Introduction

In the following article, we'll look at what exactly variants mean in a production variants and how this applies to our software.


If you've found your way on to this article, you may be asking yourself....what exactly are variants? and why are they so damn important?


Well don't worry, we've got you covered.


By working with variants efficiently you can massively improve the productivity of your production environment and the flexibility of your Pivotware Process Control system.


Let's get stuck in!

Imagine you have a car factory where you make your favourite car for your customers. Like when ordering most cars,  your customers can choose to customise certain items to get the product they want. 

Thanks to your great assembly skills you can offer your customers 24 different cars to choose from. But how many variants are their during the production?


You may be thinking that there are 24 but in fact variants are not the same as the number of variations of your finished product. 


Looking at the choices customers can make below, we can see what characteristics of the car there really is to choose between. We can see that actually their are only three choices for customers and ten different parts/characteristics of our cars that are possibly different from each other.

ColoursAlloy TypeWindow Type
Blue
Green
Yellow
Red
Purple
Orange
Silver
Black
Normal
Tinted


As result, when we make our variants in variant manager, the best way to manage their needs is something like seen here:

This is the most effective way to manage your parts.


By doing this we can create one string that will define all the data we need in Pivotware to run processes effectively. It could be used by any station dealing with building our cars and it wouldn't matter.


But why is this such as a big deal? 

Whats the difference between the 10 variants here and if I just made individual 24 part numbers?


Well, it's all about flexibility, maintenance and performance of the system

If we produce using a part number for each individual type of end product we end with a production that looks like this:

  • What happens if we need change some data about are black alloys?

We have to change it in potentially twelve different places in our processes/production.


  • What if we want to offer our customers the choice of radios in their car?

We have triple the amount of branches we have in our process in order to accommodate the new option.


Instead of having just one part number managing the car that can't be mapped to the part it needs in order to be assembled. You can use the variants like explained to have a production more like this.

  • What happens if we need change some data about are black alloys?

We have to change it just one place processes/production.


  • What if we want to offer our customers the choice of radios in their car?

We just have to add this work as a set of work mimicking the others.



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