Engineering companies are doing a lot of design, from conceptual design to simulation, from choosing right materials to releasing drawings and BOMs. But apart from having correct design, it’s important to be effective in terms of manufacturing/supply schedule and costs. It means that it’s important to estimate (and to optimize) the mfg/supply schedule and costs in parallel with the design itself.

One of the key things that allows to do that is Routing, which is a set of operations (supply/transportation, machining, assembly, inspection, etc) that the components of a product (and the final product itself) go through. Each component can have several alternate Routes, each route can include several Operations, each Operation includes some data about where it’s going to be done, how long will it take, etc.

Additionally to the early-stage estimation needs, Routing (together with BOM) plays a key role in Material Requirements Planning, because it’s important to know not just “what the product consists of”, but “how and when to produce that product and how to supply it with the components” as well.

The purpose of the App

Assembly Planning App for Onshape allows to define mfg/supply Routing for a product, to estimate and to optimize mfg/supply schedule and costs, to get summarized Material Requirements considering mfg/supply schedule (with “Pro” subscription), and to provide full BOM+Routing data for MRP/SCM/ERP needs (with “Pro” subscription).

Watch a “Quick Tour” video.

How to use the App

The App is currently available in Onshape App Store.

Tech note: Please make sure that your web browser allows using third-party cookies.

After you open the App’s tab in your Onshape document for the first time, just choose an Assembly which you want to work with (normally, it’s your main assembly), choose the representation (“Schedule View” or “Costs View”) and click “Load”. Recommendation: start with “Schedule view”.

You will see your product’s structure at the left side and Routing at the right side.

Tech note: Sometimes not all the parts’ thumbnails are shown in the product tree after its opening (usually it happens with Onshape Docs created quite a long time ago or with imported models). It means that Onshape haven’t created/saved those thumbnails. You can easily force Onshape to do that: just go to any assembly’s tab and open “Insert” dialog (no need to complete that insertion). You will see that Onshape is updating those thumbnails. Then just go back to the Assemby Planning App and click “Reload”.

Okay, let’s go ahead. When you just start using the App, the Routing for your assemblies and parts is not defined yet, so you will see the routes with just one phantom operation. Now just do dbl click on any string and start to create the routing.

Create at least one route with at least one operation for your parts and assemblies. Below are some recommendations on how to do that in order to get the best result with the planning:

  • Assign Material for your parts in Onshape Part Studio. So you will be able to get the proper summarized Material Requirements later. Note: if necessary, create your own Material Library (it’s easy).
  • Set the first operation within the route as a “Material Supply” operation for in-house manufactured parts or as a “Supply” operation for purchasable components. Set up the correct Supplier (“Business Unit / Work Center” field) and more-less realistic Costs-per-item for that operation. Note: Normally, Costs-per-item means the Price of material/component. Having this, you will get the proper Material Requirements later (see below).
  • Set up more-less realistic timing for your operations. Don’t forget about transportation time and costs. Note: You can create a separate “Transportation” operations or just include transportation time and costs into other operations.
  • For “on hand” parts like fasteners, the supply time can be ignored — in this case just set up zero duration for “Supply” operation.
  • Use colors for the visual differentiation of the operations on the diagram based on their types or on suppliers / shop floors / work centers.
  • If you need to re-order your operations, use context menu for that. If you need to insert a new operation in between of existing ones, just create it as a last op and then move it backward (up).
  • It’s recommended to create alternate routes. They will give you a possibility to optimize your mfg/supply schedule and costs later, by switching the options.

You can copy Routing from other parts/assemblies which are exist in the same document, or from the same part/assembly used in another document (see also the note below). Then you can change that copied Routing (the initial one will not be changed).

The results of your planning work will be visualized on the diagram. See the info about summary duration / summary costs in the tooltips on the “summary” bars (transparent bars shown for assemblies).

If the chart is too dense (usually it happens when your product includes many sub-assemblies), use “Zoom” control on the toolbar in order to make the viewing more comfortable. Use the horizontal scroll or the Middle Mouse Button for the navigation.

You can work with the App simultaneously with your colleagues. Keep in mind that your colleagues and you may have different assemblies and different views chosen, but you all will work with the same data anyway.

If the geometry or properties of your parts/assemblies are changed while you are working in the App, you will see the “Reload” button active. Click it in order to take those changes into consideration in the App.

While using the App, please also keep in mind the following:

  • The App plans all the components of an assembly to be consumed on the first operation of assembly process. Note: it’s okay for more than 90% of cases in the real MRP practice, and will probably be okay in 100% of cases for a “drafting” needs.
  • The schedule in the reality can be different from your draft due to the real inventory status, existing orders, limitations of mfg/transportation/storage capacities, calendar, purchasing and mfg planning policy, budgeting schedule.
  • For providing a flexibility with the definition of Routing for parts/assemblies across different projects, and for the correct support of Standard Content usage, Routing is saved with the reference to the document where it’s defined. Routing doesn’t follow your parts/assemblies automatically when you use them in another projects. If you want to copy Routing from the same part/assembly used in another document – just use “Copy Routing” functionality.

How to get Material Requirements

The App allows you to get summarized Material Requirements considering mfg/supply schedule (this functionality is available with “Pro” subscription).

If you followed the recommendations given in “How to use the App” guidance above, now do “Export -> Material Requirements”. You will get a table which includes the following data about your parts:

  • AssemblyNumber, AssemblyName: The info about the nearest parent assembly for a part. This info is useful for navigation and for grouping. Please keep in mind that the same part can be used in the different (sub)assemblies, so the time of consumption of this part (and the time when the supply process should be started) can be different (depending on your planning policy and on the duration of the entire production cycle).
  • PartNumber, PartName
  • SummaryQty: The summary quantity of this part in the main assembly considering the quantities of all the intermediate subassemblies.
  • Material
  • SummaryMassConsideringQty, MassUnits: Similar to SummaryQty.
  • FirstOpName: The name of the first operation. Normally, it’s “Material Supply” or “Supply” (see above). Apart from its “direct” purpose, this info is useful for detecting mistakes in the source data.
  • FirstOpUnit: Normally, this is the name of Supplier.
  • FirstOpSummaryCostsConsideringQty: The summary costs (normally – the summary Price of material or component) of this part in the main assembly considering the quantities of all the intermediate subassemblies.
  • TimeFromTheBeginOfTheFirstOpToProductIShipment, TimeUnits: This is a relative time from the moment when the final product (the main assembly) is going to be shipped backward to the moment when the first operation (normally – the supply process!) for this specific part is started.

Now just copy the content of Material Requirements table to any spreadsheets processor (eg. Google Spreadsheets). Then:

  • Aggregate the data according to your planning policy (by Suppliers, by Materials, by Time, etc). Technically you can do it eg. using Pivot Tables in Google Spreadsheets.
  • Do the next steps according to your purchasing policy (create RFQ or PO).

Note 1: Assembly Planning App for Onshape does NOT manage the following things which are important for doing a “full” Material Requirements Planning: a) Inventory status and reservations, b) Sales-, purchase-, mfg- and transportation orders, c) Mfg, transportation and storage capacities’ limitations, d) Calendar, e) Mfg and purchasing planning policy, f) Budgeting schedule. If these factors are important for you, you should perhaps think about using the App together with your ERP system.

Note 2: If you need more (or different) data in the export, contact us.

How to integrate the App with your MRP/SCM/ERP system

Using Assembly Planning App together with your MRP/SCM/ERP system can obviously save a time and reduce the number of mistakes while you are handling BOM and/or Routing.

The easiest way to integrate is to export BOM+Routing as a JSON (this functionality is available with “Pro” subscription), then to transform it to some format appropriate for your MRP/SCM/ERP system and to import it there.

Sure, Assembly Planning App could be integrated deeper with- and even into- your MRP/SCM/ERP system (especially if it’s a web-based system). Contact us if interested.

Questions? – Contact us