While trying to do the mass change I found several major problems with the "Publish to CAD" function. Tech support pointed me to CS296111 so if the below points are not "intended functionality" please correct me (and the software). The issues I'm having are not with the mass change functionality itself but instead the "Publish to CAD" function which is the only way the Mass Change function would be useful in a cad driven environment. And yes blindly making changes is dangerous as the article states but the consequences of the current functionality are worse. Which is why I am proposing the following:
Don't remove all epmmemberlinks and rebuild. Instead look at ONLY the changes.
Remove: For example, the software already doesn't let you remove something that is cad driven so if I remove a non-cad driven item, why on earth would you touch the cad driven structure? Hoses and other non-each components for example. Currently it will delete ALL those items and someone not paying attention who just updated the BOM would click OK and destroy the cad structure.
Add: I believe this is a bug because I know during experiments in the past I could add a component and it would add it as "included". Now it isn't doing that and since tech support is not familiar with this I'm posting it here in case I'm nuts.
Replace: I thought this function was slick until I realized it deletes the old and adds the new. Seriously? Why wouldn't you do the trick we've all done for years pre-Windchill and do a file (re)name trick? I understand if you don't yet have the ability to setup a reference map for bulk changes as that would add complexity, but many of these parts were created with save-as so worst case scenario it opens in failure, best case you don't have to do anything. And to add insult to injury the preview changes dialog pops up and instead of the replace option that is there, it does the delete/add. Whether you use the cad systems rename functionality or trick it, this should work across all cad platforms.
So in summary, I thought I could report to management to not worry about bulk changes if we went 100% cad driven but until these issues are resolved we'll have to do it our more manual "poor mans" methods.