One of the biggest concerns is if there are SolidWorks files that are shared between locations, if not then there are no real major hurdles to overcome. If there are, then you have to be carefull to not cross polunate the References and Model versions,
The Views are linked to the database / Archive server, so no real issue there.
I'll test out adding their vault as a replicated vault here locally.
Just a refresher, since it is a seperate EPDM implimnetation with different Licenses, you know you can do a Bulk load from their Archive to yours. I know there is a Knowledge Base article on this with a How to.
You can not do this if you have already started replication, it is basically a one time process.
Basically, tou will copy all of their Archive Folders to your Archive Server, Run a SQL script and you are done.
Again Get the KB article for complete instructions
Got it S-010189
I have successfully implemented a replicated vault at three corporate locations in our Albuquerque, NM and Elkridge, MD with Stillwater, OK facilities.
Working within a long distance distributed engineering department ON THE SAME PROJECT works VERY well if using the recommended of the other facility working directly in EPDM with your local facility.
This design process does require laying some groundwork to function. These are the high level items I manage to while configuring a collaborative working environment:
- Common release and change process
- Common folder structure - This can be managed by sharing files into pseudo folders the remote team is accustomed to using.
- Common engineering scheduling - This is a project management responsibility but relies on some dashboard or saved search in EPDM with due dates on data cards.
Provide the teams a workflow roadmap so they know where their documents are
- Difference between SW referenced version vs. latest version
- Expect more sluggish interface during heavy network traffic times. It happens.
- Support Ticket system of some kind with a "face to face" follow up (this is invaluable to avoid users making work arounds)
- Create the demand, limit the supply - Design the system so it does NOT cater to the user rather forces them to work a little bit to "go get" their food.
We have had several huge engineering projects with a 90 day delivery window that could NOT have happened without a replicated EPDM vault and engineering taking place at both locations with a common schedule.
These items are only the engineering and data management considerations. There are other items to consider but these have provided hard learned lessons proven to be valuable to success.
Here are the hard lessons:
- Remember 80/20 principle and good is the enemey of best. Functional is really what you are after, not perfection. Getting it working is the good, getting it working optimally is the best. Know when to draw the line at "good enough" to avoid "guilding the lily".
- The users need the freedom and flexibility to move fast and make changes in short turnaround time.
- Making the statement the system can't be improved is pretty bold.
- I once thought the goal was arriving at some "optimal" state where the system was steady state and everyone was pleased with it. All systems can be improved and should be and there will always be factions who do not like it. The goal is fostering an environment of functionality.
- "There will never be a job listing for critics and skeptics because they're a dime a dozen."
- Don't take criticism personally, take it seriously.
- Be careful of which hill you choose to die on
I second Kip's caution on SolidWorks references.
Kip & I tag-teamed on the same technical challenge (at the same facility) where there was a contract engineering supplier needing to work with staff engineers as real-time as possible.
When the dust cleared, the two process option was one of the following:
- The contractor works directly inside a live replicated EPDM vault which handles all references without issue.
- The contractor uploads only PDF and IGS files when they release their drawings and at the end of the project, send a data DVD with all their SW files and references intact.
The flexibility of both the contractor and the local engineering staff will drive which path is taken.