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Engineering Change Requests - ECR

michael_bromleymichael_bromley Member Posts: 110 PRO
In the past I've used separate systems to track engineering design change requests.  Essentially a ticketing system such that the proposed change, implementation, and verification that the change occurred could be tracked in a central location.  It would be nice to integrate all of this into Onshape as I believe much of the framework is already there.  We could use the comments tasking feature to propose the change and assign it to an engineer.  They can mark it as resolved and even potentially respond with the release that the implementation is contained within.  The missing piece is getting a high level view of this.  The change requests would exist in all different versions and across many documents. 

I'm proposing a query on the main dashboard that could filter out these "Change Requests", show the status, related part(?), document, version, and assigned person.  I believe this may require an additional piece of metadata in the comments to select whether or not it should be considered a change request.  



  • tim_hess427tim_hess427 Member Posts: 648 ✭✭✭✭
    This would be great for me as well. We also have an offline change request and management system. I've also used the comments for unreleased parts that are subject to our change control process yet, but the comments have limited functionality without additional markup options. 

    I would also like if these change requests could then be referenced in the release candidate creation form. That way, we could have full visibility to when changes were requested, implemented, and then actually released. 
  • DavidvanderMeerDavidvanderMeer Member Posts: 14 ✭✭
    I think there is huge potential for such functionality within Onshape, integrated with workflows and approval/release of changes.

    If an ECO numbering system can be configured (like part numbers), as well as a few status codes (change request > change order), and other things like Change Class (Document only / Interchangeable / Non-Interchangeable) and Change Type (Meet product spec / Exceed product spec / Reduce Costs), that should provide a lot of capability to filter and track the requests. 

    Imagine if the change request/order process can be graphed out with Onshape to track volume of requests/changes processed, average number of days from change request to change released (or request declined), and track and record information relevant to the request all the way through (discussions, markup, photos, etc.), with change numbers automatically populated on new or revised drawings, automatic notifications to requestors upon status changes, etc.

    A few years back I made an improvement request to Onshape (for something entirely unrelated to this), and then promptly forgot about it. Half a year later this improvement got implemented in one of the regular platform updates, and on that very same day I received an automated email informing me my request had been added. That demonstrates to me that Onshape themselves must be using an excellent change request tracking system, and hope they intend to apply functionality just like it in the core Onshape platform, for engineering design change requests.
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor, User Group Leader Posts: 2,129 PRO
    edited May 2019
    I certainly think something like this would be a great improvement. It may even need to live outside the document on the home screen and then be integrated into release management and pushed to the document level as a part is submitted for release. But also maybe info needs to come from within the document, similar to comments tagging,  part/items can be tagged from within the document to enr/ecn.
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • tim_hess427tim_hess427 Member Posts: 648 ✭✭✭✭
    I also think it would make sense to have this live outside the document. I can easily see scenarios where multiple parts and documents are affected by a single change request. On the flip side, I can see situations where you would want to initiate an ECR from within a document, while you are looking at or reviewing part. 
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor, User Group Leader Posts: 2,129 PRO
    @michael_bromley I'd be interested to find out how others are finding release for small updates after a release that doesn't need an ECR (i seem to have to make lots of releases to correct minor mistakes).  I am also finding after switching to release management small changes on the base level ie. a material change is taking up to 15mins to complete by the time I do a mulitple release and update assemblies.
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • romeograhamromeograham Member, Simulation EVP Posts: 623 PRO
    @brucebartlett I am totally with you on the (huge) amount of time it takes to make small releases to fix all the mistakes you made in the big release. You're right, too: when I have my Assemblies / Drawings referencing Released parts (as is recommended by @philip_thomas I think) the process to release the parts, update all the assemblies & drawings, then release them too is a significant amount of time.

    Add to that the torturous process of trying to keep Revision Tables up-to-date in drawings, and it's far too much work.  

    Maybe the pure joy of the rest of the work with Onshape makes up for it though!

    To the external tracking of ECO (or in my case, just part numbers): I use a Google sheet for that. Since I had to do so in SolidWorks, I have continued it now that I'm doing all new work in OS. That Sheet is fast and easy to search to find a part number. Easy to put links to the OS document that the part was created in, too. Makes an easy place to start looking for CAD if I come across a physical drawing, or someone references a part in an email. For now, I'm the only CAD user in my organization, so tracking ECR / ECO are less important that part numbers / relationships.

    Hopefully the Onshape team is working on something to take care of all these things!
  • MBartlett21MBartlett21 Member, OS Professional, Developers Posts: 2,024 EDU
    There is a really easy way to update all the drawings in a document:

    Click add version up in the top left corner.
    Click update drawings.
    Click cancel.
    mb - draughtsman - also FS author: View FeatureScripts
  • romeograhamromeograham Member, Simulation EVP Posts: 623 PRO
    Yeah - I'm familiar with that one for updating the referenced part in all the drawings.

    I was talking about adding the revision rows, description, changing "in progress" to "released" on the last row after I've done the release etc. The revision table workflow is entirely manual right now, and it's a lot of work to keep it maintained properly. The Revision table is very important for me for long-term ongoing projects...make sure I can piece together what the state of a part was at a given time. (I know I can look at the Onshape doc, but literally nobody else in my company can do that, but everyone can find a Released PDF of one of our parts).

    I have an IR about this here: https://forum.onshape.com/discussion/11564/revision-table-automatic-behaviour#latest that might explain it a bit better.
  • michael_bromleymichael_bromley Member Posts: 110 PRO
    This is all really great feedback!

    I agree that having a dashboard or some other high level view outside of the documents would be great.  As others have mentioned though I would want the ability to tag specific parts, assemblies, etc. with the change request as applicable.

    @brucebartlett we struggle with that as well.  We also run into the scenario where someone will assemble a big release package after a design review has been completed.  Then one small error is caught in the review of the release package and the whole thing must be discarded or rejected and then compiled and resubmitted.
  • gary_clough057gary_clough057 Member Posts: 7

    Although Onshape could handle these types of requirements, there are Form and Workflow products out there that cannot only handle this, but are extremely customizable to your own requirements and needs.  Onshape provides a very robust Application Programmers Interface (API) that can be used to Create, Read, Update and Delete almost any content within Onshape.  Putting this together with the Forms and Workflow provides an unlimited set of options for not only managing data within Onshape but the ability to implement any type of business process, including ECR, Release Management, New Product Introduction, etc.   A perfect example of this is ERPlinc, which can be found in the Onshape App Store.  This product would be ideal for this type of process having the Form and Workflow capabilities as well as the direct integration with Onshape.

  • michael_bromleymichael_bromley Member Posts: 110 PRO
    @gary_clough057 that is a great point.  Customization of the work flow, approval steps, etc. would be a very handy feature to have.  A plug in would be another viable option as ideally it would all be contained in the same software.  The fewer number of software packages that we have to interact with the better.  
  • John_StringerJohn_Stringer Member Posts: 5 PRO
    I'm relatively new to Onshape and I'm looking to implement an ECR process into our workflow, has anyone already done this that can help me.

    our ECR process is very simply.

    ECR number (scrolling Auto generated number)
    Reason for the Change
    Revise and release CAD parts and drawings.
    Approver Validates physical parts to CAD.

    I also have the question where do you start the ECR process, can it be tagged to the release candidate.
    Or does it need to be separate, do i need to create a category for this ECR process.

    To be true full i'm lost with all of this work flow .json files, i understand how they work (sort of) but i don't understand how to implement them correctly.
    I've created all of the Custom properties but where do i go from there.
    Any help or a point in the write direction would be of great help.
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