I am currently attempting to formulate a plan/procedure/convention/ whatever you want to label it, to initially document and then track changes to custom built machines that we receive in from outside vendors. The main challenge at hand is how to handle the vendors' information (e.g. CAD, electronic docs, BOM, etc.) in regard to inputing the information into our system (Windchill). The next challenge is how to track any updates/changes beyond the initial receipt of the machines and associated information. I would like to hear from anyone who has a similar situation and how they have handled things.
I'm not sure I understand what your challenges are? If the vendor has a full CAD model and complete supporting documents, then you can simply check all of that into your PLM/PDM as though you are the originator.
If you are asking about possible problems? Well, the vendor could provide poor documentation. They could provide the documentation in a manner that you didn't expect. In either case, you'll have to go through what they provided to verify everything and possible reorganize model assembly trees, file naming conventions, etc.
Assuming all of that is in order (whether from the vendor or by your own hand), you should drive changes and track them through your own system. Don't rely on the vendor to update what is now your drawings and specs. You update your documentation, and then provide those updates to whoever is doing the actual work.
Are their other problems you foresee that you'd like addressed?
I agree with Matt. Use your PDM system just like you do for your own documents. I believe Windchill can handle any document type.
Because we do a lot of contract manufacturing and recieve all kinds of prints, models, etc, from customers our document control system is set- up such that we use the customer numbers and rev's the vast majority of the time. No reason to re-invent the wheel by assigning our own numbers/rev's to the customer drawings. The only time we assign our own number/rev is when the outside source document does not have a document id/rev.
We have a category in our VisualVault document management system for "Controlled Customer Drawings, External Origin Standards, Specs, Etc" this category is set-up to allow us to input any form of document id and rev that an outside source document has. We can add parent/child relationship to handle BOM's and related relationships to handle any supporting documents.
This works exactly the same as if we generated the documents internally with Auer part numbers.
Shoot me an e-mail at Auer and I will set you up with access to your files/documents we have in our VisualVault system for you. It may give you some ideas.