Blog Published: 18/09/2020

Blogger - Graham Harrison

Managing change orders in Autodesk Vault Professional

“There is nothing permanent except change” pre-Socratic Ionian Greek philosopher Heraclitus once uttered. Over two and a half thousand years later the same notion rings true though the rate of change is seemingly forever accelerating.

Without change we can’t progress. In our engineering world, requirement for change is continual to meet ever-evolving requirements. That demand for change springs from many sources; the need for improving products from quality, functionality and cost perspectives, changes in customer requirements, changes in conformity requirements and a myriad of other drivers that result in some necessity to change our designs.
 
Change in itself is not a problem, but managing that change in an efficient, controlled, clear and integrated process can be a challenge.

Traditionally our drawings would include revision tables with some description of what our change might involve. However, it would not necessarily include relevant details of the records effected, or the source communication of the drive for change. Chances are that the system is separate to our drawing control, so is less clear and integrated than it could be. It is very likely it will be heavily reliant on good discipline and manual processes to ensure all aspects are kept synchronised.
 
So, if we can integrate change control within our design management, we can potentially overcome some of the pain points around the change progress.
 
Autodesk Vault Professional provides control over how designs and design changes are managed and released. You can create change orders to describe changes to a design as well as to manage the progression of that change order as it is reviewed, approved, or rejected. Change orders provide a historical record of why, how, and when changes were made.
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Change Orders can be created by authorised users, with the users involved at each routing stage controlled. Any files or items can be added to the Change Order either for reference information or to be changed. The Change Order status can be viewed at any time to see how the Change Order is progressing, will indicate the current stage and who is currently required to action them.
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Notifications are passed to users within the Change Order, routing lists at key milestones or when actions are waiting to be performed. Vault Professional has several ways to communicate this information. By default, a line will be added to the user’s work list items; this is viewable from within the Vault client, or email notification can be configured and enabled.

Routing lists controls who is involved with the Change Order and what role they have within the change order process. Several roles can be assigned to users.

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The roles control security and what specific tasks each user will be able to perform at predetermined stages. Once a stage has been reached then only the appropriate user or users will be able to move the change order forward.

For example, a ‘Change Requestor’ can only create a change order, once submitted they then become a ‘Reviewer’ unless they have been given extra roles.
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File and item state can be independent of the change order status or have some integration. This gives the possibility to have a flexible system if minor changes do not need a change order. Items and files to be edited or modified are added to the change order records. This creates a navigable link between the file and change order to show any active change orders related to the file and also a historical record of any completed change orders. Other vaulted files and records can be attached to the change order to give further insight to the change requirements; email messages can be tracked and linked along with any images, photos, and markups of the existing designs to show the change required.

 
Specific Change order properties can be added to the electronic form to record change information. This could include: the cost centre that will be funding the change and the priority or deadline date.

As well as being able to see and search on that information directly in the vault, all change order information can be reported on and exported elsewhere as required.

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“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the future.” John F. Kennedy
Our consultants at Excitech can help implement process change and offer a range of services around the Autodesk manufacturing portfolio to increase your processes and productivity. Visit our website to explore our consultancy services HERE.
 
Alternatively, speak to your Excitech representative about how we can assist you implement improvements to your Autodesk Vault change processes.

For those already using Autodesk Vault Professional, here is a quick how to guide for Vault Change Orders.
 

About the author

  • Graham Harrison

Graham Harrison

Principal Consultant

After many years in the manufacturing industry designing and managing control system projects for clients, Graham has transferred his knowledge and experience to helping other businesses apply the same principles and processes to achieve improvement. Having studied both IT and Engineering Graham is ideally placed to understand customer objectives and goals and how to apply and adapt commercial IT solutions to achieve those.

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