Posts Tagged ‘Web services’

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’.

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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

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’.

BPM Workflow Serial & Parallel Paths and Modeling to Customize and Extend PLM in Aras

May 31, 2012

MarcL: PLM solutions should support custom workflow processes with the steps in the flow being sequential and / or parallel in the same process. There must be tools provided to support changes and customization of the processes as well.

Peter Schroer:

Aras PLM Software Simple DCO Workflow Process

Simple Out-of-the-Box DCO Workflow Process in Aras Innovator

The Aras Innovator platform a pure Web services architecture, where everything is a service.

It includes a Workflow service which is effectively a robust, general-purpose BPM (business process management) capability instead of a hard-coded engineering change workflow module like other PLM systems.

The Aras Workflow service supports multi-step processes, with combinations of serial and parallel activities, branching, looping, dynamically assigned roles based on business rules, and is inherently integrated with all of the other functionality in our PLM solutions.

XEROX Aras Custom PLM Software Global Change Process

XEROX’s Custom Global Change Workflow Process in Aras Innovator

The BPM capabilities are very robust and scalable.   A workflow process can be really simple, like start-action-end,         or very complex with multiple parallel paths, conditional business rules, weighted voting and integrations to SAP or other legacy systems.

In fact, Aras Innovator’s workflows can be used as part of the complete PLM suite or in a federated approach to provide only the new functionality needed on top of and integrated with existing systems.  In this way, you can modernize and add secure Web capabilities to older systems like PDMs, ERPs, etc.

Workflows can be customized and extended or you can create entirely new workflow processes from scratch by Modeling them in Aras Innovator’s browser-based graphical Solution Studio (e.g. without complex programming).

Aras PLM Software Solution Studio Workflow Customize

Example of Run-Time Workflow Modification using Solution Studio in a Dev Instance of Aras

You can customize the workflow’s process steps, change the schema, add business rules and make modifications    and you are doing it in Real-Time.

When you Save, the changes are instantly propagated and the next time an instance of the process is initiated it will include the changes.

Of course we strongly recommend the best practice of having separate environments for dev, test/staging and production. Moving customizations from instance to instance only takes a couple of minutes.

Aras is unique with the technology to allow real-time process and data model changes, because of our model-based architecture. 

You will be trained to use the integrated Solution Studio for drag-and-drop designing and modifying of workflow processes (similar UI to Visio, except it’s the actual running system).

For more info on these capabilities see ‘Change Process Definition, SOA Workflow Service and Integration in Aras’ or check out the Posts Tagged ‘Workflow’ or ‘Business Process‘.

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’.

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’.


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