Posts Tagged ‘Items’

PLM Product Structure Management Functionality in Aras

October 30, 2012

MarcL: PLM should provide product structure functions including:

• Assign specific part numbers to parts & assemblies

• Modify structures by adding phantom assemblies

• Modify structures by adding part numbers from raw materials, suppliers, customers and other sources

• Add revision level part numbers to control configurations

• Modifying coordinates and orientation of components

• Making mass component replacements

Peter Schroer:

All of the PLM functionality in the bulleted list is available in the standard Aras Innovator solution Out-Of-The-Box (OOTB).

Depending on the configuration management methodology and rules implemented (CMII or other) some companies require an automatic Engineering Change generated for all parent assemblies affected by a mass change, while others allow changes without formal approval processes.

If the “components” in the your company’s use case are purchased components, then Aras Innovator has an included best practice that allows mass change of a purchased component, without use of an Engineering Change.

In this case you would use the Aras default OOTB data model which separates your company’s internal part object from the purchased components using the Approved Manufacturers List (AML) relationship model. This is straightforward for your end users.

If your company needs a different use case for making mass change, then the Aras structure management functionality can be adapted to your specific requirements.

We provide training on how to use, administer and customize Aras Innovator’s structure management capabilities including part / item numbering.

For more see previous post ‘Item Number Generation and Cross Referencing in Aras’ and for additional information see Posts Tagged ‘Configuration Management’ and ‘Product Structure’.

Complex PLM Structure Multi-Views in Aras

October 18, 2012

MarcL: Multiple views of structure are the holy grail of PLM. Companies want alternate views to PLM data (e.g. functional view in the early concept and feasibility phase, engineering/design view, production views, purchasing view, service view, and others). Everyone thinks PLM systems should be able to provide multiple integrated views of the structure, but few if any have achieved this capability effectively. People want to be able to compare, display, and/or report the differences between various views of a single or multiple structures and between versions of a structure or structures.

Peter Schroer:

In my experience when you get to the detail level of what people actually want to see in structure multi-view requirements it is unique for each company.  That’s why it’s difficult to predefine the “right” set of views and why so many PLM companies have struggled trying to do this.

At Aras we recognized this and therefore have approached structure multi-views from a modeling perspective. The Aras modeling engine supports the creation of multiple views of structure including BOMs, requirements, manufacturing process, suppliers, quality, etc.

For example, there’s a multi-view of Manufacturing process structures (routing view, quality inspection & test view, risk analysis view) in the Aras solution for Quality Planning.  The views are integrated at the data model level, but different users view the structure via different tabs on the forms.  Any process steps changed in one view, are automatically synchronized with all other views because they are all pulling data from the same source.

Any structure in Aras can be modeled as multiple different views. These views can be displayed, compared and reported as well. When structure views are modeled they flow thru the security model so they are restricted by the data access controls.

If a new material or part is confidential IP and a specific user is not allowed to see it, then the view will automatically restrict this item from that user’s view, but allow them to see a placeholder block so they know there’s something there.    Views are not separate copies of the structure, they are filters of the existing data which prevents synchronization and reconciliation issues.

As with all solution customizations in the Aras modeling environment, we assure that your customizations will work in all future releases of Aras Innovator, and we back this up by doing the upgrades for you when you’re on subscription (upgrade services included no matter how much you customize).

We provide training on how to use, administer and customize Aras Innovator’s structure management capabilities, items and views, as well as, security permissions, classification capabilities and more to achieve self-sufficiency.

For additional information see ‘Structure Management for Complex Products in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Product Structure’ and ‘Customize’.

Integration and Federation in the Enterprise with Aras

June 19, 2012

MarcL: How is integration with other business systems in the enterprise supported? What tools are provided to accomplish this? Are any additional software packages / costs associated?

Peter Schroer:

Aras Innovator is a 100% pure Web services architecture.  All data and all processes are accessed at the Web services layer in Aras.

Many systems such as CAD applications and ERP systems have Out-of-the-Box packaged integration connectors available from 3rd parties that implement a direct point-to-point integration between Aras Innovator and the other system. For example, integration (in-session) from CATIA to Aras and Cadence Alegro to Aras.

Use of an integration bus such as Oracle Fusion or Netweaver is supported, as well as, custom point-to-point integrations with legacy applications using Web services.  You can interface to the Aras Innovator server directly using XML / SOAP, or you can create a WSDL (Web Services Description Language) for the specific business objects you want to interface with.

An important capability that should also be highlighted here is Federation.

One of the core services in the Aras Innovator platform is a Federation service.

With Federation, the administrator uses the Aras Innovator Solution Studio (our graphical drag-and-drop interface) to define the business objects and properties that are stored in a legacy application / database.

The Federated items are then linked to a .NET method to exchange data, this is normally Web services, but all .NET integration capabilities are available such as API binding, ODBC, flat file handling, etc.

At that point the remote data is treated like internal PLM data in Aras Innovator, and can be displayed in forms, used in workflows, added to versioned configurations, acted on / edited by any of the Aras functionality and can be controlled by the Aras Innovator security model.

With all these integration approaches you can add data transforms, business rules and other techniques to address complex scenarios.

We provide training on how to integrate and federate as well as administer these capabilities.

We’ve used a transparent data model with open industry standards and modern platform capabilities to make Aras Innovator the easiest enterprise PLM solution to integrate with. This is because PLM is never a stand-alone system in the enterprise.

For more info on these capabilities see ‘ERP, Item Masters and Data Attribute Federation Between ERP-PLM in Aras‘ and ‘BPM Workflow Serial & Parallel Paths and Modeling to Customize and Extend PLM in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Integration’.

Aras PLM Integration

Aras Innovator Integrates to Systems Across the Enterprise

BPM Workflows, Email Alerts and Custom Email Capabilities in Aras

June 6, 2012

MarcL: Triggers must be provided to send email messages and distribute defined packets of information at appropriate, defined events within change processes.

Peter Schroer:

At every Activity in a Workflow (and State in a Lifecycle, Deliverable in a Project, Action Item, etc.) the Aras modeling engine supports defined triggers (multiple events are available, for example for a Workflow, a trigger is fired upon Activity Assignment, upon Activity time-out, upon Activity Vote registration, etc).

In Aras Innovator the drag-and-drop Solution Studio user interface allows these events to be easily linked to email notifications (SMTP compliant, which works well with Microsoft Exchange as well as Lotus Notes and other email packages).

The email notifications are constructed of Layout Templates and Recipients.

The layout of the email messages will include content from the items that are being routed by the Workflow / Lifecycle and can include File attachments as well.

The emails can be plain text or rich, formatted HTML, HTML with XML or other options.

Emails can include secure URL links back to specific steps in Workflows, Project activities and other Items in PLM where the user must authenticate to gain access.

They can also include standard template text as well as dynamically generated content.

We provide training on how to customize and manage Aras Innovator’s workflows, emails and alerts as well as other related capabilities.

For additional information see ‘Electronic Signatures, Workflows, Lifecycles and Security in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Workflow’.

Using PLM Change Control Workflows to Manage the PLM System’s Own Definition in Aras

June 4, 2012

MarcL: The PLM solution should be able to have workflows managed by the system itself as objects that can be placed under change control and can be assigned versions.

Peter Schroer:

Aras Innovator’s Workflow Maps (e.g. Aras term for the business process definition) are Item Types (e.g. business object) in the PLM system.

As such they have permissions, versions, and can be controlled by their own change approval workflow.   In this way, the PLM is used to control its own internal system definition of processes.

This style of change management for the PLM system can also be applied to Forms, Lifecycles, business rules, etc.

NOTE:  while Aras can be used to control its own system/process definition,  and changes can be made in real-time by real-people,  this is not the recommended best practice after the system Go-Live to production.

At one point in the evolution of a PLM deployment the end-users are thrilled that PLM change requests (add a field, change the form, etc) are made in real-time as fast as they ask for the changes.

Later though, if the form layout continues to change in real-time when they are using the system,  the video arcade effect of the moving buttons will affect productivity.

The recommended best practice after Go-Live is to instantiate three instances of the PLM solution;  Development, Test, and Production.

All model changes made using the Solution Studio drag-and-drop design tools, can be exported as XML Packages, and easily moved between Aras Innovator instances (this is also how we synchronize federated networks of separate Aras Innovator instances).

Normal practice is to move multiple Packages from development to Test for integration testing, and then at defined intervals, move the tested Packages into the Production environment for rollout.

We provide training on how to tailor, customize and manage Aras Innovator’s workflows and business items.

For additional information see ‘PLM Solution Tailoring and Customization by End Users in Aras’ and ‘Electronic Signatures, Workflows, Lifecycles and Security in Aras’.

Electronic Signatures, Workflows, Lifecycles and Security in Aras

May 24, 2012

MarcL: PLM solutions should provide a secure way for electronic sign-off of controlled Parts, CAD documents, specifications and other objects. Please describe how access controls and permissions are combined with meta-data attributes, prevention of modification of released data objects, and other measures, to provide electronic sign-off.

Peter Schroer:

All business objects (Items) within the Aras Innovator platform are controlled by an access rights management service, that complies with the security requirements of our US Gov’t and defense industry customers for “need-to-know” level security.

The security model can be used at the object instance paired with individual user level (only Bob can see Spec#001),  or for simpler administration,  hierarchical groups and roles can be defined which are expressed as patterns that are applied to sets of business objects  (anyone on the Electronics team can see the design files created for the EX-001 new product). Digital rights management (DRM) on the actual files can also be included.

Once the Lifecycle of an Item has advanced to the designated state, the access rights to the Item automatically switch to a Read-only level (normally at Release, but can be anything you specify), that object is completely protected against modifications.

The out-of-the-box CMII compliant processes use the Aras Workflow services with electronic signatures to capture the authorization and approvals.

Once the Workflow has secured the correct votes with signatures,  it automatically promotes the Lifecycle status of the Item to Released (which in turns locks down the access rights).

Approval mechanisms, electronic signatures (passwords and 2nd level passwords or e-signatures), audit trails, and notifications are all standard out-of-the-box capabilities within Aras Innovator.

Aras has built-in capabilities to satisfy regulatory compliance requirements for e-signature such as 21 CFR Part 11 in the Medical Device industry (these settings can be turned on/off of course).

We provide training on how to set-up, administer and customize these capabilities as well.

For additional information on these capabilities see ‘Security Permissions & Access Controls in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Lifecycle’ and ‘Security’.

Making PLM Forms Look Exactly Like Existing Paper or Legacy Forms with Aras

May 23, 2012

MarcL: Form creation and management tools should be available to design custom electronic versions of a company’s specific forms so they look & work like existing paper-based forms or legacy systems that are being replaced.

Peter Schroer:

The Aras Innovator platform is unique among enterprise PLM systems due to the powerful flexibility of the Model-based SOA framework.

A very simple, graphical, drag-and-drop user interface is included in the Aras Innovator solution studio to support the layout of Forms and other business objects.

Since the resulting forms are DHTML  (dynamic HTML),  it is possible to use any HTML features and functions in the forms,        allowing unlimited artistic freedom to re-create existing legacy screens or paper forms exactly the way they look and function today.

MOST IMPORTANT,  these changes can be made in real-time by actual users (with the right permissions) instead of a large IT exercise,  and all changes that are made are supportable and upgradeable.

Your personnel will be trained on how to create, modify and support unlimited company specific forms,  and all this customization work will be upgraded by Aras to future versions of Aras Innovator as part of a standard Aras subscription package.

For additional information on these capabilities see posts tagged ‘Customize’ and ‘Upgrade’.

Aras PLM Software Solution Studio Form Editing

Screenshot example of Form editing in drag & drop Solution Studio – can layout Aras Forms exactly like your company’s existing Forms

ERP, Item Masters and Data Attribute Federation Between ERP-PLM in Aras

May 22, 2012

MarcL: How is Object Approval capability linked to the ERP system so that specific item / material masters (e.g. parts, BOMs, components, packaging, part numbers, etc.) can be automatically setup by the PLM solution?

Peter Schroer:

The recommended best practice is to use Aras Innovator to master the definitions of Parts, Materials, BOMs, and packaging and then upon release, these data are uploaded to the corporate ERP system(s).

At the beginning of a project it is normal to use a one-time export and batchload from ERP to PLM to create the initial data set.

Links between PLM and ERP follow a “federated architecture” in which not all data is 100% replicated.

For example,  cost, inventory, kit-code data within the ERP might be useful information for a PLM user to see within the PLM screens (and use in Workflow business logic).

The Aras approach is to federate the 2 data sources so that data that is mastered in the ERP is linked to (web services) rather than copied periodically into the PLM.

In this way,  a single form within PLM may contain data from multiple data-sources,  but the end-user is not aware of IT architecture decisions.

The user sees all information they need to perform a task on one screen and can act/edit it, and Aras does not care whether IT has decided to actually store the data in PLM.

For additional information on these capabilities see posts tagged ‘Federation’.


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