Manufacturing Process Management

Manufacturing Process Management



Manufacturing Process Management

Authors: Marc Halpern, Andrew Hughes, Gartner Inc.
Manufacturing Process Management Breaks the Barriers Between Design and Production
Gartner defines Manufacturing Process Management (MPM) as the discipline of continuously improving the planning and design of production operations and facilities at the target cost and quality needed to enable profit and business growth. Interest in MPM is growing because the transition from engineering to production is pivotal to the success of a product. Ambitious product design is not good product design unless it can be produced at target cost in sufficient volume to meet market needs. Designers and engineers need to know manufacturing implications at the time they are making design choices. They need to understand the impact of design changes on factory operations including fabrication activities, material flows, plant layout and ergonomics of production operations. MPM software enables them to analyze the anticipated outcome of design choices. This discipline involves:
·              Continuously improving the ability to accurately evaluate the manufacturing implications of product design choices. These implications include cost, the ability to control quality, and the ability to sequence manufacturing operations efficiently and with agility.
·              Designing and validating factory layout to ensure that material flows, the ergonomics of factory operations, and ongoing factory maintenance time and costs meet business targets before making large capital investments in plant equipment and layout.
·              Comparing actual manufacturing operations to "as-planned" factory operations to understand gaps and continuously improve the ability to design realistic manufacturing processes.
·              Capturing predicted performance and comparing with actual performance to continuously improve predictive capabilities. Predictions would typically address the time and cost of achieving intended quality consistently.
·              Continuously reduce the time and cost of accurately defining the plant layout and the sequence of manufacturing operations that meets performance targets.
·              Capturing and employing the lessons learned to continuously improve design for manufacturability.
Market Pressures Are Increasing MPM Interest
Global competition, rising manufacturing costs and the priority to retain manufacturing knowledge are driving increased interest in MPM. Manufacturers with low-cost infrastructures in Asia/Pacific nations (such as China) and in Eastern European nations (such as the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Russia) put increased cost pressure on Western European and North American manufacturers because labor costs are lower in these Asia/Pacific and Eastern European countries. In turn, Asian manufacturers in countries such as China may face additional pressure from countries such as Vietnam, which have even lower infrastructure costs.
The rising cost of materials and energy also affects manufacturing. Emerging nations such as China and India are consuming more energy and raw materials to support their manufacturing operations, driving up their cost of these materials. Therefore, manufacturers seek to improve operations in ways that will reduce material waste and consume less energy. MPM provides a means of evaluating multiple alternatives in a virtual environment at a cost substantially lower than investing in infrastructure, and then slowly adapting it to become more efficient.
MPM also reduces the cost to deliver products to market by reducing the number of manufacturing-based engineering change orders (ECOs). Because MPM links product and part features to simulations of proposed manufacturing operations, users can assess the impact of design changes to those operations and adjust the design as appropriate before designs are released for production. This is valuable because the cost of engineering changes increases substantially following a design release. For example, data from the electronics industry suggests that these costs can increase by a factor of 10 during production ramp-up and a factor of 25 at full production. In the automotive and aerospace industries, the costs of engineering changes originating from manufacturing can be substantially higher, according to the nature of the changes. Additionally, the ensuing delays to market hurt revenue-generating opportunities.
Some manufacturers want to employ MPM to improve the ability to predict manufacturing costs. This can be useful to suppliers during the process of negotiating with their customers. Likewise, some manufacturers intend to employ MPM to estimate what they think their suppliers should be charging them.
Analysis of Early Adopters Suggests That MPM Can Deliver Substantial Business Benefits
Aerospace and automotive companies have been the earliest adopters of MPM applications. Analysis of feedback from some of these companies suggests that manufacturers can achieve the following benefits:
·              30% to 50% reduction in investment to transition from design to production
·              30% to 60% reduction in the number of ECOs that originate in manufacturing
·              5% to 30% reduction in the time to market
·              10% to 40% reduction in the production planning process over five years of investment
These benefits, combined with the opportunity to capture manufacturing knowledge, make MPM compelling to evaluate. Manufacturers should weigh the trade-offs between this IT opportunity and other IT initiatives in terms of benefits and risks.
MPM Discipline Requires Software Support
Manufacturers of complex products with complex manufacturing processes need MPM software to enable the discipline. Major Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) vendors such as Dassault Systemes, with its Delmia product family; PTC, with its newly introduced MPMLink; and Siemens UGS, with its Tecnomatix software, are among the most significant MPM vendors. MPM is a natural extension to PLM, since MPM users benefit from deep integration of manufacturing operation sequences (sometimes called bills of process [BOPs]) to design content. Also, MPM shares common technical foundations with PLM such as geometric modeling, visualization, simulation and configuration management (see Note 2). Manufacturing Operations Management vendors such as Camstar and Visiprise are increasing their MPM investments. We also anticipate that business software  vendors such as Oracle and SAP will become increasingly involved with MPM.
The most cost-effective implementations for discrete manufacturers bypass 3-D modeling of factories and link sequences of planned manufacturing operations (BOPs), featuring instead on holes and pockets or the parts themselves to understand and analyze sequences of operations such as drilling and milling. BOPs also capture assembly steps. These "product process" models capture the relationships of manufacturing processes to parts, part features and product structure. Modeling these relationships enables users to study the impact of design changes on manufacturing processes. There are also opportunities to automatically update manufacturing operations, including tool positioning and assembly sequences across work cells based on design changes.
Manufacturers with complex factory layouts and geometrically complex arrangements of equipment and work cells will benefit from an additional investment in realistic 3-D modeling of parts, tooling, equipment and factories. For example, leading-edge manufacturers are employing these virtual models to program logical controllers for automation. Just as leading computer-aided software engineering (CASE) users debug software logic to find errors and improve performance, MPM users can graphically program computer numerical control (CNC) and programmable logic controller (PLC) code and step through sequences of manufacturing operations in a virtual environment. Accurate 3-D modeling assists them in detecting potential part, equipment, tooling and fixturing collisions. This can save substantial debugging on the factory floor. Visualization environments enable greater understanding of manufacturing implications of design choices across a broad audience, spanning technical professionals and business executives. The ability to reuse the 3-D models and simulation results for future manufacturing process planning suggests that manufacturers can continuously improve their performance by creating updated simulations, in addition to reducing ECOs because the models and data can be reused. The most sophisticated users will employ virtual humanoid models to understand the ergonomics of human activities to assess the range of human motions and the potential for injury.
Process manufacturers in industries such as oil, chemicals, packaged foods and personal care goods can also benefit from MPM. They employ MPM to design manufacturing operations to scale up from formulations on laboratory workbench processes to adjusted processes and formulations needed for full production. Manufacturers can design and simulate plants, plant operations, ergonomics of human activities, and material flows; estimate costs; and evaluate the consistency of quality for finished products. In bulk process industries such as chemicals and petroleum refining, such simulation, modeling and costing software is much more mature than in discrete manufacturing. The constant need to optimize processes has led to the development of sophisticated, mathematically based simulation tools for process modeling that are linked to costing and physical design applications. Aspen Technology is one of the key vendors providing MPM support for process manufacturers.
The Complementary Roles of PLM, ERP and MOM Pose MPM Deployment Challenges
PLM, ERP and MOM support complementary, yet interrelated, business processes. However, there is no direct relationship or easy mapping among the data types that each class of application supports. Table 1 summarizes the purpose, orientation, legacy and common representations associated with each.
Table 1. Deep Differences Between ERP, MOM and PLM Purpose and Scope





Typical Data Representations


Manage "order-to-cash" material flows for manufacturing and product delivery to customers



General ledgers, material/part inventories, product inventories, purchase orders, manufacturing bills of materials


Manage manufacturing operations efficiently

Workflow, allocating resources and maintaining work capacity

Factory floor

Operations sequences, resource allocations, production equipment inventories, maintenance/upgrade schedules


Define and design product portfolios and manage their evolution

Creating, capturing and reusing product-related data, information and knowledge


CAD models, schematics, engineering bills of materials

Source: Gartner (July 2007)
The differences in these applications suggest the difficulty of creating interfaces among them without complex logic. Arguably, it may be impossible to fully automate the mappings of data across these applications except for the simplest manufacturing operations.
For example:
·              In discrete manufacturing, changes to parts or features such as a pattern of holes and modification of their relationships to other parts in assemblies or design features can ripple through work cell "fixturing," sequences of assembly operations, material flows and factory layout. In industries such as aerospace or automotive, factory floor changes to assembly configurations or wire harness routings to meet the needs of custom orders may not get back to engineering teams.
·              In process manufacturing, changes to formulations that influence the stoichiometry of reactants and the thermodynamics of chemical processes can impact factory layout while scaling up from laboratory workbench formulations to full production. In industries such as fine chemicals small changes to recipes tend to get implemented at the plant level to fine-tune the product for a specific process train. Such changes often do not get fed back to the ERP system or research and development teams. MPM will act as a platform to manage the synchronization of these recipes, thus avoiding incorrect ERP recipes being used, for example, to order inappropriate quantities of raw materials.

Source: Gartner (July 2007)
The interfaces between ERP and MOM software are the most mature, because the need of the business to link order fulfillment to sales has already encouraged many manufacturers to build sophisticated interfaces between ERP and MOM systems. In complex manufacturing, these interfaces enable the ERP system to control what is produced based on sales activity. All production data tends to be owned by the ERP system and passed to the MOM, based on the volume and nature of production orders. While this approach works, it is difficult to maintain these complex custom interfaces, and most do not enable agility to quickly adjust for changes in business needs or products.
Connections between PLM and MOM or PLM and the ERP system are immature by comparison. For example, engineering changes to product structure, design details or interfaces in key product subsystems within PLM software do not easily or properly translate into adjusted sequences of factory floor operations in an MOM system, nor do they easily translate into the most efficient or accurate changes to part or material flows in an ERP system.
MPM is a natural intermediary between PLM, ERP and MOM because:
·              MPM naturally integrates with PLM — The interrelationships between product design, manufacturing process engineering, and factory design and layout suggest that deep links between PLM and MPM software would be the most obvious way to support those workflows. Also, PLM and MPM share common technical prerequisites such as support for managing structured data, simulation, visualization, rule engines, configuration tools and geometric modeling. Therefore, a common infrastructure that links structured product data with manufacturing process data and that shares common software services provides the most natural environment for understanding the impact of design choices on manufacturing time, cost and quality.
·              MPM output maps well to ERP and MOM data — Manufacturers use MPM to model and validate manufacturing processes and factories. The output includes process plans and resource requirements that MOM and ERP systems can read more readily than engineering views of product content. Also, modeling manufacturing processes requires that users transform engineering views of product structure from PLM software to manufacturing views that organize bills-of-materials, according to the groups of parts used at common workcells and the sequence of manufacturing operations. This data is more consistent in structure, type and completeness with the data in an ERP system than the original data from PLM software. MPM also makes it easier to identify gaps between predicted resource needs in the MPM system and available resources managed by the ERP system.
While MPM will act as the system that creates, organizes, and stores production process design and plant design content for the enterprise, it will not be an intermediate communication between systems during manufacturing operations. By using an MPM system, manufacturers should be able to reduce the complexity of the interface between MOM systems and ERP and other enterprise systems. For example, an ERP system can pass an order for a particular product to MOM without having to pass all the build information since it can simply refer to the product version in MPM and pass only configuration information. The MOM system can check with the MPM system that the order relates to the appropriate version and that all production instructions are correct.
SOA and Technology to Synchronize Bills-of-Materials Will Be Vital to MPM Success
MPM requires several common software services, including those mentioned in the past section. SOA is a natural fit for MPM applications because:
·              MPM applications operate on heterogeneous data residing in PLM, ERP and MOM databases. Differences in data structure, type and completeness suggest that the data should be associated across different databases, where each remains integral and updated in real time and not integrated within a common database. Otherwise, users will be overwhelmed by the complexity of relationships across the different types of data. For example, such an approach can ensure that the engineering bill of material (eBOM), the "as planned" manufacturing bill of material (mBOM) and the "as built" mBOM reflect the same status of a product from an engineering perspective and a manufacturing perspective.
·              Common services operate on the different types of data in different use modes of product design, manufacturing and order fulfillment. Yet, the presentation of the data and interaction with it will be different for each category of user (for example, engineering versus manufacturing). For example, a composite application may use different services to simulate material flows throughout a factory and the sequence of manufacturing operations. However, they may use common services to present animations of simulation results to users.
·              One can best model the complex workflows across PLM, ERP and MOM, including the simulations and visualization mentioned above as combinations of common services, as well as some unique ones that become simplified by modular software architecture. For example, manufacturers are likely to employ SOA to support the workflow to evaluate the manufacturing impact of proposed design changes and approve engineering changes. Some of the services might include notifications of change approvals and reporting. Since the workflow might require updates to the different bills of materials (BOMs) mentioned above, the use of SOA is also likely to employ technology to synchronize BOMs.
Emerging technology for synchronized BOMs complements SOA because it provides detailed content that includes geometric reasoning about positioning and assembly of parts for different product variants. For example, BOM synchronization that accounts for the design geometry streamlines the ability of engineering, the back office and the factory floor to validate that product design supports requested configurations based on order processing. Without BOM synchronization, this was intractable given the differences in BOMs stored in ERP systems and PLM software. It streamlines the ability to design and validate manufacturing planning in the MPM infrastructure to support various product configurations.
Therefore, synchronized BOMs combined with SOA will give an ERP or MOM user a comprehensive contextually correct view of the "as planned" mBOM based on approved design changes. Manufacturing specialists and marketing could quickly evaluate the impact of design changes on manufacturing processes, update cost estimates, and understand the implications for admissible product variants based on either synchronized views of indented parts lists or digital mock-ups. MPM that encompasses SOA and synchronized BOM technology has the potential to enable reconfiguring and validating product and process content and workflow across PLM, ERP and MOM software without reprogramming interfaces.
Getting Started Requires Investments in Planning, Resources and Risk Related to a Steep Learning Curve
The MPM market is in the early-adopter stage. This means deployments are as challenging and expensive as product data management (PDM) software was 10 years ago. As during the PDM experience, documented best practices are hard to find, given the relative newness of this emerging discipline. One of the visionary manufacturers that launched an MPM project during the late 1990s reported that it invested in 50 full-time-equivalent person-years within the first three years of its effort to build virtual models of their factories and simulate manufacturing processes. The key sources of cost included:
·              Acquiring and deploying MPM software
·              Building adequate infrastructure
·              Gaining access to MPM experts
·              Creating or purchasing virtual prototypes of its factories
·              Creating and validating models of manufacturing processes
·              Validating estimates of labor, material, equipment and maintenance costs
·              Continuously improving its practice and building a permanent competency
Manufacturers can reduce costs by at least 40% if they do not attempt to completely virtualize factories, and if they begin by limiting their MPM efforts to the most vulnerable manufacturing processes. However, without the virtual 3-D models, manufacturers will have less ability to detect:
·              Potential collisions among people, parts and equipment during manufacturing activities
·              Poor spatial arrangement of equipment, material flows and human activities on the factory floor
·              Poor ergonomics of manufacturing operations, such as inadequate ability to access fasteners or difficulty in positioning parts during assembly operations
As with the early years of PDM software and practice, we anticipate that at least 40% of MPM investments will fail through 2011. By failure, we mean they will either involve cost overruns, fail dismally, fall into disuse or experience some combination of these alternatives. However, as with PDM, Gartner also expects that the costs associated with MPM will decline over time as manufacturers and service providers gain more experience and they standardize software and workflow. By 2013, we predict that the costs to deploy MPM software will decline by at least 40% as the experience and availability of software increases. We estimate that costs of creating 3-D virtual environments will decline by 30% for the same reasons, plus the greater availability of 3-D model libraries for manufacturing equipment, tooling and fixturing. Also, rule-based technology may play an important role in further reducing costs by automating the creation of 3-D virtual environments.
Plan Big and Start Small so That Each Stage of MPM Deployment Adds Business Value
Not all manufacturers should be investing in MPM yet. The need differs by industry and individual business situations. Because this class of application is just evolving, and unless you can demonstrate significant business need (high-risk manufacturing capital investment, and clear competitive edge given the criticality of manufacturing engineering for new product designs), you should not be investing yet. Aerospace, automotive and heavy machinery manufacturers have been the earliest adopters. We have seen more-recent activity among medical device manufacturers:
·              Define the nature of MPM that you will need. Not all manufacturers need complete, virtual 3-D environments. However, all need to link manufacturing operations to product design features and attributes.
·              Understand that evaluation and launch teams should include product engineers, CAE experts, manufacturing experts and process-modeling experts to get started. CAE experts have simulation experience. Understand the assumptions of modeling in a geometry-intuitive scenario. Manufacturing experts have the domain knowledge. Process-modeling experts have the experience of computer-based process-modeling manufacturing operations.
·              Assess the target processes and interface requirements of PLM with ERP and MOM
·              Realize that those who want the visualization will also need to identify preferred formats for geometric models.
·              Manufacturers of complex products such as automobiles, aircraft, and power generating equipment should take MPM into consideration when undertaking any ERP or manufacturing operations project. Likewise, the designers of any MPM project and supporting software should consider the PLM, MOM and ERP environments.
·              Manufacturers should agree on standard processes and workflows that MPM will support. Gartner has seen greatest success when senior executives endorse small teams of highly experienced veterans with deep technical expertise and deep understanding of the business. They should not attempt to satisfy all stakeholders. Rather, they should focus on the most critical design-to-manufacturing processes and challenges that MPM can improve.
·              Design of the MPM infrastructure should leverage SOA concepts and software as much as possible. Manufacturers should not commit to any enterprisewide architecture at first. Instead, they should build out MPM with a combined top-down/bottom-up approach.
·              The top-down approach can help identify the key building blocks that will enable the set of prioritized business processes. It helps identify the sequencing of the MPM projects and intermediate milestones.
·              The bottom-up approach designs each of the building blocks in detail. System architects should then iterate to address inconsistencies between the original top-down design and the bottom-up design until they achieve convergence.
·              Manufacturers should review the evolving top-down architecture at each milestone to make adjustments as they continuously gain experience with MPM and get feedback from users. If possible, manufacturers should leverage the enterprise choice for integration infrastructure (for example, IBM WebSphere, Oracle Fusion and SAP NetWeaver) and evaluate the extent to which their MPM candidates can interface with that infrastructure before committing.

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