We are thinking about using workflows with "State" changes between departments collaborating when creating a model. Has anyone tried this in EPDM? What are the Pros and Cons?
Kevin, if I'm understanding you correctly, that is one of the main driving forces behind using a PDM system and a workflow that allows that.
I would pay special attention to who can check-out files at what state. Can you explain more of how you expect the "collaboration" to happen?
What we would like is that "Department A" starts a model and when it has completed some level of "WIP" the model could be passed on to "Department B" to add content to the model. Then when "Department B" is completed "Department A" would continue doing "WIP". Somehow keeping track of this department collaboration. Are "States" the correct way to do this or is this overkill?
Is there a process the files would go through with either dept a or dept b (eg. Check/approval)? If yes, you could use workflow transitions instead of a single large workflow (if you have pdm Pro). If it's just to limit when dept a and dept b can edit files while in WIP, you could just have two states setup and transition back and forth.
I think it really depends on how formal you want the process to be. If you want it formal, then I suggest using states. If you can handle it by just training them to work a certain way (check in and notify), then you can just let the version fly and keep the workflow less complex. If you have a large group of folks or someone monitoring where things are, then states might help them understand where things are, but with that comes the complexity.
Best bet is to build up the workflow in a test vault, try it out and get a few key folks to test with you. More work, yes but the payoff in the end is well worth it. You could always try the lesser approach first and see how it goes. If people aren't notifying each other, then you may need the more formal STATE change.
I've implemented numerous PDM systems that use our workflows to connect Engineering, Manufacturing, Quality, Purchasing, Sales, Service, Marketing, etc. at various levels and stages. It all depends on how your business currently operates (or would like to operate). PDM workflows are a great first step to getting information to and from many of these departments so I would say go for it!!
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