Learn how this often-overlooked feature can prove beneficial

 *Kevin Frye, D-Tools Senior Manager, Professional Services

The Lock feature in our SI platform, while simple to use and understand, is easy to overlook. In this post, we will demonstrate what the Lock feature does, how to use it, and discuss reasons why you might consider adopting it in your own project process.

What does the Lock feature do?

The Lock feature allows you to lock Products from being edited within a project. If you attempt to edit a locked item, you will find all data fields are greyed out and not editable.

Using the Lock Feature

The Lock feature has two options; Lock Items and Unlock Items.  There are two direct methods to engage the feature. From the Project Editor, in the standard Items view, select one or more products.  Then use one of the following methods:

Option 1. Click Tools → Lock → Lock Items.

Option 2. Right-click on the selection set.  Choose Lock → Lock Items.

To unlock previously locked items, use the same methods but choose Lock → Unlock Items.


Related Project Settings

While setting the Lock feature manually works well, there is also a way to have items locked automatically.  From the Settings → Project Settings window, select the Tasks option and set ‘Automatically lock items when items are marked as installed’ to Yes.

Whether you make use of the SI calendar and tasking system, or you manually set the Install Status of items in your projects, SI will automatically lock items with the Installed data field checked.









Solving other process related problems with the Lock feature

It makes sense to engage the Lock feature after installing a product on a project.  Once installed, there are few situations where updating product data is necessary. What about using the Lock feature at other points in the project timeline?  Are there circumstances where this might make sense?

Let us use an example of a typical company where different SI users manage system design and pricing. In their process, the design team generates the SI project file with all the products, while the purchasing team confirms all product pricing.  Everything works well until a change order is generated and the purchasing team, tasked with keeping project pricing correct, updates the prices for products already in contract. At this point, if the design team issues a change order based on the latest data, it will appear that already contracted products have changed price. We can use the Lock feature as a safety mechanism at the point of sale to alleviate this issue. Let us adjust our process slightly to offer relief.

Updated Project Workflow

  1. Start by creating a project in SI in the normal fashion.
  2. When the project is sold, perform two tasks.
    1. Create a Revision to store a snapshot of the sold state.
    2. Open the project and lock the products. Save the project in the locked state.
  3. When a change is requested, open the project and make additions and deletions as necessary.
  4. When the purchasing team opens the project to set proper pricing, only added/changed items should be editable. Using a Quick Filter, the Project Editor can be filtered to only show unlocked items.
  5. Pricing updates can be performed on the changed items.
  6. When the changes are accepted, repeat step 2.

We hope this post offered some insight into a feature that you may not have used in the past.  If you found it useful or have thoughts on other techniques that help you keep track of your projects, please let us know.

Here are some helpful links with additional information:

Lock/Unlock Items

Project Editor Tools Tab

Project Settings

Revisions/Change Orders

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