Challenges and Future Fields of Research for Modelling and Management of Engineering Processes
MMEP White Paper - Report from Workshops with Industry and Academia
Author: Heisig, Peter; Clarkson, John; Hemphälä, Jens; Wadell, Carl; Bergendahl, Margareta Norell; Roelofsen, Julia; Kreimeyer, Matthias; Lindemann, Udo
The importance of innovative processes in design and engineering for business success is increasingly recognised in today’s competitive environment. Academia and management need to gain a more profound understanding of these processes, develop better management approaches and exploit the still hidden potentials to improve the business. In order to roadmap the research activities in the research area of modelling and management of engineering processes, the three partners – the Engineering Design Centre (EDC) at the University of Cambridge, the Chair of Integrated Product Development, School of Industrial Engineering and Management at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) Stockholm, Sweden and the Institute of Product Development at Technische Universität München (TUM), Germany collaborated to carry out three industry workshops with a total of 39 practitioners from 27 companies in March 2009. The results were grouped under the three main topics addressed during the workshops: (a) Understanding modelling processes relates to the clarification of topics such as terms/concepts used, purposes of models, prescriptive or descriptive models, the benefits of modelling, ease of use versus expert tools; (b) Managing modelling processes relates to skills needed for modelling, whom to involve in modelling, how to configure models, how to deal with uncertainty and human factors, visualisation of models, maintenance, simulation and prediction from models, process behaviour in real time; (c) Exploiting modelling processes relates to the applicability of models, ease of understanding process modelling as well as how to best use a model from communication towards automation. Finally a road map was constructed during the third workshop at Cambridge which resulted in seven major research strands: (1) Theory development (State-of-the-art, Case studies, Best practices, etc.) (2) Training of users of modelling at university and in companies including development of curricula (3) Tools & Techniques with emphasis on better visualisation techniques, (4) Metrics & value about ROI, KPI, etc. (5) Application of models for analysis and diagnosis, real-time forecast, process control and automation (6) Implementation and human factors (7) Standards. On August 26, 2009, the three academic partners presented the results from this workshop series to the members of the Special Interest Group (SIG) for Modelling and Management of Engineering Processes (MMEP) at the Design Society Conference (ICED’09). The 34 participants at the SIG meeting were organized into three working groups to identify their current and future research topics and ranked these topics and the topics from industry roadmap. Four major research areas have been identified: (1) Metrics & Value of Process Modelling, (2) Human factors in process modelling and management, (3) Uncertainty in process modelling and (4) Visualization of design processes. While practitioners are interested in State-of-the-Art and Best Practice case studies, academics aren’t.