Posts Tagged ‘Rules’

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’.

Federation with ERP, PDM, Legacy Systems and Cloud-based data using Aras

June 20, 2012

MarcL: PLM solution must be capable of integrating with the ERP system so that data is available in PLM such as material costing, inventory on-hand, etc. Please describe how this is possible.

Peter Schroer:

Aras Innovator includes a standard service called Federation. This Web service can be used for integrations with legacy applications (called Federations) that expose attributes from the legacy system, such as Cost attributes in SAP, with the materials data stored in PLM.

For the end-users, they will see a single form, with data in the correct context that has all the information they need to perform a task (or workflow or report) without knowing the actual data storage location of those data.

This data does not need to be view-only, but can be editable as well. It is managed by the same need-to-know security permissions in Aras so the users have access to only the data they are authorized to see, add, update, etc.

Secure Federation capabilities in Aras are not limited to on-premise systems, and can include Cloud-based data sets as well like component databases, compliance validation and other data sets of authority in the Cloud.

The flexibility of the Aras Innovator PLM system even allows federation configurations in which all Part, Material and BOM data are authored in ERP, and PLM is just a viewing portal.

However, most companies prefer to develop parts, materials, cost models and other product data within the PLM solution, and after workflow review & approval, drive this cost data to the ERP once it becomes “Released”.

The same type of system Federation can be performed with legacy PDM / PLM systems in use in your company as well. This can be useful if existing PDM systems are in place at various sites for CAD management, although more robust PLM capabilities are needed for complicated processes like NPDI, enterprise change, supply chain, quality or outsourced manufacturing.

The “right” configuration depends on your organization, business practices, and the level of complexity of your products and development process.

Aras architects and certified partners can help you evaluate your company’s requirements during the initial phase of your deployment and recommend a configuration that is optimized for your company’s specific competitive practices.

We provide training on how to do federated integrations with other systems like ERP as well as how to administer these capabilities.

For more info on these capabilities see ‘Integration and Federation in the Enterprise with Aras’ and ‘ERP, Item Masters and Data Attribute Federation Between ERP-PLM in Aras‘ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Integration’.

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

Role-based Workflows, Classification and Security Permissions in Aras

June 8, 2012

MarcL: PLM solutions should allow for the creation of workflows by specific roles (role-based workflow), so that individual users belonging to a specific role or group are guided through a workflow that is tailored for their process requirements.

Peter Schroer:

The entire Aras Innovator platform is a roles-based system including workflow processes.

All Workflow and Lifecycle assignments are made to Identities in the security model.

Identity is an Aras abstraction that resolves to either an individual person, all persons trained to perform a role, or all persons that are members of a group, where groups and roles are also hierarchical.

Classification can be used for different roles / groups by product line, product type, program project, plant, division, doc type or any other designation (or combination of) to guide BPM workflows.

Business rules can of course be based on other attributes for whatever complicated workflow scenario your business requires as well.

We provide training on how to set-up, administer and customize Aras Innovator’s workflows, lifecycles and classification structures as well as security permissions for identities, roles and groups.

For additional information see ‘BPM Workflow Voting, Conditional Process Steps and Dynamic Assignments in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Workflow’.

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’.

BPM Workflow Voting, Conditional Process Steps and Dynamic Assignments in Aras

June 5, 2012

MarcL: PLM solutions should support conditional process steps, time out, alternate approvers, delegate to, and majority rules voting and other sophisticated scenarios in the workflows.

Peter Schroer:

The Aras Workflow service is a full-featured enterprise class business process management (BPM) engine that is highly scalable and secure.

Alternates, delegates, pooled resources, dynamic assignments, voting schemes (linear, weighted, majority, veto), escalation upon timeout and other capabilities are all standard features in the Aras Innovator platform.

The default Out-of-the-Box processes that come with the downloaded version of Aras Innovator are the ISO, PMI and CMII standard processes.

Your PLM administrator has secure access to customize any of the out-of-the-box workflows or create all new BPM workflows without complex programming using the drag-and-drop Solution Studio.

For more info on these capabilities see ‘BPM Workflow Serial & Parallel Paths and Modeling to Customize and Extend PLM in Aras‘ and ‘Change Process Definition, SOA Workflow Service and Integration 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’.

Change Management Process Alerts and Audit Trails in Aras

May 16, 2012

MarcL: An audit-trail of change history should be maintained within the PLM solution which will provide a triggering mechanism to automatically launch activities and alerts (e.g., when a new version of a specification is approved, it is automatically sent to the appropriate individuals, groups, and roles).

Peter Schroer:

All three Aras process services (workflow, lifecycle, project) include triggering events on every Activity within process flow along with secure audit trail logging of every action taken.

Your PLM administrator can assign actions / rules to any of the triggers to initiate alerts and capture the real-world process results.

Any of the States in Lifecycles, Activities in Workflows, Tasks in Projects, etc can be assigned to either a person, or a Method (a script or program/service that executes an automatic set of actions).

Workflows once defined, are started automatically, escalate automatically, and resolve themselves into closed-loop processes automatically.

The audit-trail of what actions have occurred, who voted or took action, how they voted or what action was taken and time / date stamp on every action along with other information is visible at any time as long as the person has the proper permissions.

We provide training on how to implement, customize, integrate and optimize the use of these Aras Innovator change management functions and workflow process capabilities.

For additional information on workflow see the previous post ‘Lifecycle, Workflow and Other Types of Process Management in Aras’ and ‘Change Process Definition, SOA Workflow Service and Integration in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Workflow’.

Change Process Definition, SOA Workflow Service and Integration in Aras

May 9, 2012

MarcL: PLM solutions must support the ability to define multiple change procedures with different flows, timing constraints and voting rules, and the same process(es) should be able to be used for both part-centric and document-centric change processes. PLM solutions should also be able to model and execute multiple-step work processes at multiple levels (parent-child processes).

Peter Schroer:

This requirement is exactly the reason that Aras has created a general-purpose BPM (business process management) service instead of a hard-coded engineering change workflow module.

It is also the reason why Aras has a separation between Lifecycle and Workflow       where Lifecycle is about “State” management (i.e. a Part is In Draft, In Review, Released, etc) and Workflow is about “Process” management (i.e. routing a Form with attached Items & Files around for activities).

It is quite typical for companies to have common Lifecycles for Parts. These can be a single standard Lifecycle or different Lifecycles based on Classification, such as Mechanical having a different Lifecycle than Electrical which is different than Software/Firmware, etc.

The Workflow process map for any specific Part might be completely different.  These differences can be driven by the different business units, the Classification of the Parts, the complexity or risk level of the Change, etc.

A typical large company running Aras will have a dozen Lifecycle definitions (parts, documents, tools, specifications, etc.), and then many dozens of Workflow Process definitions for controlling those Lifecycles.   In this way, Aras is able to model the real-world business practices without compromise.

Aras Workflow Process Studio

Aras Workflow Process Studio Provides Customization through Modeling and Powerful Web Services Integration Capabilities

The Aras Workflow service supports multi-step processes, with combinations of serial and parallel activities, branching based on business rules, and automatic escalation to ensure that every workflow instance that is started will be closed-loop.

Workflows are inherently hierarchical, and can be organized into libraries of Sub-Workflows that are initiated at a certain step in the Parent workflow.  This also means they can easily be re-used.

Workflows can be executed by people and other systems as well as a combination of both.

The Aras Workflow service can be used in conjunction with other systems that have BPM or Workflow capabilities like SAP, Oracle, Teamcenter, Windchill, etc or any of the BPM-specific systems         and can be either Parent or Sub-Workflow in conjunction with the other system’s Workflow. It’s a Web service.

We provide training on how to implement, customize, integrate and optimize the use of these Aras Innovator workflow process capabilities.

For additional information on workflow see the previous post ‘Lifecycle, Workflow and Other Types of Process Management in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Workflow’.


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