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August 27, 2016
Why and How to Use Production Process Management

Why and How to Use Production Process Management (PPM) in Smart Manufacturing

 

 

By Michael McClellan, CSI; Darren Riley, Dassault Systémes; Tim Sanford, Dassault Systémes

 

Business processes in today’s typical manufacturing environment is, at best, full of information gaps.  Within the major enterprise level systems such as ERP or PLM most processes are based or focused on departmental issues which means the processes are not cross-functional.

 

Production Process Management (PPM) is the missing link that supports Smart Manufacturing. PPM is a specialized version of Business Process Management (BPM) that describes the concept of applying process design and management tools to the areas of manufacturing plant and supply chain activities within and across the extended enterprise.

 

 

HOW MOST PROCESSES WORK TODAY

Business processes, especially those that connect to the plant floor, operate based on the horizontal and sequential needs to produce products. But, it has been difficult to include all necessary data management into one fully integrated package.

One example is in a Human Resources application within ERP.  Employment history, wage administration, performance reviews, etc. are all covered in fine detail. However, when the MES needs to confirm training qualifications at a work station, the manual integration or “sneaker net” must take over. The other option is to have the IT department build a significant, custom application.

Another example is the retrieval of a pallet of material to be used at the assembly line.  There are different steps that can be taken to complete this task, especially when working with small to global-sized enterprises. The good news is that many of these steps are common.

Overall steps: Trigger—someone or some system (Kanban, production schedule, replenishment alarm, etc.) recognizes the current work station stockpile has reached the replenishment level and requests additional supply.

 

Steps in a low volume environment: Steps in a larger, higher velocity or multiple SKU facility this may require a number of steps including:
The system could be as simple as viewing a work station and noticing replenishment is necessary.

 

1.       Confirm the product requires replenishment (or not) via a variety of possible inventory management tools ranging from the ERP system, a warehouse management system or a departmental spread sheet.

2.       Establish a replenishment task that may be identified via a physical move ticket request or a display on a fork truck monitor.  This could be manual or electronic with varying input sources.

3.       Confirm the correct product identification by way of hand written information or bar code scanning.

4.       Review stock rotation rules for the existing inventory.

5.       Determine the physical location of the specific product/pallet to be retrieved.

6.       Assign, prioritize and possibly intelligently batch a retrieval task to a material handling unit.

7.       Display the retrieval, product information and delivery location for the material movement process

8.       Confirm electronically this is the correct product via bar code scan at the physical location.

9.       Record in ERP the physical movement for proper accounting and accuracy in the system of record.

At this point the replenishment process example is not even half developed and we can see the many information gaps and potential for errors.  The steps in this example will require multiple electronic systems (ERP, MES, etc.) and manual steps to contribute to the process execution and with each step there is greater potential for easy and costly mistakes.

THE GOAL OF SMART MANUFACTURING

A key objective of Smart Manufacturing is addressing the need to eliminate process gaps including manual steps like searching for information across various electronic systems.  This is a formidable task to say the least.

The problem, as we all know, is the physical weaving of digital process data through each of the electronic or manual processes across the extended enterprise.  The historical record of attempting to do this with systems integration software coding techniques has caused much more grief than satisfaction.  So, other than wishing for a better world, how can Smart Manufacturing be different? 

  • Standards—There is significant effort being made to develop and promote standard methods, interfaces and technologies to exchange information between software applications.
  • New applications—new applications are being developed that address specific operations niches such as inventory movement or energy management or environmental management concerns.
  • Process management—a rapidly growing vendor market segment is providing new tools to assist in planning, modeling, inventorying and managing your business and production processes.
  • Process execution—the past few years have seen substantial growth in the use of workflow and business process management software systems.  These approaches will greatly enhance information management techniques on the plant floor.

WORKFLOW AND PROCESS MANAGEMENT

The newer concepts of Workflow and Process Management focus on supporting the business process rather than on the features and functions of siloed applications.  A workflow consists of an orchestrated and repeatable pattern of business activity enabled by the systematic organization of resources into processes that transform materials, provide services, or process information. These methodologies retrieve and provide data elements from their source as necessary to accomplish work.

One example is the retrieval and display of work instructions to an assembly station.  This action may require information from many sources but the key perspectives here are the delivery to the workstation, focus on the business process, and focus on what is necessary to support each step in that process. Workflow information management techniques were originally developed in the nineties and have enjoyed extensive application success in a wide variety of business applications including the plant floor.

HOW PPM HELPS SMART MANUFACTURING

Business Process Management is an approach that is based on workflow ideas but has a substantially broader toolset.  BPM has enjoyed extensive success since the mid 2000s particularly in high volume processes found in administrative industries such as insurance and finance.

As mentioned at the start of this article, Production Process Management (PPM) is a specialized version of BPM describing the concept of applying process design and management tools to the areas of manufacturing plant and supply chain activities within and across the extended enterprise.

Processes are designed to follow chronological steps of how you want to run the business by connecting and supporting predefined, sequenced events with the correct information in a role-based form for the intended user. A process may be fully electronic, fully or partially manual, or a hybrid of the two. One key requirement is that the process is specific to, and configurable to fit, the given business requirement and provides an easy path for revision and improvement.

The Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC) and other sources support this process-centric approach to information management and have provided some examples of what might be possible.

  1. Separate data from the application and invert the historical manufacturing paradigm by bringing the data to the application instead of the application to the data.
  2. Provide actionable data, trust and visibility across the supply/value chain.
  3. Manage orchestration of standardized decision workflows based on structured adaption and autonomy.
  4. Deploy applications that can share data, data that can share applications and applications that can connect to applications to achieve horizontal enterprise views and actions.
  5. Build applications that cross different time constraints and seams, including the supply/value chain.
  6. Provide applications that do not lose control of state.
  7. An enterprise level platform to manage and support applications/processes that can be company-wide standards yet specific to the existing local plant information system infrastructure.
  8. Build information tools that can differentiate company performance and provide a competitive advantage through operational and information management techniques.
  9. Easy to understand applications/processes that can evolve to solve changing business needs.
  10. Information management concepts that allow operational processes to be company owned intellectual property.
  11. An information management infrastructure that is easier to manage, less costly and more supportive of users.
  12. Computer driven processes that can be supported by manual involvement, fully automatic or a combination of either.

The concept of using a process-centric approach to support production is a key element of Smart Manufacturing. It creates a completely new understanding of enterprise-wide information management — an area fraught with high IT cost, wide information gaps and much buyer angst.

The new process view gives manufacturers a wider horizon to think strategically using information to build and maintain a competitive advantage wholly based on how they want to run the business. The view is top down and strategic. Response and global maneuverability are the issues, not data collection or equipment efficiency. The executed process is the unit of automation. How processes are defined and managed is the tactical stroke that supports the enterprise strategy.

Manufacturing is best managed at the process level.  Processes span end-to-end across functions, departments, sites and capabilities, are highly dynamic and must easily be updated to ensure manufacturing systems remain agile to business changes.

For example, ERP started with End-to-End processes focused solely on the fundamentals of the business. This must not only be extended across the value chain in a horizontal dimension, but also taken deeper to drill down to the specific details that support each step of production activity with appropriate role based information.

The future perspective will be much less based on the functions within an application, and much more on how information from any resource can best support the user’s business and production processes.  To paraphrase an old political adage from a few years ago—“it’s all about the process.”

 


February 15, 2016
Smart Manufacturing and Production Process Management

Smart Manufacturing—The intelligent real-time orchestration and optimization of business, physical and digital processes within factories and across the value chain.

An integral part of Smart Manufacturing is Production Process Management.

Production Processes Management–The design, implementation and management of processes relating to the operations/production aspects of a manufacturing enterprise and its value chain.


August 25, 2015
The IIOT and Plant Operations

I fully get the idea of IIOT in the sense of historian or asset management (maintenance specifically) applications.  There is no question of the need for monitoring a lot of data in process industries and if you need to connect with all possible sensors on a machine tool, there could be some interesting applications.  My limitation is imagining the true effect on the typical plant environment outside those examples.  Some examples of IOT I do see might include real time monitoring of specific grocery sales to determine how to best cut up and package a side of fresh beef or tracking manufactured products to the end user to determine current sales (a sensor in each shirt to indicate a final purchase) or using weather data to forecast and more quickly respond to air conditioning sale opportunities but these are all somewhat distant from the plant operations.

It seems to me the most obvious point of disinformation or information gaps today is between the existing applications in nearly every enterprise as they affect the plant floor or value chain.   The improvement of end user information is not likely to have much effect on the three day production schedule of an automotive plant.  Another issue in this value chain is the ability to better share product data (PLM), again not an IIOT question.

The Internet of Things seems to me to be a great step in increasing information availability but the direct impact on the plant production environment seems minimal compared to some other objectives such as:

  • Separate data from the application and invert the historical manufacturing paradigm by bringing the data to the application instead of the application to the data.
  • Provide actionable data, trust and visibility across the supply/value chain.
  • Orchestration of standardized decision workflows based on structured adaption and autonomy.
  • Deploy applications that can share data, data that can share applications and applications that can connect to applications to achieve horizontal enterprise views and actions.
  • Build applications that cross different time constraints and seams, including the supply/value chain.
  • Provide applications that do not lose control of state.
  • Provide an enterprise level platform to manage and support applications/processes that can be company-wide standards yet specific to the existing local plant information system infrastructure.
  • Deliver information tools that can differentiate company performance and provide a competitive advantage through operational and information management techniques.
  • Deploy evolvable and plainly easy to understand applications/processes.
  • Develop Information management concepts that allow operational processes to be company owned intellectual property.
  • Support an information management infrastructure that is easier to manage, less costly and more supportive of users.

For me, I am still looking for the IIOT application impact.  I know they will become obvious but I guess I need some new and different examples for input.


May 26, 2015
Managing information through a layer architecture.

3level_illus

 

 

Production Process Management information is managed through three layers. Using a layered approach in manufacturing enterprise information systems can provide significant advantages including ease of change and dramatically easier understanding of how production processes work. The Resource layer identifies the complete range of information sources or repositories. The business process layer retrieves the data elements from the designated resource and manages the information within the context of the specialized knowledge domain through a series of steps identified within a process. From the process level specific information is delivered to the user via the presentation layer.

The Resource layer consists of all data resources at your disposal, even that data outside the enterprise. Within the enterprise there are typically a vast number of information repositories including business administration applications such as ERP, accounting, human resources etc. Your PLM system and your value chain PLM systems can hold substantial information that might support manufacturing or sales or customer needs when retrieved and made part of a process. It is also obvious your Supply Chain applications including MES, LIMS, SPC and other manufacturing processes also can be invaluable support in other areas of the business once the idea of information sharing is the rule. One easy example is the use of supplier data included in a presentation of work instructions necessary to perform an assembly task.

The Resource Layer includes any and all applications and data repositories. The Process Layer actually retrieves the data and builds the user interface deliverable. The Presentation Layer which might be a cell phone, a machine PLC or work instruction display.


November 3, 2014
Another Initiative Supporting Manufacturing

There are some new forces entering the world of manufacturing and manufacturing information management that you should be aware of, especially if you participate in the Department of Defense supply chain. The US Government through the DOD is investing heavily in the Digital Manufacturing Design Innovation Institute. The purpose of this $175 million institute can best be summarized by the following excerpt from the White House press release announcing it:

“The United States stands on the edge of a new frontier in manufacturing—a frontier in which high-tech products are designed and tested largely within a virtual environment and individually tailored for performance. Much like the Internet has transformed the way we approach commerce, digital design is transforming manufacturing.”

There are significant challenges to integrate this “digital thread” across different manufactured technologies and across the supply chain. These challenges include:
• Establishing true interoperability,
• Managing intellectual property interests in an effective and balanced manner,
• Maintaining network technology and security,
• Workforce skills, and
• New organizational cultures that embrace and leverage a digital tapestry.

A core concept of DMDII is the Model Based Enterprise (MBE). An MBE is a fully integrated and collaborative environment founded on 3D product definition that is detailed and shared across the enterprise to enable rapid, seamless, and affordable deployment of products from concept to disposal. The foundational elements of an MBE are a single digital master data set that contains the 3D model and all needed product data in a managed, secure, and controlled environment—one that supports maximum data reuse for all aspects of acquisition, maintenance, and operations. www.model-based-enterprise.org

A key component of MBE is the TDP, a technical description of an item adequate for supporting acquisition, production, engineering, and logistics support. The TDP consists of applicable technical data such as models, drawings, associated lists, specifications, standards, performance requirements, quality assurance provisions, software documentation, and packaging details. By relying on digital technologies in each of these areas users are creating threads of digital data that can be reused or leveraged by others. To take the analogy further each of these threads interweave to create a rich digital tapestry that defines all aspects of a product throughout its lifecycle.

Note the new terms likely to be heard more and more in the manufacturing world: model based enterprise (MBE), digital tapestry and digital thread.

The source of core material for this blog was taken from an article Acquisition Strategy: Technology is the Key in the June 2014 issue of Contract Management by Mitzi and Roy Wittenberg and the www.model-based-enterprise.org website.


October 13, 2014
Improving Manufacturing Information Management

Many users of plant information systems have long been frustrated with their assortment of electronic information applications, the gaps between those applications and the lack of ideas on how to improve the flow and use of data.  While many have voiced their frustration, the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC) is taking action.  SMLC is a group of major manufacturing companies, leading universities and NIST, a unit of the US Commerce Department that have joined together to focus on raising manufacturing enterprise performance though the improved use of information.   Some of the SMLC specific objectives include:

  • Separate data from the application and invert the historical manufacturing paradigm by bringing the data to the application instead of the application to the data.
  • Provide actionable data, trust and visibility across the supply/value chain.
  • Orchestration of standardized decision workflows based on structured adaption and autonomy.
  • Deploy applications that can share data, data that can share applications and applications that can connect to applications to achieve horizontal enterprise views and actions.
  • Build applications that cross different time constraints and seams, including the supply/value chain.
  • Provide applications that do not lose control of state.

There are other “wish list” concepts that have long been part of plant information system discussions:

  • An enterprise level platform to manage and support applications/processes that can be company-wide standards yet specific to the existing local plant information system infrastructure.
  • Information tools that can differentiate company performance and provide a competitive advantage through operational and information management techniques.
  • Evolvable and plainly easy to understand applications/processes.
  • Information management concepts that allow operational processes to be company owned intellectual property.
  • An information management infrastructure that is easier to manage, less costly and more supportive of users.
  • Computer driven processes that can be supported by manual involvement, fully automatic or a combination of either.

Your comments regarding these objectives and any additional requirements you can offer are much appreciated.

 

M McClellan


September 4, 2014
Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition

I am fortunate to have become involved with the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC) a group of major companies, several universities and NIST, a US Department of Commerce agency  that are all working to make significant changes in how information technology will be applied in a manufacturing enterprise in the future.  A few of the objectives and concepts behind Smart Manufacturing include the following:

  1. Separating Data from the Application and inverting the historical manufacturing paradigm by bringing the data to the application instead of the application to the data.
  2. Dynamic orchestration of manufacturing steps, across different time constants and seams, including supply chain, without losing control of state.
  3. Evolvable workflows/processes.
  4. Applications that can share data, data that can share applications, and applications that can connect to applications to achieve horizontal enterprise views and actions.
  5. Actionable data, trust and visibility across the supply chain.

SMLC uses the term workflows to describe what I have called production processes.  Their view begins at the work cell level and goes to the inclusive view of the extended enterprise/value chain.  A similar effort is underway in Germany in an initiative called Industrie 4.0.  If you are interested in the future of information management in a manufacturing enterprise I recommend visiting their websites for more information.

Smart Manufacturing  www.smartmanufacturingcoalition.org

Industrie 4.0         www.gtai.de/

Production Process Management (PPM) ideas and similar concepts are common discussion topics at nearly any forum on IT issues.  Stay tuned to this website to keep up to date.

Michael McClellan


July 17, 2014
SMART Manufacturing ETAL
The Internet of Things
Digitization of the Enterprise
Manufacturing 4.0

 

Big Data and Data Analysis
SMART Manufacturing

 

These terms and many more are being used by pundits to describe a “new” world of manufacturing. Some go so far as to use more grand terms such as the “New Age of Industrialization.” Read any industry journal and one out of every three or four articles describe a number of visions for the new environment we are entering. Some will opine we are already there while others suggest it will take five to 20 years to reach a measurable plateau.

In serving the manufacturing community with equipment and services for more than 45 years my most memorable era was Computer Integrated Manufacturing, or CIM, which came to us in the ‘70s. At that time the world embraced Materials Requirements Planning (MRP) and soon went on to MRPII or Manufacturing Resource Planning, the two terms having little in common. We next went for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Advanced Planning & Scheduling (APS). In the early ‘80s Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) were introduced, bringing a new computer information perspective to plant and department level applications. Many more plant applications came along, including Time and Attendance, Maintenance Management, Scheduling, Warehouse Management, Quality Assurance, SPC, OEE, LIMS, etc. Along the way other enterprise level systems appeared, like Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Customer Requirements Management (CRM) and Supply Chain Management (SCM).

The past 30 years have provided a plethora of answers to questions manufacturers never knew they had and have allowed huge investments in what we now call legacy applications. A Fortune 500 manufacturing company can easily have more than 4,000 data-centric applications in addition to the ERP system, which usually sets the tone for everything else IT-related.

AND NOW WRITERS ARE TELLING US ABOUT THE INTERNET OF THINGS, SMART MANUFACTURING, MANUFACTURING 4.0 AND BIG DATA—IS ANY OF THIS NEW OR JUST NOISE?

To this non-casual observer there are few things that have actually changed. The true focus of every manufacturer I have known is to have effective production processes and to provide continuous support to improving those processes. The Internet of Things et al. should be considered the next step in a lineup of tools to help us continue to focus on processes. Keep your eye on the prize—the best production processes to develop and maintain your competitive advantage.   

 

Michael McClellan

Blog 7/12/2014


June 18, 2014
BPM in Manufacturing

Business process management (BPM) in manufacturing is a fast growing way to support information driven tasks that form the base of your production events. Manufacturing enterprises have seen a substantial use of business process management applications but most have been in the area of administrative functions such as warranty management or ERP extensions. Very few instances of BPM have been used in the production environment but this is changing as newer ideas in the use of manufacturing and supply chain information emerge. The driving force behind this new perspective is the improved ability to connect information from disparate plant floor and enterprise application silos into a manufacturing process as a unit of automation and, in many cases, without programming.

BPM in manufacturing is the opposite of the typical application silo data-centric thinking. Instead of installing a typical plant application like MES, think instead of how you would like the process to function and which data elements are necessary to satisfy the business objective. One process might be to deliver work instructions to a workstation as a series of steps in a production process. Other processes could include dashboards to monitor and display production activity progress and gather operational metrics. Other ideas might be to route and display engineering change orders or confirm regulatory compliance at a workstation. Production process management provides many advantages over installing yet another application. In this new environment you define, model and deploy a process that addresses your specific needs and is deployed exactly to fit your requirements. This approach will be easier, faster and less costly. See more in our whitepapers.


March 19, 2014
Welcome to the new PPM Blog!

Welcome to our new blog site for Production Process Management. This blog is intended as a somewhat informal dialog between CSI and our clients/partners.  We will provide a variety of authors and ideas on the subject of production management information and how to continuously improve information accessibility and usability to meet your strategic business objectives.  Your input and suggestions on topics are invited.


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