Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

Quality management is one of the most important initiatives any company that manufactures a product can undertake. This is especially true for companies producing products that must adhere to tight tolerances and meet demanding customer expectations. For quality inspectors, the Integration of Quality Management Systems (IQMS) ES bundle provides a comprehensive set of enterprise services to enable SAP customers to integrate their quality inspection data and manage compliance-related issues across the enterprise. However, in order to perform quality inspections, you first need to create an inspection plan. This is the purpose of the Easy Inspection Planning ES bundle. This bundle simplifies the process of creating inspection plans that clearly state the characteristics that a quality product must possess.

What the Easy Inspection Planning ES Bundle Does

The first step in creating an inspection plan is to define all the master inspection characteristics that are needed. Inspection characteristics can be created on the fly at the discretion of the inspector, but master inspection characteristics are master data that can be reused from one inspection plan to another. Before you create the plan, you have to create any master inspection characteristics you need for that plan (unless they already exist).
To explain, master inspection characteristics are used to test a particular product or product component for various quality metrics and controls. These characteristics are specific to what is being tested in order to guide the quality inspector. For example, master inspection characteristics can be used to set tolerances for component parts, define the color of a product, the pH of liquids, and define any other necessary metric that is needed to comply with regulations or meet customer expectations. Master inspection characteristics fall into two categories:

  • Quantitative - These are inspection characteristics with tangible units of measurement used to capture numeric values to determine if the product meets certain tolerance limits and adheres to de jure and de facto standards. For example, paint often must have a certain pH value, an automotive component must adhere to set tolerances if it is going to be able to fit within an engine or body dimension, and medications must adhere to numerous strict standards in order to comply with government regulations. The enterprise services in the Easy Inspection Planning ES bundle make it possible enter tolerance limits or target values for any type of units.
  • Qualitative - Qualitative measures are less tangible aspects of a product that are generally assessed on a pass/fail basis. For example, a quantitative inspection would test for the proper pH value for paint while a qualitative characteristic would be a visual test to ensure the paint is the proper color. So if a company manufactures bumper assemblies for a specific brand truck, inspectors would check to make sure the paint is the right color, the design is correct, that the components are assembled properly, that the metal pieces don't have cracks in them, that the seams are smooth, and any other characteristic a product must meet in order to pass inspection.

Easy Inspection Planning (click to enlarge)


The Business Problems This ES Bundle Solves

The Easy Inspection Planning ES Bundle will help companies be more productive and flexible in creating and modifying inspection plans. Specific benefits of deploying this ES bundle include:

  • Higher Productivity - The bundle provides enterprise services to help users reduce the amount of time it takes to create an inspection plan. A simplified composite application can be created for quality planners, enabling them to quickly define master inspection characteristics and create an inspection plan.
  • Closed Loop Inspection Planning - The enterprise services in this ES bundle support a closed loop inspection planning approach, a system of integrated planning processes for both requested inspections and inspections that are a regular aspect of the production cycle. In this way, inspection plans can include elements that are required in order to comply with standards such as ISO-TS 16949.
  • Greater Flexibility - This ES bundle increases flexibility in several ways. The enterprise services can be used to create composite applications for a particular role and to suit a particular company's needs. Once the plans are created, they can be distributed to diverse locations and different systems using XML. The bundle also provides services that deliver new functionality by enabling updates to quality inspection plans from external sources or, for example, can facilitate the creation of inspection plans from CAD drawings.

The Easy Inspection Planning ES bundle leverages enterprise SOA by service-enabling the process of creating and maintaining inspection plans and related master data in SAP ERP Quality Management.

Audience

All manufacturing companies that want to implement a closed loop inspection planning process from product development to ramp-up production phase or that want to simplify inspection planning in SAP ERP Quality Management will find this ES bundle of value.

This ES bundle is particularly targeted at quality planners and engineers, but will also benefit quality inspectors.

For details on Service Operations, Business Objects and Process Components, please check the ES Workplace.


How To Use This ES Bundle

Until now, the process of setting up and maintaining quality inspection plans and related master data has been cumbersome and has required substantial knowledge on the part of the user to navigate through the process in SAP ERP Quality Management. This ES bundle makes it possible to develop composite applications that streamline the task of creating and maintaining quality inspection plans and master inspection characteristics.

The following table relates terms from SAP ERP Quality Management to their enterprise SOA equivalents.

SAP ERP Quality Management

enterprise SOA

Master Inspection Characteristic

Inspection Specification

Inspection Plan

Inspection Bill of Operations

The following sections explore five use cases for the Easy Inspection Planning ES Bundle. Each is intended to provide concrete examples for the types of functions the bundle supports and shows how different outcomes can be achieved by using the enterprise services in different combinations. While these use cases demonstrate a few of the ways the bundle can be used, they are designed to highlight the flexibility and reusability of the business objects and enterprise service operations in order to impart a clearer understanding of how they can be deployed in the customer's business environment. Please note that the use cases may describe users directly invoking enterprise services; services are called by a composite application. This convention is used to illustrate the process flow. Please also note that no composite application or any kind of user interface is delivered with this ES bundle.
This wiki is also the space for readers to share knowledge and collaborate with others that are implementing the Easy Inspection Planning ES bundle.

Use Case 1: Setting Up Quality Management Master Inspection Characteristics

Before creating an inspection plan, the quality planner must first establish the Master Inspection Characteristics needed for the plan. This includes both the qualitative and quantitative characteristics. (If the master inspection characteristics have already been set up, move on to use case 2.)

The quality planner launches the composite application that the manufacturing company created to help create inspection plans. First the quality planner searches to make sure that the master inspection characteristic that she needs doesn't already exist by using the Find Inspection Specification Basic Data by Elements
enterprise service, which uses the Inspection Specification business object. This business object holds the master inspection characteristics master data. She might examine various master inspection characteristics by selecting them from the list returned by the find service, which then invokes the Read Inspection Specification
enterprise service operation.

After discovering that she needs to create a new master inspection characteristic, she selects the option to do so, which displays a screen where she can enter relevant data for the new master inspection characteristic. She enters information such control indicators, short text, and the like. Next she enters specification limits for quantitative characteristics or code group entries for qualitative characteristics.

She can also assign inspection methods or catalogs of codes, which group information about materials such as attributes, possible defects, and defect causes codes, to this master inspection characteristic.

Finally, the user submits the information about this master inspection characteristic, which invokes the Check Inspection Specification Creation
enterprise service. This validates the information entered and requests that the user change any fields that may not have been entered properly or are blank but are required. After making any needed changes, the user submits the master inspection characteristic, which invokes Create Inspection Specification.

The process for changing a master inspection characteristic is similar. In this case, the user finds the inspection characteristic by invoking the Find Inspection Specification Basic Data by Elements
enterprise service and then selects it, which invokes Read Inspection Specification. The user makes any necessary changes to the data and then enters it, which invokes Check Inspection Specification Change. The backend system validates the change, and then the user invokes Change Inspection Specification to make the change.

The inspection planner repeats these steps to set up all the master data she will need for her inspection plan and then moves on to use case 2 to create the inspection plan itself.

To create a new master inspection characteristic:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: Open the composite application and search for a master inspection characteristic (to make sure it doesn't already exist)

Find Inspection Specification Basic Data by Elements
, followed by Read Inspection Specification

Step 2: Enter mandatory data (control indicators, short text, and so on)

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 3: Enter specification limits or code group for qualitative characteristics

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 4: Assign the inspection characteristic to catalogs, inspection methods, and so forth

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 5: Submit the data, which then validates it in the backend system

Check Inspection Specification Creation

Step 6: Submit the newly created master inspection characteristic

Change Inspection Specification

To change a master inspection characteristic:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: Open the composite application and search for the master inspection characteristic to be changed

Find Inspection Specification Basic Data by Elements, followed by Read Inspection Specification

Step 2: Change data as needed

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 3: Submit the changes, which then validates the data in the backend system

Check Inspection Specification Change

Step 4: Change the master inspection characteristic

Change Inspection Specification

Use Case 2: Creating or Changing Inspection Plans

This use case demonstrates how you can create a new inspection plan or change an existing inspection plan. Simply put, an inspection plan is a task list for inspectors to follow as they perform inspections.

The planner opens the composite application and selects the option to create a new inspection plan. He then enters mandatory header data. Next he enters the bulk of the information for the inspection plan: the steps the inspector must take to inspect the item in question. He enters required data such as operation number and control key. He then adds the master inspection characteristics that the inspector must examine (which were created, if they didn't already exist, in use case 1). The user submits the inspection plan, which invokes the Check Inspection Bill of Operations Creation enterprise service operation, which uses the Inspection Bill of Operations business object (this represents the inspection plan). If all the data is correct, the user then creates the inspection plan by invoking Create Inspection Bill of Operations.

To create an inspection plan:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: Open the composite application and select the option for creating a new inspection plan

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 2: Enter mandatory header data

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 3: Add operations and/or details plus mandatory data such as operation number and control key

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 4: Add the master inspection characteristics

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 5: Add any additional inspection characteristics

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 6: Validate inspection plan data

Check Inspection Bill of Operations Creation

Step 7: Submit the inspection plan

Create Inspection Bill of Operations

To change an existing inspection plan, the user first searches for the inspection plan to change by invoking Find Inspection Bill of Operations Basic Data by Elements. The user selects the inspection plan he wants to change from the list, which invokes Read Inspection Bill of Operations. He then makes whatever changes are necessary to the inspection plans and submits it, which validates the information by invoking Check Inspection Bill of Operations Change. If all the data is complete, the quality planner submits it by invoking Change Inspection Bill of Operations.

To change an inspection plan:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: Find the inspection plan that needs to be changed

Find Inspection Bill of Operations Basic Data by Elements

Step 2: Select the plan

Read Inspection Bill of Operations

Step 3: Make whatever changes are necessary

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 4: Validate the inspection plan data

Check Inspection Bill of Operations Change

Step 5: Submit the updated plan

Change Inspection Bill of Operations

New Functionality

To date, there has been no BAPI in SAP ERP to update inspection plans from external sources, so the Change Inspection Bill of Operations enterprise service represents a significant functional enhancement.

Use Case 3: Printing Quality Management Inspection Plan

Often users want a printed copy of an inspection plan so that they can check off items and take notes about various aspects of the inspection plan. A company can create a composite application can be created that will enable users to create an individual user interface to display inspection plans as well as creating a user-friendly printout. This function allows companies and their partners to create Adobe Interactive Forms or a user interface using a tool such as Web Dynpro to display and optionally print the inspection plan.

First, the user searches for the inspection plan he wants by invoking Find Inspection Bill of Operations Basic Data by Elementsand then selecting the desired inspection plan, which invokes Read Inspection Bill of Operations. The composite application then displays the inspection plan or formats it for printing, as desired.

To display an inspection plan and print it:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: Retrieve the inspection plan

Find Inspection Bill of Operations Basic Data by Elements

Step 2: Display the inspection plan

Read Inspection Bill of Operations

Step 3: Print the inspection plan in a user friendly format

(none; handled by the composite application)

Use Case 4: Distribution of Inspection Plans Across Different Systems

Many companies store and maintain their master data and inspection plans in one central system to which different locations and systems gain access. Often there is a need to distribute this data throughout the enterprise or to partners across a number of different systems. In order to accommodate a variety of systems the composite application will use a standard format such as XML in order to exchange the information. This is an extension of use case 2 that occurs in the backend. The composite application can be designed in such a way that whenever an inspection plan is created, if the change is relevant for other locations, the user selects a checkbox to indicate that the change should be sent to other locations and systems. Once the inspection plan is created or changed, invoking Create Inspection Bill of Operations or Change Inspection Bill of Operations then triggers the creation and distribution of the plan, in XML format, to other locations that require this information.

To distribute a revised inspection plan to other locations (distributing new plans follows a similar process flow):

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: An administrator selects systems and locations to which XML files of inspection plans should be sent

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 2: In the composite application, the user finds the relevant plan to be modified

Find Inspection Bill of Operations Basic Data by Elements

Step 3: The user selects the plan

Read Inspection Bill of Operations

Step 4: The user makes whatever changes are necessary

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 5: The backend system validates the inspection plan data

Check Inspection Bill of Operations Change

Step 6: The user submits the updated plan, selecting a checkbox that indicates that the changes should be distributed

Change Inspection Bill of Operations

Step 7: The revised inspection plan is distributed to systems designated in step 1

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Use Case 5: Translation of Short and Long Texts from Master Inspection Characteristics by External Service Providers

In a globally connected world, companies often need to translate inspection plans and master inspection characteristics into a number of different languages in order for them to be used at different locales. This is also true where the workforce in a given location may speak any one of a number of languages.

In particular, master inspection characteristics must be translated into the user's language because the inspectors need to be able to accurately assess the product in order to perform the inspection.

Masterful Manufacturing has decided to outsource its translation effort to an external translation agency. It provides a composite application to the translators so that they can translate the master inspection characteristics.

The translator logs into the composite application, which runs Find Inspection Specification Basic Data by Elements. The service returns a list of master inspection characteristics that need to have their short and long descriptions translated. The translator selects one from the list, invoking the Read Inspection Specification enterprise service. The translator enters translations for the short and long description and then submits the changes, which invokes Check Inspection Specification Change. If translations for both the short and long description of the characteristic have been entered, the user invokes Change Inspection Specification to submit the changes, which saves the updated information in the backend system.

To allow translators to update descriptions for master inspection characteristics:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: The translator opens the composite application and the composite pulls up a list of master inspection characteristics that need to have translation work done

Find Inspection Specification Basic Data by Elements

Step 2: The translator selects one from the list

Read Inspection Specification

Step 3: The translator enters translations for the short and long descriptions and submits the information for the selected language (language indicator available within the enterprise service

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 4: The backend system validates the changes

Check Inspection Specification Change

Step 5: The user submits the changes

Change Inspection Specification

Future Directions

Additional business objects relating to inspection master data may also be service-enabled, including certificate profiles and inspection methods. However, of particular interest will be those services that can contribute to new or existing business processes and that address important customer issues or add substantial business value.

System Requirements

Related ES Bundles

End-to-end Processes Where This ES Bundle Is Used

SOA Homepage on SDN