Browse Prior Art Database

Automated Management and Control of an Engineering Change

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000109559D
Original Publication Date: 1992-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-24
Document File: 6 page(s) / 281K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Folmar, D: AUTHOR [+5]

Abstract

An Engineering Change (EC) is a mechanism to control the changes an enterprise must make to the products it designs and manufactures. The EC usually describes which items must change and how they are to change. An EC coordinator manages the documentation, approval, and implementation of the EC. Before an EC is implemented, it is normally reviewed. This invention describes an object-oriented approach to implementing an automated management and review system.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 47% of the total text.

Automated Management and Control of an Engineering Change

       An Engineering Change (EC) is a mechanism to control the
changes an enterprise must make to the products it designs and
manufactures.  The EC usually describes which items must change and
how they are to change.  An EC coordinator manages the documentation,
approval, and implementation of the EC.  Before an EC is implemented,
it is normally reviewed.  This invention describes an object-oriented
approach to implementing an automated management and review system.

      Currently the EC management and review process is performed
manually by an EC coordinator.  Since it is a manual process, the EC
coordinator is responsible for following all of the "rules" developed
by the management of the enterprise.  This manual process is subject
to the frailties of human performance such as errors and shifting
priorities.

      Consider an EC as a type of object described in the object-
oriented programming sense.  This means that the data for an EC and
all of the methods used to manipulate its attributes are encapsulated
as part of the EC class.  Other objects deal with the EC by sending
it messages and the EC object reacts to these messages.  For example,
the EC class would contain a method that creates an instance of a
particular EC and a method that assigns it an identification number
for reference.  Using this notion of objects containing all of the
methods that manipulate their attributes we will describe the key
methods provided to the EC coordinator to allow the expeditious
management and control of the EC process.

      The mechanism to perform the management and control of an
engineering change will be described in terms of high level methods.
Each of the high level methods could send messages to smaller objects
contained within the EC object to actually carry out their function.
For example, the EC object could send a message to a distribution
list object and request that the appropriate distribution list be
generated.

      The EC coordinator can perform the following tasks by sending
the appropriate messages to the EC object:
      1. Create multiple review levels for an EC.  This means that an
EC can have a distribution list that contains both parallel and
serial distribution paths.
      2. Route the review to users on the distribution list.
      3. Collect and integrate all of the responses for each level of
review.
      4. Collect and integrate the responses for all levels of
review.
      5. Based on the results of the review, either continue the
release process or terminate it and request manual intervention to
resolve issues with the EC.
      6. Allow the EC coordinator to override the response from one
or more reviewers and continue the review process.  This can be done
either by resolving the issues between two or more reviewers or
escalation to the responsible management for resolution.

      All...