What Is Intent Management: The True Meaning Behind Pedigree, Grade, and Tiers

Clarity and quality are paramount in manufacturing, but one often-overlooked aspect is what we call production intent management. But what is intent management, and why did we coin the term?

ION uses "intent" to represent the pedigree, grade, and tier of each part because every part starts with a specific goal. Is this part destined for a flight vehicle, or is it meant for a test bench setup? ION ensures that a part's initial intent guides where it can be installed, preventing it from being used inappropriately elsewhere.

Incorrect intent management can lead to the following scenario: A research and development technician is inspecting a production flight vehicle intended for regulatory qualification. His goal is to compare the production assembly to his experimental test setup. During the inspection, he places bagged R&D fastener inventory on the ground dangerously close to a bag of similar fasteners.

The next day, a production technician, unaware of the R&D fasteners, uses them to install a part. Despite scanning the bag's lot number, no notification is triggered. Consequently, the company is exposed to regulatory and safety risks in an instant unknowingly. 

With ION, an assembly would have been blocked from moving forward when the incorrect R&D fastener was scanned. Let's further examine how ION Factory OS prevents mistakes like these from happening, and in doing so limits a company’s risk.

ION’s Intent management enables users to define the intended use case for every production step or object. Ranging from the receiving inspection associated with a part to the final sign off before being installed on a spacecraft destined for the moon, different tiers of intent signify varying tiers of requirements and quality:

  • FLIGHT: Demanding stringent qualification, usually for customer-facing and locked product designs.
  • DEVELOPMENT: Mid-level qualification, often seen in developmental processes when testing is taking place and there is still iteration.
  • ENGINEERING: Little to no qualification, typically reserved for research and development and often serving as proof of concept.

Understanding the intent behind each part is crucial for effective risk management. As manufacturers scale, ensuring intent integrity becomes crucial to prevent cross-pollination between developmental and production phases regardless of the size of the organization. As a modern MES that manages quality in lockstep with production, ION acts as a central hub for utilizing and communicating key information across teams supported by logic-based workflows. This allows for seamless transfer of information between different objects like runs, part objects, inventory items, and POs. Having access to intent in all these objects makes navigating diverse production processes leaps and bounds easier.

Some use cases for logic that can be configured using ION intent management include:

  • Preventing lower tier parts from being kitted on a kit destined for a higher tier assembly.
  • Preventing lower tier parts from being installed on a higher tier assembly.
  • Ensuring that intent still matches parent assembly in the case where a part has been downgraded after install.
  • Determining receiving inspection based on intent indicated on a PO.
  • Tying intent with purchase orders to drive inspections.
  • Auto-assigning intent to all work orders or requiring that intent be assigned on work orders.
  • Making part inventory adopt part intent based on that part's current lifecycle stage.

ION’s intent management solution stops risk exposure in its tracks mitigating safety risks and compliance issues with regulatory bodies.

ION’s intent management can be deployed by any customer using ION, or by contacting Customer Success at First Resonance.