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Manualnumbering VS Autonumbering


Re: Manualnumbering VS Autonumbering





Very interesting topic.


In my previous company we had over 70 different numbering schemes (some were sequential numbers but mostly were speaking/descriptive/intelligent number) for managing our product families. And this was without counting what the tooling department did with their numbering scheme.


History is heavy to carry and all those descriptive numbering scheme were invented in a time where people could only rely on manual and paper system. As they moved to computerized system, they tend to keep the same way of working and suddenly problems occurs.



The additional problem I had in my company was that all those numbering schemes were managed by different sites which did not share databases. Implementing a group PDM meant that we were going to have to deal with duplicated partnumber for actually different parts.


Also, relying on descriptive partnumber for sorting, searching and reporting on data is limited compared to using the proper functionalities available such as Part Classification or Soft type attributes.


Trying to use both (ie keep the descriptive numbering scheme and attributes) add inefficiency as it duplicates the information (once in the number, once in the attribute) and this can create conflict (ie partnumber says it is white but attribute says it is black. What is correct ? ) The principle of one single source of information should apply.



This said, I had to take the hard decision in my company (who also wanted to acquire companies) was to come up with a new numbering scheme which was generating numbers automatically, could not conflict with any existing or future ones (such as with acquisition, or some we missed in our inventory), be easy to remember etc…. So we had a solution. It was not accepted first as it required to renumbered some of the existing parts.



Also I liked to call a sped a sped and the model was as followed




CAD Number (EPMDocument) = CAD Filename+ext = WTpart Number = ERP Partnumber


CAD Name = WTpart Name = ERP Part name



Here again, there was non acceptance at the beginning but after 8 years, “everyone” agreed it was the best things to do as we have simplified the situation greatly,  no conflicts, easy of identification, integration etc…


Also in the process, (due to a “mistake”, the SAP implementation did not talk to the PLM team and went on with the wrong partnumbers in SAP), we had to renumbered over 100 000 wtpart in PDMLink. This meant renumbering the WTPart, the CAD filename, EPMDocument number. Our reseller developed for us a script. We had family table, data shared in projects, relationship such as used in, referenced by, inheritance etc….      We did a fullscale testing. It took about 7hours to renumber everything. So PDMLink and Oracle (we were using Oracle) are fully capable of digesting file rename.




My suggestion to you is keep it simple avoid redundancy. In your current partnumber you include version. Windchill does that for you.


Why is filename important to you ? I can only see that it is important in Creo when the file is opened in the session and you want to swap between files or windows. However, you have preview. Otherwise in PDMLink and in the workspace NUMBER, NAME and other attributes are always available.



You have project numbers ? Why do you need project number in the filename ? Surely the file will be associated within Windchill to a project or product context, but surely this can be driven by an attribute.  Not sure of the use of a project version ? is Project a product for you ?




Based on my experience and that my new company has the same issues than my previous one and somehow yours, I will do the same again. Moved into sequential meaningless number and have



CAD Number (EPMDocument) = CAD Filename+ext = WTpart Number = ERP Partnumber


CAD Name = WTpart Name = ERP Part name


So partnumbering is no longer an administrative task for the users


If you search the forum you will find many discussion about numbering scheme.  Modern systems such as Windchill but also Teamcenter, Enovia etc… have no problem with meaningless numbers while still providing powerful capabilities for searching, reporting, etc… The biggest problem is actually not the technology but the people who do not want to change and therefore miss a big opportunity to become better.



It is like driving a car. You do not drive a car built at the beginning of the 1900s as you drive a car today. If you tried you will stay in second gear and complain the engine is a lot noisier than the old timer



Good luck with educating your people. This is the biggest challenge in PLM and Knowledge Work Management System implementation

Best regards


Re: Manualnumbering VS Autonumbering

Thanks for input Chris C.

l have read many topics about numbering on this forum, than a told me: "Why am l using manual numbering, when number is meaningless for me?"

l have no problem to propagate any system in our company, the problem is: "Which one or what shall l choose?"

l´m open to any system, that will be the most simply and functional.

For me is product and project the same.

Company CAD data management history without Windchill:

- company estabilished without any idea how to use ProEngineer (l´m the first employee)

- l think ORDER HAS TO BE ---> we choosed a file name schema 13009_V01-00_00_00

    - 13 --- year of project begin

    - 009 --- project number in this year

    - V01 --- version of project (we have many similar geometries)

    - "-" --- only one dash in each file name (dash is a relation separator)

    - 00_00_00 --- part or assembly drawing number

- parts and assemblies included following relations:






          - CISLO_VYK_V_NAZVU (english translate: DRW_NUMBER_IN_MODEL NAME) --- if set to NO, than the connection between file name is broken

          - typ_oznaceni (english translate: project or product) ---> result: 13009_V01

          - cislo_vyk (english translate: drawing_number) ---> result: 00_00_00

- it had worked great upto Windchill implementation

- it tooks me so much time to make so many decisions and inovations in this area without WCH, that l want to keep it (is it mystake or pink glasses?)

- l discovered this schema in some project from the year 1960. But als you said: "It is a time to inovation and start to think different way with WCH or any other datab management program. Simply because it is 21st century." l have no problem with this.

Company CAD data management with Windchill: (describes my imagination ---> l have pink and unskilled Windchill glasses )

- l wanna keep this schema ---> from your inputs l have started think if it is a good choice?

- l have to choose something better from the reasons described above

Informations from our Czech PTC technology provider:

- we recommended manual numbering

Company knowledge and skill:

- 1 engineer (me) - 5/10 Creo expiriences; 1/10 Windchill expiriences; 1/10 CAD data management; 8/10 data management (folder structure)

- 2 business persons - 0/10 Creo expiriences; 0/10 Windchill expiriences; 0/10 CAD data management; 8/10 data management (folder structure)


- engieering team will grow upto 10 people

- need some concrete and simply work system

- in upcomming 1 month we will order a WCH customer suited user training by our Czech PTC technology provider and l need some ideas for discussion. How to do that and that, why we can´t do it like this? etc... This topic will be one of my arguments for upcomming changes.

Thanks for any tips from your praxis...

Re: Manualnumbering VS Autonumbering


Dobry den Milan,



It is always frustrating to feeling that what has required great effort to set up and was very successful in the past must be “undone”/modify because of adopting new technology. Obviously it does not have to be but there is a BIG risk to then underuse the new technology.



I am very disappointed by the PTC consultant comment. It seems that he or she took a shortcut and the easiest option for him. On the other hand, trying to program Windchill to reproduce this numbering scheme is surely a challenge and therefore leave the field as a manual entry seems a reasonable option. However, adoption new technology is not about fitting the old of way of working into the new technology. It is an interactive process. It is important to understand the capability of the new technology (and from your skills scale you have kindly and honestly provided I can see some big gaps). This can be compensated by working with a consultant and going on training, forum, meeting other experienced people. There is no One Solution fits all but there are some principles for every implementation.



Understand your business process


Understand the technology and what it brings


Revisit/re engineer your business process to make the most of the technology.



My approach would be to look at what information is carried by the filename.  Does that information exist else where, If so, is it generated automatically or not


Aim for no duplication of the information


Can you see tools in Windchill such as searching, reporting, filtering that will work better using Out Of The Box functionalities of Windchill (Such as location or Attributes) than trying the same with filename.  How can you report on filename eg.  How can you quickly with Windchill find how many revisions of the same projects, Number of project generated in last 6 months,  project still open (uncompleted) number of finished projects, which one are late,  who is working on which project etc….



You will see that the information in filename should be irrelevant as you will get all that information from elsewhere.



Also do not forget that you are setting up a system not for you or the existing users but for the future. You will soon have new people who will have no experience in your complex numbering scheme. Do you want them to spend time learning and generating manually number or spend time learning about your product and dealing with your customer. Where is the added value of your engineers ? In creating numbers or dealing with customer’s requests (generating new ideas, providing good advice to your customer etc…)



Partnumbering is only one aspect and on the same register there is about document management, process and the flow of work to manage.  Have you identified the value stream of each project. Do you have a repeatable stream for each project ?



Your PTC partner should be the one helping you identifying all this and ensure you do not only install a new software but actually implement a new technology that will make you more efficient, more productive and give you competitive advantage.


Re: Manualnumbering VS Autonumbering

Thanks for comments.

- l think you guess it right. We have only instaled Windchill not really implemented yet.

l will describe reasons why l want keep this schema:

File name is carried product (project) number and drawing number:

    - product number - 2 different products have the same TOP assembly drawing number (00_00_00), looks relevant to keep product number in filename to make files unique (can also add to context inside windchill)

    - drawing number - seem to be usefull due to extract relation (described above)

Searching inside Windchill:

- searching by:

     - whole file name ---> idetify 1 part ---> OK for me

     - drawing number in pruduct level ---> identify 1 file (15099_V01-00_00_00) ---> OK for me

     - drawing number in database level ---> identify (15099_V01-00_00_00; 15011_V01-00_00_00...) ---> OK for me

Information duplication:

- drawing number

     - filtered from file name ---> don´t have to fill parameter or atribute again. Just call the value from file name. Note: l don´t know any other automatic method for this.

     - filtering from name ---> using SAVE AS copy ---> name isn´t unique ---> same drawing number already exist for this prudoct ---> can´t exist 2 same drawing number --->will change file name 1 number up ---> "is it kind of automatic control or am l thinking bad about this functionality?"

- for better ilustration see picture bellow:

     - manufactured parts are small letters ---> user input

     - buying parts are large letters ---> automaticly filtered from file name

     - size of letters gives me quick review about buying and manufactured parts


About workflow:

- still hasn´t been set any ---> it´s bad situation ---> it is under construction

- we are constructing single-use machines ---> each piece is a prototype ---> but the workflow looks similar for each machine ---> looking from point of view: CAD data management, busniss management and manufacturing. Should l think about some other aspect?

Re: Manualnumbering VS Autonumbering

Dobry den Milan

it seems that you are very happy with this manual numbering scheme. Beyond state of the art system and functionality, user acceptance is key.

So better have happy users with a less efficient system (my view )  than the most efficient system no one wants to use.

It is your call how you guys want to use Windchill and therefore if there is no wish to change the PTC consultant was right. Do not customize Windchill to automatically generate such numbers, keep it a manual entry.

From your last point.   Have you consider project management. Do you have projectlink ?

Good luck with your implementation and have a nice weekend

Best regards

Re: Manualnumbering VS Autonumbering

l was happy with this uptu this conversation, you are changing my opinion.

Right now during a work l need to move subassembly 15009_V01-05_01_00 to another subassembly 15009_V01-09_00_00 ---> all parts that are included have to be renamed ( in order to keep our logical file name schema) ----> it´s lost of time. Looking for ideas how to change whole company system.


It´s really good question about Projectlink, but l feel a little embarassed. Have no idea how and for what use it? Have to search more information and than will come back to discusion.


Study, study,study...

Re: Manualnumbering VS Autonumbering

Dobry den Milan, Jak se mas?

I am glad the discussion is giving you some inspiration. It is always best when solution is found by oneself than given by somebody else.

I like that you are actively challenging the way you currently work and that you have found by yourself limitation of your current manual systems. If you digg in further you will find plenty others. I am a strong advocate of random numbering 

The reason you have just provided (when reusing a part (component or assembly) into another sub assembly your numbering scheme fall apart.

I guess you have two choices

     1)  Move into sequential numbering and use the system functionalities to find the information what was once in the filename

     2) Persist with your numbering scheme. Renumbering could actually be quite easy. Export the filename into excel, apply some rules in excel to change the filename quickly and use a script to read the new filename and rename in PDMLink.

In the past, I have had to rename thousands of objects (WTpart, NUMBER and NAME,  EPMDocument and CAD files, Number, Name and filename). I had a script developed for me. It read a csv file which contains the object number, new number, new name (new filename).

Renaming in PDMLink can be very easy, The difficulty is to find what the new names should be.

ProjectLink is a project management system, You can use it for all sort of projects.

So for instance, if your projects (new product development) usually follow a similar structure (project plan, project team etc..) you can create a project template.

Everytime you have a new project, you create a project from the template. Each project has a unique number,, (up to you to decide what to do with that number, should the project number also be the product number.... ?)  You will manage the project plan, the activities, resources , costs (to a certain extend), all your documentation be it Office files or CAD etc...  So everything related to the project will be in once unique place, the Project object in ProjectLink. If certain data is shared between projects or PDM, no problem you can share them easily, so people do not have to go and search for them.

I think you should spend more time with you PTC partner.  Who are you using in Czech Republic ? Cogras ?

Do you have access to Precision LMS from ptc ?  This is a great place to get basic knowledge of functionalities of Windchill and Creo.

Re: Manualnumbering VS Autonumbering

Some intersting ideas:

- Once you are using a PDM system, you need to change some old habits. One is using dummy part names an then renaming.

- Otherwise, just ignore the number - it´s only used in Windchill.

- Your part number should also be the same as your drawing number.

Hope l can share a link to other CAD forum:

Re: Manualnumbering VS Autonumbering

Re: Manualnumbering VS Autonumbering

OK, děkuji Chris C and Gregory Perasso.

You pushed me forward and my brain is burning.

Now l think about "inteligent" or "non-inteligent" autonumbering.


This topic gives me some directions which l can go.

Perhaps will start some other topics with similar (more advanced) concrete problems.


In future you are welcome in all my topics.

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