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Pdm,Erp,procedures and human resources: how to organize a "self-made" company?

Question asked by Cristina Mereu on Jan 31, 2014

Hi to all of you! Firstly, sorry for my English!


I’m writing you this message hoping you can help me in order to understand well which way to go..


My new “boss” (I work in a Furniture company from December that design and assemble supplied parts, we don’t have any mechanical or CNC machine inside but only suppliers that work for us) asked me to structure or rethink the Technical Department office, and its procedures… the problematic situation is this one:


- The Chief of the Technical Department has got an old way to think the projects

- The Technical Department has got a shared space on the network drive

- The technician when begins a project, “copy” the shared parts he needs on the folder of the project. When the project is finished, the project is copied on the network drive with a lot of duplicate files

- We have a brand new 18 alphanumeric code, very difficult, obtained in different ways (xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-- vs. xxxxxxxxxxxxx--x-- etc etc)

- In the code there’s the indication of material, finishing (like colors and painting), and revisions (PROB.1 Too many characters, too many ways to make errors; PROB. 2: according to me, finishing like painting has to be considered in assembly and BOM, NOT at part level; PROB. 3: 30 variations of colors for the same part=30 parts=duplication of files ).

- The level of detail of the part numbering is too much: for example, for a sheet metal part, I have to specify ON THE CODE if it’s a “commercial part” or a “customized part”, after if it’s a - flat sheet metal - a sheet metal with a bend – punched - welded… (PROB: describing too much could be problematic when you change the way the part is produced). 

- There’s no uniformity in title block, and in sheet formats

- On the Network disk a lot of old assemblies are missing parts (in the years, someone moved, someone deleted… same old story)


Erp and Technical office are not connected

- if I need a price of a component I have to ask to the old lady that in the last 15 years has ALWAYS made the orders and that decided her personal way to code a thing (human resources prob n.1)

- the part numbering in the Erp and in Solidworks are not the same

- The BOM are only on Solidworks, with their description (from one year the Technical Office send the BOM to the Buying Office, but the lady put the code that see likes)


The other engineers lost time, a lot of time, because they don’t know Solidworks very well (all self-made, without: for example, to make the steps for an assembly instructions, they copy and paste many times the assembly in order to make the different steps, instead of working with configurations and exploded views…..


The solutions that I want to give to my Boss are the following:

- Install Workgroup PDM (planning to pass to EPDM in the next 24 months)

- Change the part numbering system to a semi significant one, with less characters (approx. 9/12), avoiding revisions and surface finishing on part numbering

- Preparing a little “Manual” for the Office, where a technician can read how to do the things, and how to manage the projects

- Make A LOT (I mean, a lot!) of training

- Use metadata instead of fields on the code, use property tab builder to define the properties, and limit to max 8-10 characters the part numbering system

- Thinking a way to automate the part numbering


According to you this could be a good starting point? Have you got additional suggestions???


Also, my questions for you are the following:


Have you got a manual of procedures that you could share with Solidworks Forum? have your company established procedures in order to determinate how the design flow have to proceed?

Have you ever managed a situation like this? How have you managed it?


And… How you treat the surface finishing, like differences of painting for an assembly the determinate the variations on final products (like kitchen of different colors)? On ERP? Or on Solidworks BOM? Or in parts? (my idea has always be: finishing, like painting, are things that have to be considered on orders, or at assembly level, not at part level).


Thank you in advance for the help!!!