of integration from PDM to MRP, then your MRP implementator should be able to add this to the field mapping so that you can populate the 'customer' part number automatically (keep in mind that you would have to make sure that the customer is set up first).

                          The key is to make sure that each item, no matter which acquisition it came from gets a 'master' part number assigned. That's what ties it all together. Have the M&A dept add that into their plan so that you are included in the planning stages.

                          My $0.02 - although I don't have all the details of what you are dealing with there, so I may be way off base.