One simple way is something like this:
- Create a work order document (it can be a virtual document if you like) and data card
- Use 'Paste as Reference' to attach the drawings that are part of the work order
- Create a workflow to track the work order document
You can use the 'Where Used' tab to find all the work orders that contain a drawing and the 'Contains' tab to see all the documents in a Work Order. If you make transitions for the drawing with the same names as transitions for the workflow, you can see where in the workflow the drawing is at a glance.
This is by no means a complete solution but it may be enough to get you thinking.
Speaking from a inexperienced PDM admin, but a seasoned manufacturing/ERP perspective, what you are suggesting I think could work, given a few very specific variables. I'm making some assumptions and taking some guesses, primarily that you are tracking manufacturing through your facility, not just "make this please" and "is it done yet?".
- All your manufacturing process (or at least all per a given drawing) are done internally. I think using PDM's states and workflow would work well internally, but if you do a process, then the part goes out for a coating or something, back in etc. would be difficult at best.
- Your manufacturing workflows across parts are similar, if not identical. Say your company has 10 internal manufacturing process, given some always start (saw) and some end (QC, as examples), there's several in the middle that could be in any order, repeated, etc. I think it would be difficult to effectively map and track every single process combination.
- Usually in a work order there's some additional data that not commonly on a SOLIDWORKS Drawing, such as:
- Necessary Qty
- Due Date
If my prior assumption was wrong, and you aren't tracking to track/manage manufacturing steps, and just trying to provide a list of "things ready to make" and ask manufacturing to record when they are done, the major challenge I see is mostly point 3 above. I'll expound a bit:
- Say you have a semi-standard part, or one that's used across a few projects/stocked in inventory, etc. It would be impossible (I think) for PDM to know all the demands and ask manufacturing to make X Qty of X part. If that's a manual task today (and continues to be), and a user entered a value, it could work.
- Just because something is ready to be made, doesn't mean you know the due date/priority. Maybe that's indicated on your drawings (customer is more common, due date/priority not as much), but that's something else that needs to be managed.
I'm not sure what type of business/industry you are in, but if you have to deal with/encounter any of the complexities listed above, I would recommend you consider looking for an ERP solution that integrates with SOLIDWORKS and PDM.
First let me clarify, when I said "part" in my initial question I meant "tooling". Your reply was very informative and detailed. My company currently has an ERP system in place. With this system it may be able to be integrated into SolidWorks PDM but we are not ready for that jump. As of right now we are in the process to add enhancements to our roughly implemented PDM setup.
At this facility we are as you would call a "one stop shop". First we have a request to create a part (most of which are mainly similar). We then internally design the part creating drawings and fabricating tooling to run on our machines all in house.
If we were to combine our ERP system with PDM I could see a great benefit because it would help with the disconnect between marketing(which places the order to run new parts) and manufacturing by keeping up with the status of the process from start to finish.
Tooling makes a lot more sense, as I'm assuming it's on a one off, for a given job, very specific part/tooling that will never again be made. That makes things a lot easier because the Qty is known (I assume), the file won't be in use somewhere else (as if it was shared among projects/jobs, etc.), the due date could probably be managed as a property in the data-card, etc.
We have developed an XML based shop floor router, ECN, issue sheet, etc. system that uses 1 PDM add-in called Attach References Tool that automates the attachment of related documents to the XML. Our solution is similar to what Jim Sculley described.
The xml provides full integration with downstream content distribution systems like another solution we recommend called Flatter Files. PDM was developed for content creation but Flatter Files was developed for content distribution.
Our system brings you
- Auto-updated XML files so NO embedded VBA in office files to put IT security department at ease
- Small XML file size
- Attach numerous reference files to the XML
- Update the XML with datacard variables from the attached files like part number, description, quantity, REV, etc.
- Update each attached reference with the XML form number
- Barcode support
Hope this helps,