I work at a fairly small company with a handful of Engineers using Solidworks. About six years ago we implemented Workgroup PDM to get a handle on managing our Solidworks data. For the most part that involved controlling individual designed parts and their associated drawings, and it's been working great. We are able to limit access and track changes to parts very well.
When it comes to managing assemblies, however, things are a little murky. In general, our design assemblies are not controlled through an ECO process like individual parts are, and as a result, vault control is pretty relaxed (BOMs are managed in a different PLM system). Engineers are free to check out, change, and check them in without issuing a change order as long as there is no change to the underlying parts or BOMs. Also, these design assemblies usually contain non-BOM parts which are used during the design process and that help when creating multiple configurations within the same product family. This allows us to respond quickly to sales questions and proposals as well as to address ECO's which affect many model numbers within the same product line.
The murky part is that we are generating more and more documentation based upon these assemblies which needs to be controlled, like assembly drawings and installation control drawings. Not only that, all our production documentation which was done with pictures and simple model views (created upon request) is now to be done directly from the assemblies using 3DVia. My feeling is that we are going to need to start controlling the assemblies more like we do with parts but I don't know how to implement this.
1). How do we provide clear and concise assemblies for 3DVia without removing the reference design aspects which makes Solidworks so flexible for engineering?
2). How do we control assemblies that are the seed model for two different documents (such as assembly drawings and installation control drawings)?