Sources (part)

The Sources lists show approved parts that are purchased from one or more approved vendor sources. A sources list is sometimes called an Approved Manufacturer List ("AML") or Approved Vendor List ("AVL").

Source parts are provided by partner organizations, and these partners assign their own part numbers.

The Sources lists are shown only if Show Sources tab checkbox is marked on the Part Types collection member.

You first make the source record with the partner's information in the part's Owner and Number data fields, along with related information such as the purchased part Type and partner's Part name. You can also attach files, such as datasheets or supplier specifications, to the source record. The iteration's Revision lets you to track information changes (such as datasheet or catalog files), while the business Lifecycle tends to be quite static, often simply Production or perhaps Approved.

After you've made and saved the source part, you add it as an approved part onto the Markup list of your organization's purchased part record.

If a part iteration has not yet been released, then the Current list isn't shown.

After the part is released, the Current list always show the latest released iteration of each approved source. And, a source component's new iteration automatically shows on its parents' Sources list as soon as the component is released.

When you want to revise the list of approved sources, you make a new part record iteration and show on the Markup list the parts to keep, add or remove.

Although your supply chain partners are your normal part sources, your own organization may also be the source for a part. This may occur if you want to consolidate several interchangeable parts with different part numbers under a single preferred number, or if you're switching to a different part numbering system and want the old parts to be a temporary source for the new part numbers.

Markup list §

This is the initial set of parts that will be approved for use on the iteration. The Markup list shows parts that have been previously approved for use, as well those parts that are being added or removed as approved sources.

While the part iteration is pending, a source record's most recent pending or released iteration is shown.

To change the contents of the Markup list:

  • Add a new source to the list by dragging a part from the Search or Recent lists of the Item Explorer, and then dropping it onto the Markup list. Modify the Rank and add Notes as needed.

  • Edit the Rank or Notes on an existing item by selecting the source, opening the context menu, and selecting the Change Row with Same Item command. A new row is added, and the notes can be edited.

  • Replace an existing source by dragging an item from the Item Explorer and dropping it onto an existing Markup row. The notes are copied to the replacement row, and can be edited.

  • Remove an existing source by selecting the source, opening the context menu, and selecting the Remove Item From List command (or pressing your keyboard's Delete key). The row is still shown, but is marked to be removed upon release.

Releasing the part iteration on a change form copies the Markup list to the Current list. (Removed sources aren't copied.) The released iteration's Markup list cannot be changed. It permanently shows the released child iteration as the row's starting point.

Current list §

This is the most recent set of parts that are approved for use on the iteration. While a part iteration remains pending, its Current list remains hidden.

After a part iteration is released, its Current list always shows the latest released iteration of a source item. That is, each time a source item is revised and released, the part's Current list is automatically updated to the new child's iteration.

When a part iteration is canceled, the Current list is locked to show the source part iterations that were valid at the time of cancelation. If a source item is subsequently revised, the canceled part's Current list won't be updated.

Markup and Current data fields §

Use the part icon to drag a part from the list to any other location that accepts a part. To select multiple parts, click on the first row, press the keyboard Shift (range) or Ctrl (individual), then click on a different row.

The part's trustee can edit the Markup list while the iteration remains pending. Both Sources lists are locked when the iteration is released or canceled.

Rank §

Rank is product advice to help purchasing and production.

All source (partner) parts meet the parent (home) part's technical requirements. The home part's inventory location may freely intermix preferred and non-preferred sources without further selection.

A source part that has the most-preferred technical properties is ranked as 1. Ideally, all sources equally meet the requirement without further qualification, all have similar technical properties, and all are ranked as 1.

An interchangeable but less desirable source may not be ranked as 1 although it fully meets the technical requirement. For example, if the service life requirement is 20,000 hours, a preferred source may offer 30,000 hours while a non-preferred part is rated for 22,000 hours. In this case, the preferred part is the better choice – unless purchasing finds it is too expensive or affects the production schedule.

Use the Notes to explain why the source received its rank: incoming inspection time; sorting labor and scrap cost; production yield; service life; etc. All inspection, testing or other processing of a non-preferred part must occur before intermixing it with existing inventory.

A revised requirement or new partner datasheet may affect rank. However, changing the rank typically doesn't affect the technical content of the source part or its parent part, since all sources remain interchangeable regardless of rank.

A source's technical rank isn't affected by business considerations like price, payment terms, or current inventory. Downstream activities in purchasing and production apply their own business rules: Which source is available today to meet the production schedule? Can we get a special price today by bundling other purchases? Can we get a part today that's almost as good, if we accept a higher scrap rate? The downstream team uses the part's technical rank as one factor of many to decide today's strategy.

The Rank field is not under revision control, and can be edited by the trustee and product team members.

The Rank field is not under revision control, and can be edited by the trustee and product team members. See the Notes data field, below.

Item §

This identifies the approved source: partner organization, its part number and description.

Notes §

You may use this text for any purpose.

The content of this field is indexed, and returns the source item.

The Notes (and Rank) field is not under revision control, and can be edited by the trustee and product team members.

  • To change the released iteration's value without creating a new iteration, unlock the released iteration, select the Markup list, and edit the data.

  • To keep the previous iteration's value, create a new iteration. On the Markup list, select the Remove Item from List command. Find the same part in the Item Explorer, or drag the removed part's icon into the empty area on the Markup list. Then edit the data.

Use the sort buttons along the top of each list to temporarily adjust the sources.

Hints for identifying your supply chain partners §

Every purchased part in your warehouse has at least one, and preferably several, approved original manufacturer sources. Parts are interchangeable with each other because their relevant functional and physical properties are equivalent. Part interchangeability – form, fit, and function equivalence – states that any approved source can be used for the application.

One of a product designer's principal tasks is identifying which items are sourced from outside the company, and then qualifying those sources to ensure that they comply with the design requirements. The qualification task requires a review of the manufacturer's specifications, and possibly testing the part's performance within the intended environment. In summary:

  • Part requirements are defined by the home organization.

  • Part functional and performance specifications are defined by the part's original manufacturer.

  • When the part meets its published specifications, it's the result of the original manufacturer's engineering and production procedures.

  • When the part fails to meet the published specification, only the original manufacturer can address the problem.

Of course, manufacturer's representative, reseller or distributor often helps communications between you and the manufacturer. But an agent can't be more than an assistant: if you have a problem with the part meeting the published spec, the agent may give you a refund but certainly won't revise the original design documents, examine the production procedure, or write a corrective action.

Engineering has qualified the source using the manufacturer's technical data, and identifies it using the manufacturer's – not agent's – name and part number.

From a requirements perspective, engineering is neutral on how the part is obtained. Purchasing chooses the best way to obtain the qualified part, and this choice is affected by the dynamics of business relationships, contracts, schedules, shipping rates, payment terms and (especially) prices. If a new distributor can offer better terms, or quicker delivery, then the decision is within the scope of production rather than design, and no engineering participation is expected.

While supply chain details don't always belong in the product definition, designers often have useful knowledge about where to get parts. Designers can add supply chain details to assist their purchasing colleagues. If supply chain details would be helpful, then:

  • Use the source's rank to distinguish your primary (truly qualified) manufacturer part(s) from secondary (indirectly qualified) distributor part(s). For example, you may want to establish a rule that all indirectly-qualified sources are given ranks higher than, say, 20. If you include distributors on your sources list, any updates would require bumping the parent part's revision and releasing a change form. – OR –
  • Add distributors' part numbers into the manufacturer part record's Notes field or in a set of custom attribute fields selected from members of the Organizations collection. Since these are item-level properties, updates won't require a change form.

Related topics