2 Replies Latest reply on Oct 29, 2013 2:13 AM by Lawson Jones

    Linking Purchasing Software to EPDM

    Lawson Jones




      I am currently in the process of improving the way that the engineering office shares information with our purchasing department.


      Currently our storeman manually recreates our BOMs in his purchasing software (Ostendo) by retyping in the information that we have given him (often from a pdf or paper document).  Such a process has resulted in huge discrepancies between engineers -> stores -> manufacture where revisions are not tracked or obsolete parts ordered, whilst wasting significant amounts of time duplicating that which has already been done.



      We are currently investigating a way to get EPDM and the purchasing software to talk to one another.  Has anyone done this in the past or do you have good ideas of what to do or what not to do?



      I am imagining that the best way for this to be completed is overnight a series of scripts should be run as follows


      1. 1) Check the current (part) info on purchasing software and update where required
      2. 2) Create the new/missing items on purchasing software (if in EPDM released state)
      3. 3) Check the current BOMs on purchasing software and update where required
      4. 4) Create the new/missing BOMs on purchasing software (if in EPDM released state)



      How have people completed this in the past?  I am assuming most companies would have some form of set up to do this, but we are struggling to begin the process as everyone has different ideas, yet no one knows what will work best.  Your guidance and opinions would be hugely appreciated





        • Re: Linking Purchasing Software to EPDM
          Tim Webb

          Hi Lawson.


          I have implemented a version of this before. This will require some digging and an open mind. Skirt the periphery when possible where two systems need to talk.


          Have you ever considered using Named BOM"s and route them directly inside EPDM to supply chain for ordering (BOM compare on changes), then to warehouse for kitting & disposition, then back to origin for closing?

          That might just fix 90% of your issues without a huge impact to operations and a huge financial burden paying a consultant to create you a custom wrapped API add-in.


          Identify the root cause of the out of synch data between the systems using the 5Y's.


          A few questions:

          1. On #1 What current part info in purchasing software is changing that needs to update EPDM? Expand please. Do these systems really need to be synchronized or do parts of the data need to be?
          2. On #2 What new/missing items will there be? Expand please.
          3. On #3 Not sure this is feasible since you don't own that data and changing data inside a supply chain software is very risky. I honestly would not want that liability looming over my department. Not sure I would recommend that as I have seen this backfire very badly.
          4. On #4 The best case with this one is putting the data in a neutral zone where the purchasing software can come get it. Again, making changes in supply chain software, not recommended.


          My recommendation:

          1. Decide how deeply the systems should "talk" with one another because your organization needs to identify where those business boundaries are going to be.
          2. That will force you to decide which system "owns" the data.
          3. The other system is going to "peek" into the "owner" system for updates/synchronization.
          4. Since EPDM is in your wheelhouse, let it do the peeking. Get this process under your control if you can.
          5. Fabricate a work process where the equation is "decreased controls" + "increased functionality" = "maximum flexibility"


          You "could" write a custom EPDM Task add-in that peeks into Ostendo and updates EPDM on a nightly basis but sometimes the best add-in can be replaced by a better process and I've found that running programs unattended means the data must be sanitized and scrubbed. This may not be the best approach for you but it just might.


          Consider the Named BOM's if you haven't. They are powerful and easy to manage.


          You may be familiar with it but read "The Goal" by Eliyahu Goldratt - Theory of Constraints: A process of ongoing improvement. Great novel and well written for process minded people like us.


          Lastly there are usually two phases:

          1. Cleanup - Go back and remedy all the out of synch data between the systems OR just draw the line that says as of this date, the process changed and all legacy data will have to remain as is.
          2. Sustainability - Fix both your work processes and your EPDM processes to align to the new plan


          Hope this helps, I'm rambling at this point.


          Tim CEPA


            • Re: Linking Purchasing Software to EPDM
              Lawson Jones

              Hi Tim,


              Thanks for your reply, obviously a bit more experienced at it than me!


              I have looked at the named BOM set up however due to the large number of parts/assemblies we create, and not enough man power we arrived at the idea of creating an automated process.  Depending on the cost, I could possibly be re-visiting this idea.



              Regarding your questions:

              All the communication process is going to go from EPDM to our purchasing software

              1. The main info that changes is the revision of the file as changes are made, and the description.  The revision must be updated, and this is currently where most of our problems are coming from, old revisions being made instead of the latest.
              2. New missing items relate to if we have drawn a new part in solidworks, that it should go through and add this to the purchasing software


              I also see what you mean by 3/4


              Basically the main aim is to reduce the errors that occur, and decrease the wasted time spent by us/storeman in entering duplicate information into purchasing software. 



              Thanks for your help, good points for me to keep in my mind!