versiondog: The Data Management System at the Heart of Spare Part Logistics

Logistische Prozesse in Waren- oder ErsatzteillManaging logistics processes in spare parts warehouses represents an incredibly complex challenge. The main priority is to reliably provide spare parts around the clock on a global scale. The latest logistics and automation technologies help to safeguard work processes and keep everything running on schedule. In this type of environment, making changes and improvements to control processes is par for the course.

However, these modifications also increase the risk of errors or even production stoppages. To avoid such situations, an integrated data management system can be used to detect and document every change made to the control processes of internal transport mechanisms, thus ensuring complete clarity and data availability at all times. By creating a backup copy of the controller’s most recent project data as well as a detailed change history, a data management system keeps projects running smoothly and at the highest quality.

This is why one particular automotive manufacturer has chosen the data management system versiondog to safeguard its logistics processes for spare parts and accessories.

Obligations and Challenges

At the central warehouse of this automotive manufacturer, the focus is firmly on delivering a reliable global supply of spare parts and accessories. The correct spare part must always be available at the right time and in the right place, while the coordination of large numbers of spare parts, storage spaces, truck movements, and thousands of delivery note items also poses a huge logistical challenge.

Such a substantial logistical challenge requires a high degree of automation and, therefore, a large number of automation devices such as controllers, robots, and transport systems. All of these controllers and their programs can be monitored, tracked, and archived using the manufacturer-independent data management system versiondog.

Obligation to Document Changes

In a production facility, changes are often made to the software and project data of controllers and automation devices/systems. These changes are carried out by various people at different times, with the ultimate aim of optimizing work processes and maximizing reliability. In the long run, however, this aim can only be achieved if changes are documented and recorded at a central source and saved on the server as the most recent version that can be accessed at any time. It is possible to manually archive data, but there are many good reasons why data management processes should be automated. If they are not, it is almost impossible to avoid the risk of serious problems being caused by incomplete documentation and scattered data storage. It is far safer and more effective to organize the management of control program project data using an automated system that stores versions centrally, detects changes down to the last detail, and guarantees full documentation. This is precisely where the data management system versiondog comes in.

versiondog data management graphicAutomatic change detection and backup jobs versiondog is a data management system, also referred to as version control and backup system. Based on a client-server structure, versiondog regularly carries out pre-defined backup jobs on controllers and automation devices with the following aims:

  • Cyclical verification of whether or not the latest project version in a control system is the same as the most recent version or whether any changes have been made
    Storage of the most current version for every automation device, readily available in a consistent format regardless of the device manufacturer or device type
  • Automatic creation of a report as soon as differences between the active project version and the previous backup version have been identified, including a detailed presentation of the detected differences
  • Automatic creation and maintenance of a central data storage location • Automatic storage of all project data from the developmental stages of a production facility, mainly if subcontractors are involved

versiondog by AUVESY GmbH, an ISO 9001 certified company in Landau, Germany, can run on both mobile and stationary servers. Highly-automated logistics and production systems, in particular, require all units to be precisely coordinated with one another. This applies both during commissioning and, later, during active operation. To react to changes to output targets such as quality, product versions, or productivity, it is always necessary to make improvements and modifications to the production process. versiondog helps the user react to these changes immediately and without error. By thoroughly documenting all adjustments, versiondog also provides the user with a reliable foundation for audit trails and ISO 900x, GAMP, GMP, FDA21 CFR 11, or VDA 6.x certification standards.

Logistics Processes in Safe Hands

versiondog compareScheduled, automated backup jobs are not only used to ensure data availability. They are also used for comparisons between the version running on the server and the version running on the device. Handling non-versioned or unnoticed changes to project data is a task often complicated by factors such as shift work, the distribution of maintenance responsibilities, and the integration of outside companies. Thanks to versiondog, these problems are a thing of the past.

This is because the centralized versiondog server installed at the central location/warehouse can also be connected to other company locations via a VPN interface. The administrator is therefore automatically notified of any changes made at the different locations, thus enabling high-level quality control across multiple locations!

The data management system automatically provides a daily update of supply logistics or other underlying functions. This means the user can immediately react to changes and discrepancies at the start of operations before they can have an impact on the logistics process. versiondog, therefore, represents an essential safeguard for control systems, allowing goods to be continuously supplied around the world using high-quality logistics processes. A similar manual procedure cannot provide the same level of reliability, even with large numbers of personnel and high financial outlay.

Summary

For users in the logistics sector and machine and plant engineering, versiondog offers an extra level of assurance when it comes to making changes to control processes and project versions. This means it is easy to identify precisely which changes caused the malfunctions that so inevitably occur in the world of automated production. By immediately returning to the most recent version saved in versiondog, processes will be up and running again in no time. The automotive manufacturer mentioned here is just one example of versiondog’s wide range of applications.