When it is being sold as the integration point for Vault, the Item Master is inadequate.
First, lifecycles for items should be as configurable as for files. If you use the system as intended and control the lifecycle of the file through the item, you are severely constricted.
Items should assume the properties of the files that created them, or they should be easily called through the API.
Given the possibility that an item could be created before the CAD representation exists, there needs to be an ability to attach a CAD file as a representation of an item after the item has been created (this is also a huge hurdle if a company converts a product from 2D to 3D).
Document item types should exist so that external applications can reference and control files that don't represent parts.
OR do away with the item master and integrate the BOM capabilities (for 2D and 3D) of item master into the file interface and do away with item master altogether.
This would probably help with any plm integration, PLM360 included.
I have recently run into several situations where we cannot assign the item number through a mapping of the filename. I found that this functionality was available back in 2010, but was lost when the properties module was redesigned for 2011 and has not worked that way since. This is most critical for non-CAD files, such as PDFs and TIFFs, as they do not typically have other properties to support a mapping. It would be great to have a way to assign the item number to use the filename without the extension.
This isn't so much an idea or a wish, it's necessity. I have 150+ engineers using Items and working with the BOM tools, we've recently moved from a third party cheap BOM management system to Items, and this cheap system was a lot more user friendly, I hear the same words every day "so we've moved to a new system that does less than the old one?".
All of the below points all road back to one compelling factor, whoever at Autodesk was responsible for designing Items has never worked with an engineering BOM in real life.
1) It's currently not possible to search within an Item BOM. This is crazy. If I have a BOM with 2000+ lines in there, which I do, I have many of them, I can't search in context to check for something. People need to do this on a daily basis.
2) I can't see or check what the Item BOM was like at a specified date in the past. Vault has a habit of tampering with BOMs, people have a habit of tampering with BOMs, it's vital to be able to see the BOM quantities and contents at a specified previous date, currently this is not possible.
3) Copy/Duplicate an Item. It's normal practice to create multiple parts in the Item master, all that have very similar properties and descriptions, being able to right click an item and chose 'copy part' or 'copy Item' should be there.
Would like to see drawing compare added back into Vault. This was part of Design Review several years ago and it allowed you to overlay two .idw's and it would identify the differences. This was removed in about the 2008/2009 release of Vault/Design Review. It was similar to the BOM compare. And...it did work. We often need to compare the .idw's attached to an item from one revision to another. We lost alot when this feature left.
When doing a copy design on a large project, it is very difficult to know what parts need to be copied. You either have to be very familiar with the project or first go into inventor and manually create a list of parts that need to be in the copy design.
I would like to be able to choose the parts that need to be copied from a graphics window first (where I can see the parts in the context of the assembly), then have a chance to name them. I know that we get a preview of the part in the copy design (well sometimes) dialog, but that is not always enough to tell the difference in the parts.
Currently, so I am told, there is no integration between Item properties and those in File Store on the same object.
Example: A file in File Store is at Revision 0, you assign it to an Item in the Item Master. In Item Master change the revision (manually or through an ECO or Lifecycle change), and push that revision out to the CAD file (idw or ipt etc). Make changes to the CAD file, save and check back in to Vault. The file in File Store is still at Rev 0, though the ITEM is at Rev 1.
Linked with this, the Vault Revision Table.... pulls it's Revision value from the File Store value... so if it's not in sync with Item Master... it becomes a useless tool.
We're using full SQL replication and as far as I know, the document numbering schemes are having no issues with being used across multi-sites so on face value, I can't see why the Item numbering schemes should.
Technically speaking again, I get the 'if a workgroup goes down' theory but to be honest if a business is large enough to justify having multi-site replication, it'll be sitting on a pretty good IT infrastructure so although you can never say never, it's a rare occurence for a site to compeletely go down. However, item's being created is an event that occurs multiple times, hundreds of times per day.
In addition to that, I worked in the reseller channel for nearly a decade and this was never publicised by Autodesk, I had no idea that we needed to consider this when building multi-site implementations. A Google search for "autodesk vault item number replication" returns zero information on this and confirms that I haven't missed an technical publications on this story.
The concept of having a numbering scheme per site isn't a practical one, if you allowed the option of defaulting a specific numbering scheme to a specific site then it would be close to being a considerable option. If it was up to me, I'd consider altering product behaviour to either:
1) Provide an administrative option whereby if a workgroup goes down, prevent any Items being generated. Then it's up to me, if a site goes down I can simply stop Items being made until things come back online.
2) Keep the current existing workflow, but in the event of a disconnection between publisher and subscriber, when the failed site comes back online, Vault creates an ADMS task to automatically renumber any Items created during that time with the [@WORKGROUP suffix], giving them the next available number. Warn all users with an in-client prompt that the Items they're creating may be automatically renumered when the system fault is resolved.
3) Most if not all everyday Vault users are not going to have a clue about what we're talking about here, so when this numbering conflict occurs through standard workflow, at least give them an in-client prompt or warning explaining why their Item number isn't now what they first thought it was.
4) Make the Item numbering schemes work the same way as the document numbering schemes!
I can think of many more options, most of which including the above are all much more favorable than what we have now which is Vault modifying production data at will without any warning to the user.
Right now Item Visualization watermarks are limited to being set by Lifecycle state, and of course in Item Master you cannot add lifecycle states. I would like to be able to set them by state AND category. For example, a production print, set to Released, would say Approved For Construction... whereas a quote print, also released, would say something like Proposal - Not Approved.... or somehting like that.
Just needs to be more flexibility in general on watermarks. The user or admin should have more options and control.
Currently in Item Master, if I have just made changes to a file, and want to set the Item back to Released, or Review... I constantly get yelled at for forgetting to Update the item first. I think it might be helpful to have the Item automatically update from the file when a Lifecycle change is called. I can't think of anything that this could damage, but I'm open to comments if someone has a legit reason why this would be a bad thing.