تغییر جریان کار پویا در سیستم های PDM
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21802||2007||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||6651 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Computers in Industry, Volume 58, Issue 5, June 2007, Pages 453–463
Current manufacturing industry requires product data management (PDM) for efficient product development and production. As an important part of effective PDM solutions, workflow management facilitates creating and executing workflow so as to streamline business processes. Unfortunately, existing workflow management solutions are designed to handle static business processes; when a workflow change occurs, these solutions usually stop the affected workflow completely and start the modified one from scratch. This over-simplified approach leads to re-execution of nodes whose work have been lost due to the restart process. This paper proposes an approach to facilitate efficient dynamic workflow change by minimising repetitive execution of finished workflow nodes. This approach also address the data integrity issue by managing various workflow data such as node properties and scripts. A case study has been carried out in a PDM system to illustrate the potential application of the approach.
Current manufacturing industry is facing an increasing challenge to satisfy customers and compete in market. To stay competitive, manufacturing companies are adopting IT solutions to facilitate collaborations and improve their product development/production. Among these IT solutions, product data management (PDM) systems play an essential role by managing product data electronically. A tool to model, execute and control business processes, a workflow management tool is a key part of a PDM system. A workflow can be either static or dynamic. A static workflow has to be finished or aborted once it is initiated, while a dynamic workflow can change during execution time. For organisations adopting workflow solutions, processes should be preferably static since (1) static processes can be applied in large scale with minimal training on personnel and (2) dynamic behaviours of business processes make involved elements, including human, equipment, and information, difficult to handle since these elements are initially designed to deal with specified processes. Hence, organisations seldom change business processes that are established cautiously. In accordance with the above considerations, most workflow management solutions are designed to cope with static business processes in three steps: (1) defining a workflow template, (2) initiating a workflow instance from the template, and (3) executing the instance till its completion. These solutions usually do not handle dynamic behaviours, such as dynamic changes on running workflow instances. However, process change occurs frequently in business environments due to two primary reasons : (1) at design time the specification of the workflow is not complete due to lack of knowledge and at run time errors happen (2) during executing of workflows, changes occur and cause various problems, such as breakdowns, reduced quality of services, and inconsistencies. Therefore, workflow management systems should handle these undesired results introduced by the dynamic aspects of workflows. The following example illustrates how dynamic workflow change happens in engineering environments. Company A manufactures numerically controlled (NC) machines while company B is a component supplier to A. However, due to business considerations, company A decides to stop purchasing certain type of components from B and another company, C, is A’s new supplier for these affected components. Inside company A, some processes related to this change, such as procurement, after-sale service, and testing, should be changed as well since A and C might establish a different form of business relationships. Once process changes occur, new workflow templates are defined and workflow instances are initiated accordingly. In addition, it is necessary to handle the previous workflow instances which are initiated from old workflow templates. Basically, there are four optional policies to follow : (1) Forward recovery: These old workflows are aborted and handled outside of the workflow management system. (2) Backward recovery: These old workflows are stopped and restarted according to the new workflow template. (3) Proceed: These old workflows proceed as if the change does not occur. New cases are executed based on the new template. (4) Transfer: These old workflows are transferred to the new workflow template and executed all over again. Most workflow management systems, such as IBM Domino, iPlanet, Fujisu iFlow, TeamCenter (a PDM system with built-in workflow management capability), and Epaf, are able to implement the first three policies in various degrees. However, the fourth policy, transfer, is not effectively supported. Before applying the new workflow template, the old instance has to be stopped and restarted again. Restarting a workflow might lose key runtime information since the state of the workflow instance is refreshed to the original value. More importantly, some completed tasks have to be carried out unnecessarily after restarting the workflow instance. If the affected workflow instance is complex and involves a lot of external collaborators, substantial business cost will be incurred. To address the above problem, dynamic workflow change management might be brought in as a potential solution. A dynamic change can happen on a single workflow instance or a set of instances under a common workflow template. If a workflow management system supports dynamic workflow change, it can either directly modify the affected instance, or restart it based on the new workflow template while minimising repetitive execution of affected nodes. The first method is instance based while the second is template based (schema evolution). This paper introduces an approach to address template-based dynamic workflow changes instead of instance-based changes. The motivation behind this paper is based on a common industrial practice that each workflow instance is initiated from its template. Besides supporting template-based dynamic change management, this approach also addresses issues such as transfer efficiency and data integrity. It has been also realised in SmarTeam, a leading PDM system with built-in workflow capabilities. The main contribution of this paper is the in-depth analysis of dynamic workflow change and the solid implementation on a real PDM platform. An efficient non-recursive procedure is developed to identify bypassable nodes in workflow instances. Several implementation issues, such as login management and web-enabled deployment, are addressed. To the best knowledge of the authors, this is the first piece of work ever done to realise dynamic workflow change in commercial PDM systems. The paper is organised in the following way: Section 2 discusses related work on dynamic workflow change; Sections 3 and 4 present the preliminaries and mechanism of the proposed approach, respectively; Section 5 details the implementation issues; a case study is conducted in Section 6; finally Section 7 gives the summary.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
To facilitate dynamic workflow change, an approach is presented and implemented in a major PDM environment. The approach efficiently identifies bypassable nodes in new workflow instances by analyzing the status of node properties and connectors. Data integrity is addressed to ensure that changes are handled correctly. The approach has been implemented in a PDM system to demonstrate its potential application in engineering environments. In addition to handling changes on workflow instances from a single template, this approach can also change individual workflow instances by informing the underlying workflow system their previous and current workflow templates. Since dynamic workflow change management handles changing aspects, workflow version management is necessary to track the change history of workflow templates and instances. The proposed approach also examines the integration between workflow and PDM systems. When a workflow instance is about to change, its associated PDM data should be handled carefully to ensure data integrity. The approach is implemented in a specific PDM/workflow system. Whether it could be realised in other workflow systems depends on (1) their underlying models and (2) their PDM–workflow integration mechanisms. The authors of this paper believe that the approach can be applied in most DNG-based PDM-embedded workflow systems.