Defining a workflow process and map vs process plan


If my understanding is correct. a lifecycle is the states an item (be it a part, equipment or document) goes through.

The manufacturing process plan is the plan (list of operations and steps) required to realize a part or product.

Then what is the workflow map, process, activity, assignment and task? And can a workflow process not be the same as a manufacturing process plan?

Is there possibly a document that clearly defines these, their relation to one another and to which items they relate to (part, product, document etc.)


  • Hi Duncanwilliamgibbons,

    You've got the right idea on how Life Cycles and MPPs work and how they are used in Aras Innovator, so I'll just explain the Workflow and how it differs from the other two.

    At a basic level, a Workflow is a defined sequence of activities representing a standardized business procedure, typically not directly related to the manufacture of a Part or Product.  Examples of Workflows include Problem Reports or Change Requests, where there's a set order of operations required to get from submission, to planning or review, and finally to approval or rejection.  The procedure is defined in a Workflow Map, which is a graphical representation containing Activities connected by Paths.  An Activity is a unit of work - assigned to the same person or people as Assignments - that contains a list of Tasks for the Assignments to do before the Activity is completed. A Workflow Map can have multiple instances, known as Workflow Processes, which track the progression through Activities.

    In comparing a Workflow to a Life Cycle, Workflow Process instances are created per Item, while a Life Cycle instance is shared by many Items.  States in a Life Cycle are also mutually exclusive, whereas Activities in a Workflow can happen simultaneously.  Workflows differ from MPPs in that Workflows don't necessarily result in a Part or Product.  Additionally, Workflow Activities can trigger a change in Life Cycle State via Promotions or run a Method through Server Events.

    Hope this clarifies some things,


  • The way I think of lifecycles and workflows is:

    • Lifecycle = Items (i.e. the states that items go through)
    • Workflow = People (i.e. what people need to do to guide items through their lifecycle)