Managing Formal and Informal Change Processes with Aras

What’s in a change? This brief, 3-minute video is the first in a series of three demonstrations introducing engineering change management in Aras Innovator. This first installment explores how Aras Innovator captures the full scope of formal and informal processes to support five critical characteristics of an engineering change process:

1 - Change relies on people.

Working across engineering teams to make a design change requires notifying the right stakeholders about their role in the process. The Inbasket in Aras Innovator lets users sort, filter, and directly access change notifications automatically generated by the system as a change progresses through its formal steps, without leaving the security of the system and without mixing sensitive engineering change tasks with daily work emails.

2 - Change requires context.

Change objects in Aras Innovator, like the Problem Report introduced here, can be linked directly to the affected item – that is, the part data and other system-wide information that will be impacted by the change. Anyone (with permissions) who is reviewing the change item can drill down into the context they need to support their decision, including BOM information, product requirements, CAD data, associated documents, and more. This traceability between the formal change process and information about the items it impacts is key to accurately understanding and completing the change.

3 - Change is collaborative.

In addition to automated processes and convenient links to product information, change relies on expert knowledge and collaboration to achieve the best outcome. Frequently, multiple sources will encounter and document the problem, examine potential solutions, and investigate the right approach to take. Though informal, these steps are nevertheless critical aspects of a product’s digital thread. Ensuring they’re recorded in the PLM system offers the supporting data, securely and in context, that teams need to better understand the change.

Aras Innovator captures this valuable process in its Visual Collaboration feature: a familiar digital “Discussion” interface supporting file attachments, visual markups of the CAD viewable, and “@” mentions to tag colleagues social-media style and ensure the right stakeholders are involved in the process. This easy and intuitive tool offers all stakeholders in Aras Innovator the ability to collaborate, in context with the full complement of product data, under the governance of security and access permissions. This ensures that all aspects of your engineering change process, and other critical product development work, takes place in your PLM system and not in ad hoc office communication tools.

4 - Change must be governed.

Formal Workflows are available out-of-the-box in Aras Innovator and fully configurable by system administrators to ensure that notifications and other automated steps, like part and document release, are enforced at each stage in the change process. Every step in an engineering change process can be assigned a formal review and approval requirement, if necessary, that is automatically advanced to the responsible personnel by the system. Their sign-off is automatically captured in an audit trail feature to support compliance.

5 - Change is integral to quality.

Unique among PLM platforms, Aras Innovator can directly associate problem reports and other change objects with a closed-loop Corrective Action Plan out-of-the-box. This relationship between engineering change objects and quality processes in Aras Innovator is critical to driving close collaboration between engineering and quality teams for our subscribers, and to addressing quality issues with systematic and repeatable processes when they do arise, thereby accelerating the release of competitive, high performing products.

Engineering change, as a formal and informal process that drives better quality and performance, is critical to product development. Explore more about how Aras Innovator uniquely supports Quality-Driven Change Management in the next installment of this 3-part blog series on Change Management. Or, learn more by viewing the recent Aras Innovator Demo Series video, Optimizing Your Product Development Process with Collaborative Change Management