A STEP record marks the beginning of an operation. There are two basic types of STEP – in-house and sub-contracted. An in-house STEP is one you perform using your facilities; a sub-contracted STEP is one that is performed on your behalf by a contractor using their facilities. STEPs can have any number of PARTs, TOOLs, RESOURCEs (when in-house) or SUPPLIERs (when sub-contracted).
STEPs are performed in sequence, starting at the top of the method (or assembly) and working down. The result of each step is implicitly handed to the next step for further work. If you say nothing, the entire result of a step is handed to the next, but this can be controlled if necessary (via the “Next Step Needs” quantity).
A STEP can also be in-line or separate. An in-line STEP is performed within the same works order as the STEP after it. A separate STEP causes the planning system to create a separate works order for subsequent steps. When a sub-contracted step is separate, the planning system will create a works order to create the free-issue ‘kit’ to pass to the contractor, a purchase order to specify what you want the contractor to do, and another works order to cover any work required once the contractor has done their bit.
Another specification you can give to STEPs is whether progress logging is optional or compulsory. When compulsory, attempting to log progress on subsequent steps will not be allowed unless progress has also been logged on this one.