Versionning should be yours

Posted on March 10, 2013

document versionsThese last weeks were pretty crazy in terms of projects to work on. Travelling from sites to sites and visiting various industries. From tractors production (about 40 to 50 units a day) to navigation systems (few thousands a day and highly automated), it is always good to get back to basics and meet the people who are actually consuming the design data to understand what should be enhanced, not so much in terms of CAD data quality (I’m not a CAD vendor) but more in terms of general information management. The last strong argument I have had with one of our customer is about versionning. I’m not sure the discussion is over yet so I’m using the blog to exchange with you, our readers the decision process on versionning strategy.

Who is versionning things?

So, I’m writing this article to make some follow-up on one of the latest article of Oleg about versionning. This is an endless topic. He was mentionning versionning in PDM as a follow-up on my article about the existence of various understanding of what is versionning depending of the kind of work you are doing, or depending on your field of education. I would like to extend the versionning on another axis which is to understand why someone may or may not lead the versionning in a global supply chain. Our customer case is quite special as their are manufacturing devices that are designed from their mother company and sold to car manufacturers. So they get product definitions with a versionning system, and they are due to follow this versionning in order to deliver their product to the final customer.

So they are really concerned about following their supplier’s versionning because the mother company is the one communicating version with the final customer. They already have multiple level in their versionning. With a minor revision and a major revision but these are based on design change, nothing is directly related to manufacturing-related changes. But still, changes happen all the time and I believe that anyone one making changes should use an appropriate versionning system.

Multiple versionning object or one versionning with multiple level?

And this is a question I haven’t 100% answered yet mainly for a lack of time and discussions. My initial idea is to be completely independent from others whatever the relationship you have with your suppliers and customers. You should own your versionning systems. So that would mean allowing multiple versionning objects related to items (like parts) that you want to track. But what would be the difference with a single versionning object but based on multiple levels? This wouldn’t not allow so much independence. As they recently experienced it, the mother company can sometime change almost completely their way of managing versions. So, if you don’t want your system to be affected, multiple objects makes sense.

So that’s the idea for now. I’ll try to define a stronger position with illustrations once we will have decided of a system to use.

Yoann Maingon

Yoann Maingon is an Entrepreneur and a PLM enthousiast. He is our main blogger at Minerva as he has been publishing articles about General PLM concepts and Aras Innovator for more than three years.

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