ICE 2001 Conference and abstracts of selected papers

The 7th International Conference on Concurrent Engineering (ICE 2001), held at Bremen/Germany on 2001-06-27/29 was attended by close to 200 people from Europe, Japan and USA. It was organised jointly by a number of organisations including the Concurrent Enterprising Network of Excellence (CENET) -

The conference was organised in four parallel streams presenting during the first day a total of 59 papers together with two invited papers. Four parallel workshops followed on the second day . These workshops addressed ‘Human Issues in CE through Simulation Gaming’, ‘Legal Issues’, ‘Strategic Thinking and Performance Management from a Knowledge Perspective’ and ‘Best Practice in Concur-rent Enterprising Implementation’. 

The proceedings are grouped in 9 sections covering a rather wide range of topics. It starts with ‘Best Practice’ and ‘Product Data Management’ 4 papers each. Next are 14 papers on ‘B2B Networks’ and 11 papers on ‘Knowledge Management’. Sections on ‘Project Management’ and ‘Legal Issues’ again contain 4 four papers each. The three last sections are on ‘Applying Methods and Tools’, ‘Life Cycle Management and Extended Products’ and ’Smart, Dynamic Organisations’ with 7, 5, and 6 papers, respectively. The papers cover technology developments and applications, with the majority of the papers originating from academic institutions. A large number of papers reports on intermediate and end results of research projects with either national or EU funding. 

Published by University of Nottingham, ISBN 0 85358 098 7 
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Short reviews of selected papers relevant to enterprise engineering and integration are presented in the following parts. 


Selected Papers 

Papers relevant to enterprise engineering and integration selected from K-T. Thoben et al, Eds. Engi-neering the Knowledge Economy through Co-operation, Proceedings ICE 2001, published by University of Nottingham, ISBN 0 85358 098 7 
  R. Tononi, G. Amorosi, Multi Domain Application of a Virtual Enterprise Model for SME’s, pp 71-79. 
Starting from a list of problems faced by members of SME type networks, the paper presents a VE business model applicable to networks with members of equal rights and without any a priori group leader. The model considers network members as autonomous production centres providing a special service to the network. The network activities are carried out by the members according to a set of rules accepted by all members at the time they join the network. The model identifies two special functions – the VE manager and the Technical Service Centre. Whereas the former is concerned with organisation and management issues, the latter is devoted to technical matters. A VE Committee rep-resenting all the network members will take responsibility for resolving network issues not solvable by the VE manager and the service centre. 
The paper describes in more details the expected behaviour of the network and the role of the VE manager and the technical service centre. The model is believed to be applicable in different applica-tion domains. Six different projects are identified in which the model is being investigated. 

D. Ferreira, J.J. Pinto Ferreira, Designing Workflow-Enabled Business-to-Business Infrastructures, (EU project) pp.81-89. 
B2B marketplaces need transaction technologies supporting the business transactions. The paper starts with a short survey of the state of the art in frameworks for B2B interoperability and reports the rele-vant findings. In the area of standardisation XML plays a prominent role. Most of the current frame-works favour the extended mark-up language. 
In the following sections B2B infrastructure design principles are defined that are based on two main guidelines: (1) separate data requirements from interaction behaviour and (2) use workflow-enabled systems. The resulting design – a workflow based approach – will be provided as a set of IT modules by the DAMASCOS project (IST-1999-11850). The focus is on SMEs working within customised supply networks. 

B.R. Katzy, G. Sung, Information Infrastructure for Virtual Project Requirements Specification from a Communication Perspective, pp 187-191. 
Starting from a list of issues in the VE project management, technical and social domain, functional and performance measurement requirements are defined. Three layers have been identified for the resulting infrastructure architecture: System supporting network cabling and device layer, Application hardware and software layer and Value adding service layer. Existing components are identified to populate the different layers. 
A version of the infrastructure has been implemented and used in the VE-lab that represents both an academic research laboratory and an industrial demonstration centre. 

H.K. Tönshof, et al, KnowWork – An Approach to Co-ordinate Knowledge within Technical Sales, Design and Process Planning Departments, (National project Germany), pp 231-239. 
Starting from a survey of the state of the art in knowledge management the paper describes the KnowWork project that aims to improve the exchange of information and knowledge between people working in different departments in the mechanical parts industry. The project framework identifies the different components relevant in the exchange, which includes an organisation model to capture the organisational knowledge and an information model to provide meta data and ontologies about information sources. The project work plan is divided into three phases: 
  • Information management to provide functionality for accessing documents in the organisation.
  • Knowledge management to extend information management by context and organisational knowledge modelling.
  • Context based knowledge management to integrate all software components developed in the project.
Project focus is on user involvement trying to capture the different views on information and knowl-edge relevant in the different departments of the organisation. 

T. Kucza, S. Komi-Sirviö, Utilising Knowledge Management in Process Improvement – The Creation of a Knowledge Management Process Model, (national project Finland), pp 241-249. 
Applying knowledge management (KM) to software process improvement is supposed to increase the efficiency of software engineering in virtual software corporations. The KM Model provides for co-ordination of the KM Process. The latter identifies the process activities (creation, collection and storage, up-date, identification of need and sharing) and their relations (internal/external knowledge flow and activation flow). This high level KM process model has been further detailed into 39 sub-processes. The paper describes ongoing research work and sub-processes are not part of the paper. 

J.L.C. Kemp, On the Nature of Knowledge-intensive Organisations: Strategy and Organisation in the new Economy, pp 251-259. 
Knowledge work is assumed to be the primary value-adding process of knowledge-intensive organisa-tions (KIOs). Since humans are the major knowledge carriers, they are the most valuable assets of KIOs. For the organisation design of KIOs a 756 Model is proposed. The model identification stands for 7 management challenges to be encountered by applying 5 basic principles to shape the 6 main organisation variables. 

  • Seven management challenges: manage human capabilities, network with partners, create right organisational structures, balance order and chaos, balance individual and corporate motivation, balance top down and bottom up forces, develop in competitive and sustainable manner.
  • Five basic principles: self-organisation, self-similarity, self-optimisation, goal orientation, dynamics and vitality.
  • Six main organisation variables: navigation, competence, formal networks, informal networks, processing, value and beliefs.
The model draws on a number of fundamental theories: complexity theory (Kaufmann), systems thinking (Ackoff/Moerman), contingency theory (Mintzberg) and fractal organising paradigm (Warneke). 

J. Goosenaerts, C. Pelletier, Enterprise Ontology and Knowledge Management, (part of IMS/RTD project), pp 281-289 
The paper describes results from PSIM (Participative Simulation environment for Integral Manufacturing renewal). The PSIM ontology is based on earlier research work like CIMOSA and GERAM and corresponding CEN and ISO standardisation. Its aim is support of information capturing and exchange between modelling tools for process simulation. 
The PSIM ontology itself it is a specialisation of the PSIM meta ontology that defines a model of three interrelated elements: activity, enterprise object and information element. The relationships between the three elements are relevance and involved. 
The PSIM ontology defines operative processes – those concerned with the enterprise operation – and self-transformation processes – those concerned with redesign and optimisation of operative proc-esses. It identifies types of activities, enterprise objects (e.g. resources) and information elements that make up the different processes. 
Examples show the concept of translation between different tools using the PSIM ontology. 

M. Mazzeschi, The Virtual Organisation, (EU project), pp 331-335. 
The paper starts by defining virtual organisation and virtual and the different kinds of such organisa-tions. It focuses on the different agreements which will govern the partner relationships in the virtual organisation during its life cycle. The requirements for letters of intent and consortium agreements are discussed in detail. 

E.M Weitzenboeck, Building a legal Framework for a Virtual Organisation in the Marine Domain: The MARVIN Experience, (EU project), pp 337-345. 
The prototype of a maritime enterprise integration tool (METI) that is based on web and agent tech-nology has been used to establish a contractual model for business partners in a maritime virtual enterprise. Potential partners offer their services via METI under a common user agreement and will be selected if their offer matches the requirements of the future project. Communication via METI is via EDI contract-like clauses. Reference is made to the European E-Commerce Directive 2000, that will govern such contracts in the future. 

T.M. Hassan, et al, eLEGAL: Defining a Framework for Legally admissible Use of ICT in Virtual Enterprises, (EU project), pp 347-355. 
The framework will specify legal conditions and contracts for ICT use in construction and large scale engineering projects. 

C. Van Schoubroeck, et al, A legal Taxonomy on Virtual Enterprises, (EU project), pp 357-364. 
The taxonomy identifies the legal points of interest listing 10 major items to be considered in a virtual enterprise. Those items are; VE identity, company law, Broker-VE architect, consumer protection, contacting with third parties, intellectual property rights, interchange agreements, control legislation-competition, ICT related topics, Others like labour relations, privacy and e-commerce. 
The taxonomy is classified according to different angles, e.g. VE life cycle, VE actors, VE internal and external relationships. No legal advice is provided yet, on the different items and their classifications. 

N. Ferguson, J. Brown, A Decision Support Process for End of Life Product Recovery, pp 441-449. 
A business process for end of life product recovery in the automotive industry is described. It consists of 5 key processes: procurement, dismantling, order capture, planning and order fulfilment. This model is based on the assumption of product recovery being an independent business that procures end of life vehicles for dismantling according to the demand for recycled materials or parts. Therefore the planning process is really the ‘nerve centre’ of the whole business process. It supports vehicle procurement as well as coordinating the day-to-day operation. The planning takes into account demand, inventory, information from the visual inspections of the particular vehicles, manufactures information on the vehicle design, dismantling manuals and legal requirements. 
The planning process is supported by the decision support process: The latter is internet enabled allowing the flow of information between all partners of the extended enterprise that includes vehicle owners, vehicle manufactures, customers and other dismantling enterprises. The community of dismantling enterprises provide information for enhancements of the dismantling manuals. 

D. Gazzotti, et al, WHALES: a Project Life-cycle Management Application for Extended Organisa-tions, (EU project), pp451-459. 
The project will provide a planning and management infrastructure for distributed organisations in large scale engineering projects. The solution will be web-based with emphasis on activity planning and execution and resource and material availability. Three main processes of the virtual enterprise will be supported; project planning and estimation, project execution and project monitoring and contingency handling.
The WHALES logical network architecture consists of three layers: 

  • work network structure: identifies the project assets – the partner capabilities and resources,
  • work responsibility structure: identifies project units, roles, positions, rules and workflow models,
  • work breakdown structure: identifies project activities, their inputs and outputs and resource requirements as well as planning details relating to time and money and status information.
The WHALES systems architecture includes two decision support systems for project planning and budgeting and for project monitoring and revenue analysis. 
  N. Brehmer, et al, Experimenting with Dynamic Enterprise Organisation Concepts: Building Cross-enterprise Information Supply Chains based on the Fractal Theories, (EU project), pp505, 508. 
The Information Supply Chain (ISC) methodology is a tool for identifying information requirements of an enterprise for the design of its information system or network application. ISC describes the business flow inside and outside the enterprise thereby distinguishing between information flow inside and between components. ISC identifies three basic entities for describing business procedures or operations: process, activity and resource. Each of these three entities can in turn be described by a triangle of three tasks assigned to those entities: 
  • Executor: responsible for carrying out basic activities,
  • Controller: responsible for performance measurements,
  • Co-ordinator: responsible for interfacing with other entities/components.
Applying the fractal theory leads to a hierarchy of ECC triangles corresponding to the decomposition of business processes. 

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