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System for managing construction part specifications

System for managing construction part specifications

(OP)
Hello,

I'm want to know if anyone knows of a system for managing construction part specifications.

I know that these parts for construction are designed in a CAD environment and that deminsions f.e. are stored in this environment.
However in practice there is more to an part than only it's dimensional spec.
There can be material specs, finishing specs, painting specs packing specs, transport specs and much more.
There is also a lot of spec variation between different type of parts

I'm faced with a lot of non standard format word documents which are not really efficient for use and update.
Therefore I was thinking maybe anyone know of a useful system to manage this.
I was thinking of making an excel sheet however the sheet will get very big and there is so much different types of specs between parts that it will be hard to make standard columns.

Thanks in advance for your input!

RE: System for managing construction part specifications

01 Mercy.
you might look at Microsoft Access , this program can work over several different databases, allowing you to manipulate and store different file types. Be careful when starting to use this program , it has the ability to delete files in other databases.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: System for managing construction part specifications

Managing them for what purpose?
What do you expect to do with the documents, with the information in the documents; what is the audience?
How will they get access to the information?
Why do you think the formats are non-standard?
Have you created a standard format?
Is it just text or are there illustrations?
Are there embedded calculations, like spreadsheets?
How much money are you willing to spend?
How many documents are there?
How many users are there?
What software have you looked at?
Why have you rejected existing solutions?
What time frame do you expect this to be for?
How much effort will go into backup and maintenance?
What will you expect to do when the software or OS is no longer supported?

RE: System for managing construction part specifications

(OP)
Hi 3DDave, always happy with critical thinking :)

Managing them for what purpose?
- According to ISO9001:2015 the organisation should determine and control the requirements of delivered products (in line with the determined risk they pose if uncontrolled.
That said, the specs for these critical delivered products are documented but in a system that is not used practically. The document system is not of practical use.
- This poses a risk by not working according to determined spec.

What do you expect to do with the documents, with the information in the documents; what is the audience?
- The audience is
1) Engineering department to design by and communicate the right specifications to the supplier
2) The supplier
3) Incoming inspection to determine by correct spec requirements if requirements have been met by the supplied product

How will they get access to the information?
- That's what I'm looking for, a system to cover ie painting specs, additional drawing specs, material specs, shipping specs etc

Why do you think the formats are non-standard?
- The document is standard but the set-up of the spec itself is not standard, there is no format to outline the specifications.

Have you created a standard format?
- Only for documentation template in general. (a instruction template, a procedure template, a policy template etc)

Is it just text or are there illustrations?
- Most of them are text and most of them are about electrical, material, finishing, magnetic field specs etc.
- Some of them have also illustration but I think most of those are to elaberate the spec and I think the drawings itself are stored in a CAD environment at the design department

Are there embedded calculations, like spreadsheets?
- No they are not most of them are like greater than / smaller than

How much money are you willing to spend?
- Not known yet. I came across this way of putting down specs and in my previous jobs it was in a register, fast and easy accessible for use.

How many documents are there?
- About 40-70

How many users are there?
- Design and construction department about 30 people
- Incoming quality inspection about 4-6 people (not including qa for complaint handling etc)
- Suppliers (indirectly)

What software have you looked at?
- Excel most simple and fast use to set-up a central spec register, also able to include pictures that stay within cells
Downside is that there is no good way to handle the great variety of spec parameters so I would end up with numerous columns which is also not practical. If anyone has a good idea on how to deal with that, please share.
- Access (exp in previous job), access takes time to set up and tends to get slow if the db gets big or has much records/ variety.

Why have you rejected existing solutions?
- I haven't rejected it, it has been communicated to me that these docs have been created as "one time registration for the purpose of the quality system" This is not what you want, you want to control these specs in such way that people can easily access and work with them.

What time frame do you expect this to be for?
- Not know yet, I see something that is not working practically, first doing some pre work before making a proposal

How much effort will go into backup and maintenance?
- Depends on the solution, currently not much due to the fact that registering the specs in documentation is a relative long release cycle for updating documents

What will you expect to do when the software or OS is no longer supported?
- Current software is word documents that are released in picture format and set put into document viewing software.

RE: System for managing construction part specifications

So there are two parts to this:

1) Document control.

2) Detailed requirements management.

It seems like you are looking for a hybrid of these.

The basic is a binder with copies of all the specs can be duplicated for each individual or group. Add in a table of contents and the maintenance job becomes one of ensuring new specs are distributed, updated specs are replaced, and obsolete specs are removed.

Since you have few documents, a simple website could be used as an electronic binder, ensuring that at least the one source is up to date. The documents can be placed as-is with file references or they can be extracted to be web pages; I think Word can save as HTML.

Some extensions to this idea are Wikis, which can be set to make it easier for people to upload their own while maintaining history and traceability and can also have management to prevent some parts of it from being changed by unauthorized users. Obviously this can scale well as MediaWiki is used for Wikipedia, but there are others.

Otherwise Microsoft has Sharepoint (would rather gouge my eyes out) and there are bucket loads of other CMS (content management software) to provide control and distribution.

The requirements management is tougher. I don't know how the number of columns in a tabular format can be a difficulty that is overcome in any other format. Eventually someone needs to decide what is going to be tracked in QA. Usually it is reduced to someone reviewing the manufacturing process and certifying that and then any parts made using that process are considered certified. If there are variables, then a first-article inspection is suitable for identifying those. For example, a paint may require a particular mix and cure cycle and an applied thickness. The mix and cure do not depend on the kind of part being painted so one can certify those. The thickness can be done on a first article basis or random sampling if there is some concern. This means that the individual part would only have two requirements, cert on the paint process and thickness, rather than all the characteristics in the paint spec.

Solutions for this that I've seen are expensive because they are suitable for managing millions of requirements, such as DOORS. They will all be database dependent, but I don't believe that's a problem. Slow database operations are traceable to poor hardware or bad software implementation/solution architecture. Find a decent database architect and database developer and the database will fly.



Changing the length of time things take is a whole can of worms. Usually this is a people problem and only becomes a software/process problem when people are doing the wrong things - often for what they say are the right reasons, but really because they don't know any better (and sometimes because they really don't want to know any better.)

RE: System for managing construction part specifications

Assuming you have electronics copies then for only 40-70 documents then just a secure (write protected) folder on the network with sub folders for each document and then some kind of directory maybe in Excel with links to each doc might work in terms of 'library'.

Now in terms of 'which document applies to what product' I'd tend to track that from the product side unless you are going to go to some kind of data base. Maintaining 'where used' without some kind of database (may be part of PDM/PLM/ERP... system) is a nightmare.

However, not sure I really get what you're asking.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: System for managing construction part specifications

(OP)
Thank you all for your input.
We indeed have a documentation system folder based but and with a seperate userinterface for accessing those documents.

What I was looking for is more what 3DDave said, requirement management.

For that we have the option sharepoint, team center from siemens but I've also seen that SAP has one to.
We already use team center for technical drawings of customized (and standard?) parts.
I don't know and have no experience of requirement management in team center other than part dimensions and the tolerances thereof iow the tech drawings.
I also have no experience with running two systems one for tech drawings and one to manage all other types of specs.
I don't know if it would be better to perhaps tweak the teamcenter environment to manage specs other than tech drawings or to use a seperate system for that.

The document control system is to devious for the technical departments to keep up to date, maybe an sharepoint environment is more effective to run document management in in such way that requirements can be easily stored, accessed and effectively adjusted when necessary.

Any input on experience is welcome.

RE: System for managing construction part specifications

"I don't know if it would be better to perhaps tweak the teamcenter environment to manage specs other than tech drawings or to use a seperate system for that"

Simplistically, if the documents you are talking about are specifications/processes etc. that get referenced by the drawings or equivalent then I think I'd probably treat them more or less like drawings in your doc control.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: System for managing construction part specifications

Perhaps this Document control software of Assai Software is useful. They have a 3D web based Bim viewer in which you can link your documents to your items in the 3D viewer. But you have to be into BIM for this.

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