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An overview of capturing a business process in Windchill?

Opal

An overview of capturing a business process in Windchill?

Does anyone know of a document showing the overall process to capture a business process in Windchill?   I think I am picking up all the separate pieces, but am not entirely sure how they fit together in the puzzle yet....

Anyone have a good example they can share?

If not, I was thinking of a somewhat generic process like requesting a quote:

  1. Engineer creates a purchasing quote request, and sends to Purchasing dept.
  2. Purchasing sends RFQ to vendor(s)
  3. Vendor(s) sends quote to Purchasing
  4. Purchasing loads quote(s) into Windchill.
  5. Engineer is notified.

The Windchill Pieces I know about:

  • WTDoc type for quote.
  • OIR to use the WTDoc type
  • Document lifecycle template  (Maybe a generic one for many WTDoc types, maybe a specific one for this type.)
  • Workflow Template
  • Lifecycle template for the workflow

What am I missing?

-marc

26 REPLIES 26
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Re: An overview of capturing a business process in Windchill?

Marc,

You've got the basics pretty much covered as far as the Windchill items needed to actually get a process in place, but there are a few key components to think about.  Here are a few:

  • ACLs:  Depending on who needs to see/do what items/actions in what states, this can range from quite simple to very complicated.  You also could tie this in to life cycle states driven by workflows, like a form of promotion request without using the promotion request object.
  • Workflows:  You might NOT want to use a workflow on the actual RFQ process document (using your example), but instead use a particular type of Promotion Request as the method.  The PR object would also be searchable and associated to the object, and would allow you the option to process multiple RFQs in a single workflow instance as opposed to forcing one flow per process (but that depends on your goals, of course).
  • Workflow/Context Teams:  Would RFQs be created from a particular context in Windchill or could they be created anywhere?  Do the participants in the workflow vary from request to request, or depending on attributes about the request, or what context or product line the RFQ is associated to?  ACLs factor here as well.
  • Functionality with Other Windchill Objects:  Do you use Promotion Requests, Change Objects, or WTParts in your WC system?  If so, how will RFQs be associated (if at all) to these types of objects?
  • Revision Purpose:  Assuming these RFQs will be WTDocs, who will have the ability to make new revisions of RFQs and how formal will those revision processes be (if new revisions are even necessary)?  How do the life cycle states factor into this?
  • Multiple Methods:  The example you mentioned could also be satisfied by elements supplied with the SUMA module to WC, with management of suppliers and their parts as well as approved manufacturer/vendor lists and also a "Part Request" object with it's own workflow - very similar to a RFQ.
  • Legacy Data:  Is there a need to bring in past data as a mini-migration for historical purposes?
  • Impact of this process on other processes
  • Naming/Numbering Strategy

I have worked on many projects involving incorporating business processes within Windchill and have built several strong solutions, fitting the pieces of the puzzle together in the best way.  Feel free to reach out for additional advice, or if you'd like you can send me an e-mail and we could discuss bringing my company's services to your assistance.

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Re: An overview of capturing a business process in Windchill?

Lots of ways to approach this - and this is the "art" of Windchill configurations and part of what makes it rewarding and fun.   I do a lot of this on the side.

For the need identified above, you might consider using for example (just a few possibilities):

- Not using a different type but using a different LC / WF in a specific Library meant only for quote documents.

- Use a Project instead and use Project Document Route (could use OTB or configure a new Routing LC and associated WF.  This has the major advantage of being able to evolve to where you no longer email any attachments, but instead add files to the Project as WTDocuments (possibly a sub type), the vendor picks them up directly, then deposits their quote in the same Project.  All involved can get notified thru Routing WF and/or subscriptions.  Can isolate vendors by different Projects or even by folders within a project.

- Can use a Windchill Package for this, collecting all needed info.  Can make a separate Delivery for each vendor, and Revise and repeat as needed.  Packages also have the opportunity to provide an offline-viewer of published content.  Can choose to include only nuetral files, etc.

- others...

Consider that what you start can be simple but should be able to evolve.  In general though, yes, the fundamental pieces are:

- Type / sub type (main reasons for a different type: attributes, permissions, LC/WF)

- OIR for the type, that specifies LC

- Possibly start WF from the LC for the object directly; alternately, start the WF from an intermediate object (e.g.. a Package)

- Solution may include templates

- Solution may include custom Searches made available to all users

- Solution may include custom query builder reports

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Re: An overview of capturing a business process in Windchill?

Okay, maybe I don't as much as I thought...

For example,   how do you initiate a workflow?   In my example above,  I was envisioning choosing a WTPart, and kicking off the RFQ workflow.  But how?

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Re: An overview of capturing a business process in Windchill?

You tie your LC State to a workflow and then when that state is selected the workflow kicks off.  This shows a workflow for Creation but you can have one kick off for the state when you do a revise on the object that is different.

8-7-2015 12-54-26 PM.jpg

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Re: An overview of capturing a business process in Windchill?

Assuming you want to run a workflow for that particular part and NOT use a Promotion Request or Change Object, then what you do is the following:

  • Create the workflow template you would like to use.
  • Create the life cycle template for this object.  Make sure it is an "advanced" life cycle type instead of a "basic" type.  This will allow you to associate workflows.
  • In the life cycle edit wizard, you need to associate the workflow to kick off with a particular state.  I believe you can configure the workflow to fire off upon exiting or entering any state in that life cycle's template.  Note that once you associate workflows to states, it will always be that way while the life cycle template is configured that way.  You won't be able to ad-hoc select different processes for different WTParts (but you COULD based on other factors, like the context it resides in, for example).

The two key use cases I have seen for this are:

  1. Have the workflow kick off when entering the initial life cycle state of the object.  Thus, a newly-created object will immediately kick off a workflow.
  2. Have the workflow kick off on a "later" state (usually 2nd state in the template).  This lets the user iterate the object as necessary before using a "set state" or other mechanism to kick off the workflow at the user's request.

Your workflow would most likely drive life cycle state changes too, which may or may not drive different paths in your flow or even different templates altogether.

As Mike brought up too, there are packages and routing functionality that may make more sense to use to communicate with vendors outside of your WC system.  There really are very many ways to accomplish this.

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Re: An overview of capturing a business process in Windchill?

AHHHHHHH!   This is very frustrating and confusing.   How does anyone learn this stuff?

I was told that you use basic lifecycle types for WTDocuments and CAD Documents etc.., and advanced lifecycles for the workflows that make changes to those objects.  Like a promotion from In Work to Released.  The object isn't using the advanced lifecycle, the promotion is.

Is this correct?   If so, how do I apply that principle to my example?

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Re: An overview of capturing a business process in Windchill?

i only learned this stuff from playing with it on my laptop for hundreds and hundreds of hours at home.  The courses help with the mechanics but not so much how to "design" with the elements of the system like LC, WF, etc. (which is why consultants are needed in general)

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Re: An overview of capturing a business process in Windchill?

Mike,  I can appreciate that, and I will get there eventually.   I don't have a budget for this and my boss is wanting results. Oh well...

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Re: An overview of capturing a business process in Windchill?

That's what consulting is for .

I'd be happy to give you an assessment for free on how I would see your RFQ processes (and other processes, if applicable) would fit into your Windchill ecosystem.  If you are interested, send me an e-mail and we can discuss further.

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