- An overview of changes at all times
- Specific processing only of relevant changes
- Flexible individual change tracking
- Significant reduction in the flood of data
- Time-saving searching and finding
- Improved exchange of information
- Significantly fewer errors, misunderstandings, verbal exchanges
- Higher quality of data
Once multiple disciplines start to work on the same objects, managing changes becomes highly complex and accordingly time-consuming. Process, measurement, control and automation engineers, hydraulic/pneumatic experts and, of course, electrical engineers as well as a whole series of external suppliers are involved when a plant is designed and developed. There are lots of devices which concern several parties equally and have to be edited in parallel in order to rapidly advance the project. Hundreds, if not thousands, of objects may be involved here.
What happens if one of these objects is changed in one discipline? The other experts generally discover this fact only during verbal exchanges. This may work for one change, but not for the usually enormous number of revisions in a plant. Normally, an overview of the process is lost rapidly as a result. One or other of the parties concerned is often forgotten or the user no longer remembers when he informed whom of which modification. A major part of project meetings is often needed for retrospective data comparison, thus the essential task, the organisation of current and future work, falls behind.
When managing supplier data, EPCs (Engineering, Procurement and Construction companies) in particular try to retain an overview, which is usually very time-consuming, by means of huge Access databases or solutions they have created themselves: when which supplier received which version and on which basis which changes were returned. EPCs must manage a tremendous amount of data for a wide variety of suppliers, forward it, and edit it again.
For the database-driven platform Engineering Base, a whole new dimension of transparency for changes was created with version 6.5.0: advanced data tracking It facilitates overseeing, managing and processing changes in two key areas. These involve interdisciplinary work within a company on the one hand, and data exchange with suppliers on the other hand.
Advanced data tracking for interdisciplinary work
When used for interdisciplinary purposes, list versioning enables each user to create his own alphanumeric worksheets with all objects relevant to him, which he would like to systematically check for changes. To do so, the user simply sets a "tracking point" on the desired objects or rather object attributes. EB lists these points and, by clicking on each individual tracking point, you can see exactly for each attribute whether and what was changed at what time.
The user can then either carry out necessary follow-up actions or decide that no work is required on his part. In any case, he then sets a new point to ensure that the next time he sees only the changes which were edited by other parties since the last point was set.
Clear supplier data management
This approach also greatly helps in the cooperation with suppliers in order to retain an overview and avoid unnecessary repetition of operations. The tracking points are also crucial here. In this case, however, they are set to suit the recipient in order to create a list that is associated with only one specific supplier. This list contains all data relevant to the supplier for a specific customer project, including version number and date of issue. A supplier can obtain any number of lists; each one is individually tracked.
These supplier lists identify the changes to the current project via the tracking point. The client can see specifically whether and where something has changed and what the supplier needs to know. Upon opening each new list, it is immediately obvious what has been deleted (red) or modified (yellow) and what is new (green) compared to the previous list).
If, for example, the number of desired engines is changed for a plant project, the engine manufacturer simply receives a new list with a new version number and the highlighted changes. The supplier can gradually process his list, send the new data to the client, who will then set a new point again as a basis for further revisions.
This ensures the client that the complete project history is really stored in a traceable manner in one container. At any given time, it is possible to demonstrate which supplier received which version at which time. The supplier also saves a huge amount of time because he receives only the data that is of interest to him on the one hand and, on the other hand, he does not have to search for long to determine what has changed and on what he needs to work. The work involved, sources of error and costs can be significantly reduced on all sides.
Versioning management originally runs via the engineering system without additional databases or "dumbed down" external lists. The searching, finding and tracking via recipient-related lists works much more specifically, rapidly and accurately. It is possible to navigate directly from the lists to the active project at any time.
Advanced data tracking allows special flexibility in the interdisciplinary exchange of change information. This is because everybody involved in the engineering process can determine individually which attributes of an object are to be tracked. Thus the flood of data is reduced specifically for each individual. Users receive only the change information that is really relevant to them – everything perfectly integrated into the EB workflow, and also without any system disruption. As of now, project meetings have time and scope again for the essentials.