Virtual Extended Factory

Vlastuin, a SME manufacturing company in the Metal Contract Manufacturing Industry, has a strategic goal and experience in aligning business processes and IT. Whereas the production departments adopted the Lean concept, the IT departments tried to implement this concept in the manufacturing software. The targeted communities/networks for VEF participation are: Road transport equipment, Internal transport equipment, Recycling equipment, Healthcare products, metal industry Branch Organisations.

Scenario using the NEFFICS platform

The following shows a scenario for the use of the NEFFICS platform at Vlastuin, in the context of business innovation for the Virtual Extended Factory, illustrated with screen shots from the integrated NEFFICS platform, in particular focusing on the combined use of the Innovation community with challenges an ideas and a corresponding business analysis of ideas based on business model innovation (BMI) models and the use of VDML diagrams.

The main purpose of the following screenshots is to describe and illustrate usage of the integrated NEFFICS platform, with a focus on the Innovation community and corresponding model based Business analysis for business operations design time – a further extension is in progress for the business operations runtime part.

The NEFFICS platform consists of different parts, the Innovation community, the Business analysis and the Business operations runtime. These are seamlessly connected using single sign on, and API-based integration to allow for both creation and linking of business analysis models from ideas and challenges, as well as the possibility to create and link ideas and challenges while working with business analysis.

In the following scenario it will be shown  how one can create ideas in the innovation community automatically integrated with the  business analysis models, and also how one can automatically and in an integrated way can create business analysis models, or link to existing models, from ideas in the innovation community.

The overall process that is being demonstrated is how it is both possible to automatically create ideas from the business analysis perspective into the innovation community – illustrated with the creation of the idea “

1. Login to the NEFFICS Platform

The following shows the login to the NEFFICS Platform, which is being used as the foundation for single sign (SSO) on to the different parts of the NEFFICS platform.  This means that no manual logins to the different parts of the platform is required by the user.

Login to the NEFFICS Platform
Login to the NEFFICS Platform

2. Vlastuin customised start page – with ideas and challenges

The Vlastuin Innovation Communitiy provides the possibility for creation and management of ideas and challenges. The NEFFICS platform has here been specialised with a Vlastuin customised first page including the use of Dutch language.

Vlastuin customised start page – with ideas and challenges
Vlastuin customised start page – with ideas and challenges

3. Vlastuin – example challenge with ideas

The following shows an example challenges from the Vlastuin Innovation Communitiy, with associated existing ideas.

Vlastuin – example challenge with ideas
Vlastuin – example challenge with ideas

4. Business Model Diagram – with use of the Value Delivery model

The following shows the creation of a Business model diagram within the business analysis part of the NEFFICS platform.  From the elements in the business model diagram it is possible to create further detailed value delivery diagrams according to the elements in the NEFFICS BMI Cube as illustrated in the cube mapping below.

Business Model Diagram – with use of the Value Delivery model
Business Model Diagram – with use of the Value Delivery model

5. NEFFICS Business Model Cube /Canvas Diagram – with corresponding Value Delivery diagrams

The following shows how the 6 dimensions of the NEFFICS Business Model cube will be supported by related VDML diagrams, which all are connected through the 7th relationship dimension in the middle of the cube.

NEFFICS Business Model Cube /Canvas Diagram – with corresponding Value Delivery diagrams
NEFFICS Business Model Cube /Canvas Diagram – with corresponding Value Delivery diagrams

6. Creation of an Innovation community idea from the Business analysis

The following shows the possibility to create a new idea directly from within the business analysis, and achieve an automatic linkage between models and ideas.  Pushing the “plus” button will automatically create a dialogue for an idea/challenge that can be described in more detail, directly linked to the current model within the business analysis.

Creation of an Innovation community idea from the Business analysis
Creation of an Innovation community idea from the Business analysis

7. Direct linking between models and ideas/challenges

Select type of link for idea or challenge and provide description.  When saving the references between model and idea or challenge will be automatically created.

Direct linking between models and ideas/challenges
Direct linking between models and ideas/challenges

8. Ideas in the innovation community can be linked to new or existing models

The new idea has been created in the Innovation Community. The name of the idea is the same as was given in the previous screen.  This can now be explored further in the innovation process.  It is also possible to create further model links to the idea, as will be shown next.  New models can be created linked to ideas or challenges, or one can make a connection to existing models.

Ideas in the innovation community can be linked to new or existing models
Ideas in the innovation community can be linked to new or existing models

9. Create model and Link existing models from the Innovation community

By selecting the create model, or link existing model, button – one will get a dialogue opportunity for selecting the right model type (or existing model).  In this case to create a value proposition diagram.

Create model and Link existing models from the Innovation community
Create model and Link existing models from the Innovation community

10. The linkage between idea and model diagram is automatically created

A new value proposition diagram is being created, and connected to the idea.

The linkage between idea and model diagram is automatically created
The linkage between idea and model diagram is automatically created

11. The value proposition diagram editor

The value proposition diagram editor is opened, and a value proposition diagram can be created.

The value proposition diagram editor
The value proposition diagram editor

12. The model diagram is linked to the corresponding idea

Through the model properties it is possible to see, and to go back to, the corresponding idea in the Innovation community.

The model diagram is linked to the corresponding idea
The model diagram is linked to the corresponding idea

13. The corresponding idea can be accessed through the model properties

It is possible to go from diagram elements to corresponding ideas in the innovation community.

The corresponding idea can be accessed through the model properties
The corresponding idea can be accessed through the model properties

14. Navigating from business model diagram to related value model diagrams

It is similarly possible to go from elements in the business model diagram to corresponding other diagrams, such as the same value proposition diagram in this example.

Navigating from business model diagram to related value model diagrams
Navigating from business model diagram to related value model diagrams

Case study

The further purpose of this case study is to develop a Virtual Extended Factory (VEF) in the cloud supporting the (networked) value chain of a company in the Manufacturing Industry. The virtual extended factory makes use of cloud techniques to integrate business processes of the companies that participate in this VEF. Collaboration within and between companies will be supported by extended use of Web 2.0 technology. Chain-wide Business Process Innovation will be integrated part of the VEF solution. This is a new and innovative concept in the Manufacturing Industry, where most enterprises rely on old-fashioned ERP systems. This concept is innovative, not in the sense of developing new technology, but in the sense of using a combination of existing new technologies in a way that is not done before.

In the case study, Vlastuin is setting set up a Virtual Extended Factory using the NEFFICS Platform in the cloud to, to interact with the other companies in the networked value chain to each other so that they can achieve:

  • Joint execution of production activity processes
  • Interactive networked production scheduling between partners
  • Monitoring of network business (operational) processes, using techniques like RFID, to capture challenges within these processes which can be input for innovations initiatives

Beside this the VEF will also provide:

  • Innovation process support within network enterprise collaborations, including the management of transformation initiatives (initiative selection, planning and implementation)
  • Knowledge sharing between network partners

Within this case study we have the following partners involved:

  • Customers
  • Contract manufacturer (Vlastuin)
  • Sub-contractors
  • Suppliers

The partners use the Vlastuin Innovation Community to collaborate with each other on this case. Within the platform a team is formed to work on a challenge. A challenge is supported by ideas that suggest way of solving this challenge.  Working on these, the team will follow a predefined process which guides them through the innovation process.

The defined stages of this process are:

  1. Entry & validation: Challenges or ideas are entered and are validated
  2. Business Models Innovation opportunity: A challenge or idea presents an innovation opportunity for the business and a team is formed to progress it further. The team checks if they have sufficient information to start working on it.
  3. Business context: The team collaborates on the idea to develop a way how it could be implemented in the business. Team members, preferably a business analyst, use the business designers of the NEFFICS platform to model how the business is going to look like via Business Models, Value Delivery Models, and or Service Models referenced to the idea/challenge.
  4. Impact & approval: From business context the team needs to assess the impact of the idea/challenge based on set of criteria e.g. business (value) objectives. Based on this assessment the team can select the ideas
  5. Implementation: In this stage the team creates the transformation plan, and tasks are assigned to people to actually implement it.
  6. Feedback. During and after the implementation of ideas, KPIs measure if the implementation of the ideas has reached the expected result. If not feedback as new challenges and idea are entered into the platform.

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