Currently, there are two different Guided Steps plugins available in SAP Digital Manufacturing: Guided Steps – POD and Guided Steps – Production Process plugins.
These plugins can assist Workers in performing their daily tasks within PODs by guiding them step-by-step through the required POD Plugins to execute a given Operational Activity or Phase in a sequence predefined by a Production Engineer using Production Processes, which prevents them from skipping or missing any crucial steps in the manufacturing process.
An interesting example of Guided Steps usage is to enforce an Electronic Signature step after a relevant manufacturing process step.
In this blog post, you can find two Guided Steps demos for both Process and Discrete Industries, we will explore Guided Steps plugins, learn the differences betwen POD and Production Process versions, and see how to setup and utilize one of them in Order POD.
Guided Steps - POD vs Guided Steps - Production Process
Both Guided Steps plugins display and enforce POD Plugins in a predefined sequence required to be executed for a given Operation or Phase by Workers.
The Guided Steps - Production Process version can interact back with the Production Process behind it to persist the Worker's current position in the predefined execution flow. This way, if the POD is restarted, the process's position is restored from where it was left off.
On the other hand, the Guided Steps - POD version does not persist progress and starts the execution sequence from the very beginning each time it loads.
Persistence is the fundamental difference between the two versions of Guided Steps plugins currently available in SAP Digital Manufacturing.
In this example, we will configure the Guided Steps - POD plugin version in an Order POD for a Process Industry scenario, see details below. If you are trying to configure Guided Steps plugins to a Discrete scenario in Work Center or Operation Acitivity PODs, please make sure you understand the differences and implications, and adapt the setup accordingly.
First, Create or Copy an existing Order POD: Use the POD Designer app to create a new Order POD or duplicate an existing one.
Then, create distinct Layout pages for each and every specific POD Plugin you plan to include in the Guided Steps flow.
For this example, I deleted the pre-existing "Work Instruction" and "Data Collection" Pages to avoid duplicated POD Plugins to cause conflicts with the Guided Step ones. Next, I created the following Layout pages: Work instructions, Material Consumption, Data Collection, Quantity Confirmation, Electronic Signature and Activity Confirmation.
On each Layout page, add a Plugin Container and the corresponding POD Plugin, marked as Default and properly configured to meet your requirements. Example:
* Note that for plugins like Data Collection and Work Instruction Viewer, "Independent Mode" must be switched ON.
Next, on the Details page, add a Plugin Container and the Guided Steps - POD plugin marked as Default as follows:
* Note that Guided Steps is the only plugin in the main are af Details page. There are no plugins in the Icon Tab bar, which is empty, and no other plugins below Guided Steps, giving enough room for Guided Steps to load properly.
Select the plugin and click "Show the Configuration Panel" in the top-right corner of POD Designer.
Under "Available Actions," map each "Action" to the respective "Layout Page" you created as follows:
This will tell the POD which Layout page should be shown for each POD Plugin (Action) in the Production Process flow that will be created on the next step.
* Note that you can switch ON/OFF the Enforce Order of Steps configuration, where:
If ON, then the steps of the production process must be executed in the defined order.
If OFF, then the steps of the production process can be executed in any order.
Save and Publish your POD as a Tile.
Create a new Production Process and a new Cloud Process in Design Production Processes app.
Add a "Start" control, where you must define a POD Connection, and include all the desired POD Plugins in the desired sequence you wish them to display in POD, as shown below:
Add an "End" control and Save it.
* Note that Custom Plugins are also supported and can be added to Production Processes created to represent Guided Step flows.
Click on "Additional Options" ("...") at the top right corner of your Cloud Process and select "Edit Header" option:
Toggle "ON" the "Publish to Service Registry" option as follows:
Save and deploy your Production Process.
Next, edit your Master Routing in Manage Routings/Recipes app and assign the newly created Production Process to the desired Operation(s) or Phase(s) as follows:
* Note that you can create and assign different Production Processes with different POD Plugin flows to fit specific Operation(s) or Phase(s) needs.
Production Processes assigned to Operation(s) or Phase(s) of Master Routings or Recipes are copied to Order-Specific Routings or Recipes during Order Download integration messages from ERP.
Guided Steps setup is completed and you can now test it by running your Order POD and checking the Phase(s) where a Production Process was assigned to.
The end result should be something similar to this:
Where all POD Plugins defined on your Production Process flow should show in the predefined sequence on Guided Steps plugin, to be executed by the Worker in the POD, who can navigate in the flow by clicking "Next" button at the top right corner of the Guided Steps plugin.
If Enforce Order of Steps is ON in POD Designer, Workers must execute all the POD Plugins in sequence. If it's OFF, Workers can skip POD Plugins and navigate freely between the POD Plugins included on the flow.
Guided Steps plugins supports only simple linear production processes that don't contain nested steps, conditional steps, or parallel steps.
If you access a plugin through the Guided Steps plugins, don't reference the plugin elsewhere in the POD.
Don't reference a Layout Page with an Icon Tab Bar that contains a Layout Container.
Plugins accessed through the Guided Steps plugins are contained within Layout Pages.
Plugins within Layout Pages shouldn't be launched through a production process.
Guided Steps plugins are only supported in a Fixed Layout.
Only view plugins appear in Guided Steps plugins.
The Guided Steps plugins are the only view plugin that doesn't appear in the Guided Steps plugins itself.
In conclusion, the two Guided Steps plugins available within SAP Digital Manufacturing present a flexible and robust solution to guide Workers and ensure the accurate execution of manufacturing operations.
Guided Steps effectively mitigate the risk of overlooking critical steps in the production process, thereby enhancing operational efficiency and maintaining a consistent level of quality.
Experiencing SAP Digital Manufacturing
You can have a glimpse and experience several aspects of SAP Digital Manufacturing via the Interactive Value Journeys below: