Get an overview of our Approvals feature for companies operating in highly-regulated industries
In this article, you will learn:
- The details of the Approvals feature
- Who needs to be included in Tulip Account to enable approvals
- Combining Approvals with LDAP and SAML authentication
The Approvals feature is only available in Enterprise plans
If your company operates in a highly regulated industry (like pharmaceuticals or medical devices), you may need a way to ensure the approval of new apps by multiple parties before they can be deployed on a production floor.
Tulip has a feature called Approvals that creates rules for individual apps.
In Tulip, the user that creates a new app is known as the “App Owner”. The App Owner can add “Approvers” from multiple departments to an individual app in order to make sure that the app complies with company requirements.
Once Approvers are added to an app, they must approve every new version of the app before it can be deployed to the shop floor.
Here’s how you can configure Approvals and manage the publishing process in your Tulip Account.
Adding Approval Types
Before adding Approvers, you must specify the Approval Types you would like to create. Common examples include Compliance, Production and Operational Quality.
To create these categories, click the "Settings" option under your profile icon in the Menu Bar.
Then, select "Approval Types" in the menu on the left.
From this screen, you can create new categories for Approval Types.
By default, three approval types are available:
- Quality Assurance
- Manufacturing Best Practices
Adding Approvers to Your App
As an App Owner, you can manually add Approvers in the “Approvals” tab of the App Summary View. The Approver must be a Tulip user, not an operator.
Once you add an Approver for a specific “Approval Type”, the Type will be automatically “enabled”.
In order to choose Approvers, click the “Edit” symbol in the Approvers column.
Then, use the search bar to search and select a Tulip user.
Default approvers are automatically added as app approvers when apps are created using “new app” option in the create app modal, using a library template, duplicating an existing app, and importing an app. Add Users as default approvers in the Approval Types settings page.
Users without the ability to edit App Approvals will see a read-only version of the page when opened.
Different Versions of An App
Your app has three types of versions that can exist concurrently in the "Versions" tab:
- A Development Version, which Tulip users can edit if they have editing permissions for the given app
- A Published Version, which can be deployed to the shop floor
- A version with pending Approvals, which cannot be edited until it is approved or rejected
Once you successfully publish an app, the published version will be permanently available. Every time you publish the app, a new published version is created. But, there is only one development version.
Since Apps require approval, the version with pending approvals will be un-editable while you wait for Approvers to approve or reject the new proposed version. If you want to make changes to a version with pending approvals, you must cancel the proposal, and then re-publish an updated development version.
This means that an app version can have five states:
- Published pending approval
- Approval request cancelled
The Operator’s experience will not change until a new version is approved and the app transitions from "Published pending approval" to "Published".
When you are ready to publish a new version of your app, go to the “Versions” tab within the App Editor. Then click “Publish” next to the Development Version.
Then, add some notes so the Approvers will know what changed.
The App will now be in the “Published pending approval” state, and all Approvers will receive an email with instructions to review the newest version.
How To Approve An App
If you are an Approver, you must navigate to the specific app that you need to review and then select the “Versions” tab. Then, click the pill icon in the “Versions” column to either Accept or Reject the new version.
Then, you will be able to see the description of the new version and any history of approvals. Select “Accept” or “Reject” after you have reviewed the version.
A comment/feedback must be provided in order to reject an App approval.
To view the feedback provided if an app is rejected, navigate to the versions tab and click on the pill icon as show below:
In order to review the app, an Approver will likely need to download and use the Tulip Player to inspect the app from the perspective of an operator.
In order to successfully Accept the app, you must re-authenticate with your credentials to prove your identity.
After all Approvers have approved a specific version, it will become the “Last Published Version”. By default, all Stations are set to run the most recent published version of an app. The next time that an operator runs the app in the Tulip Player, they will experience the updated version.
- How to restore a "Development Version" of an App from a "Published Version.
- Managing Multiple App Versions
- Using LDAP With Tulip
- Using SAML with Tulip