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Publications

2017

Product lifecycle management in knowledge intensive collaborative environments: An application to automotive industry

Authors
Ferreira, F; Faria, J; Azevedo, A; Marques, AL;

Publication
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFORMATION MANAGEMENT

Abstract
Today, manufacturing is moving towards customer-driven and knowledge-based proactive production. Shorter product life cycles lead to increased complexity in areas such as product and process design, factory deployment and production operations. To handle this complexity, new knowledge-based methods and technologies are needed to model, simulate, optimize and monitor manufacturing systems. Product lifecycle management research tends to focus on situations that are responsive to formal analysis and modelling. However, in several domains such as knowledge intensive collaborative environments, it's not possible to model processes using formal notations. Knowledge based and collaborative process management involves a combination of structured and non-structured processes. Structured processes management can be reduced to a set of fully-defined rules leading to high efficiency but also low flexibility, whereas the management of non-structured processes is not prone to a full formalization. A combination of both structured and unstructured management approaches is required in order to achieve a successful trade-off between efficiency, flexibility and controllability. We call a process as semi-structured when it contains both structured and non-structured sub-processes leading to a flexible and efficient hybrid approach. Large enterprise information systems, impose structured and predictable workflows, while knowledge based collaborative processes are unpredictable to some extent, involving high amount of human-decision. Moreover, large enterprise information systems are not able to manage the daily ad hoc communication inherent to the knowledge-based process itself. This paper introduces a set of concepts, methods and tools of an innovative Hybrid Process Management approach validated by a real world business case in the automotive industry.

2017

Collaborative smart process monitoring within virtual factory environment: an implementation issue

Authors
Shamsuzzoha, A; Ferreira, F; Azevedo, A; Helo, P;

Publication
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF COMPUTER INTEGRATED MANUFACTURING

Abstract
The focus of this paper is to elaborate collaborative business process monitoring within virtual factory (VF) environment in a smarter way. This process monitoring is tracked through visualisation over a user interface such as 'dashboard'. This research briefly provides all aspects of implementing process monitoring through the dashboard user interface and explains technical aspects of monitoring. The dashboard features state-of-the art business intelligence and provides data visualisation, user interfaces and means to support VF partners to execute collaborative processes. With advanced visualisations that produce quality graphics it offers a variety of information visualisations that brings the process data to life with clarity. This data visualisation provides critical operational matrices (e.g. KPIs) required to manage virtual factories. Key reporting outputs such as KPIs and day-to-day operational data can be used to monitor and empower partners' processes that help to drive collaborative decisions e VF broker or partners' also retain full flexibility to create, deploy and maintain their own dashboards using an easy to understand wizard-driven widget and an extensive array of data visualisation components such as gauges, charts, maps, etc. Various technical aspects of this dashboard user interface portal are elaborated within the scope of this research such as installation instructions, technical requirements for the users and developers, execution and usage aspects, limitations and future works. In addition to the dashboard user interface portal this research also investigates the VF life cycle and provides architectural framework for VF. The research work highlighted in this paper is conceptualised, developed, and validated within the scope of the European Commission NMP priority of the Seventh RTD Framework Programme for the ADVENTURE (ADaptive Virtual ENterprise ManufacTURing Environment) project.

2017

Supporting the entire life-cycle of the extended manufacturing enterprise

Authors
Azevedo, A; Faria, J; Ferreira, F;

Publication
ROBOTICS AND COMPUTER-INTEGRATED MANUFACTURING

Abstract
This paper presents a framework to support the full life-cycle of extended manufacturing enterprises, from creation to operation and dissolution phases. The deployment and operation of such enterprises can be compared with the concept of 'plug-and-play', as the internal processes and legacy systems of the companies involved are smoothly integrated within an overall business process designed, validated and executed according to a specific business opportunity. During the plug phase, the specific business requirements are elicited and integrated with the design of the extended business processes. On the other hand, in the play phase, those predefined processes are executed in order to run the extended enterprise successfully. The paper describes an application case regarding an engineer-to-order and one-of-a-kind engineering product. This scenario is common to a large number of technology-driven SMEs, and illustrates the value of the framework to exploit business opportunities that require a combination of skills and resources that do not exist in-house. The case shows how the platform addresses the two main challenges in the deployment of an extended enterprise. The first challenge is finding the right set of partners to address a new business opportunity and the design of the underlying collaborative processes. The second challenge is mostly technical, and focuses on the integration of the legacy systems of the partners participating in the network so that cooperation can take place quickly and seamlessly.

2016

Industry 4.0 as Enabler for Effective Manufacturing Virtual Enterprises

Authors
Ferreira, F; Faria, J; Azevedo, A; Marques, AL;

Publication
COLLABORATION IN A HYPERCONNECTED WORLD

Abstract
Today, the variety of complex products, low volume and decreasing life cycles require a combination of multiple skills that, often, do not exist in a single organization. This raises the need to extend the traditional organization towards the extended virtual enterprise. During the last decade several research projects developed concepts, methods and tools to support the design and operation of the virtual enterprises. However, the impact in industry remains low mainly due to the lack of vertical and horizontal integration, both at business and technical level. Industry 4.0 may be the missing enabler for effective virtual enterprises, once it integrates both business entities and technical entities into a single concept - the Industry 4.0 component - thus enabling enhanced interoperability. This paper presents innovative Industry 4.0 approaches, concepts, methods and tools applied to real manufacturing environments, showing how they enable the creation of cyber-physical production systems leading to a flexible, efficient and seamlessly virtual enterprise.

2016

Large Project Management in the Automotive Industry: A Flexible and Knowledge Based Approach

Authors
Ferreira, F; Marques, AL; Faria, J; Azevedo, A;

Publication
NEW ADVANCES IN INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGIES, VOL 1

Abstract
This paper presents a novel approach on flexible and knowledge intensive process management, driven by a large automotive industry case study. The automotive company in analysis requires a very dynamic behaviour, based on high flexibility of both people and equipment. Market has been imposing a decreasing of automotive products life cycles, increasing the number of line adaptations during the entire value chain, resulting in an increased complexity from product design to production. To handle this complexity, new knowledge-based methods and technologies to model, simulate, optimize and monitor planned and existing manufacturing systems are required. Existing large Enterprise Information Systems impose totally structured and predictable workflow, while knowledge intensive processes are flexible and unpredictable, involving high amount of human-decision and interaction. This lead to the need of development of highly specialized applications. This paper presents a novel hybrid approach, including work, information and communication management, to support knowledge intensive processes. The application of the new solution in the automotive engineering process management proved to be very effective and efficient, leading to significant savings.