PROCESS OPTIMIZATION BY DSM-BASED MODELLING OF INPUTS AND OUTPUTS
DS 68-1: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 11), Impacting Society through Engineering Design, Vol. 1: Design Processes, Lyngby/Copenhagen, Denmark, 15.-19.08.2011
Editor: Culley, S.J.; Hicks, B.J.; McAloone, T.C.; Howard, T.J. & Clarkson, P.J.
Author: Maurer, Maik
Section: Design Processes
Robustness is a major challenge for designing engineering processes. And processes are often modeled with Event-driven Process Chains (EPCs). However, the EPCs do not contain sufficient information for analysis and optimization of process robustness. We hypothesize that the quantity of interfaces, i.e. information exchange between tools or organizational units, is an indication for process robustness: The less interfaces occur in a process the more robust it is. And the purposeful interface alignment also improves its robustness. We developed a method for analysis and optimized realignment of process interfaces. We augment EPCs with input-output relations between activities. Then we transfer the process description into a Dependency Structure Matrix and apply a multi-criteria clustering for identifying activity groups, which can be executed without interfaces. The interfaces get assembled between the activity groups, i.e. we define stages for information handover between tools and organizational units. We applied the approach on processes of a mid-sized company and could reliably identify starting points for improving product robustness as well as new layouts of activity groups.