اتخاذ نمودارهای جریان انرژی برای تجزیه و تحلیل اقتصادی از فرایند نوآوری
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|28352||2007||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technovation, Volume 27, Issue 11, November 2007, Pages 693–703
In many industries, process innovations play a major role in securing long term profitability. Corresponding research and development resources must be used effectively, which requires comprehensive insight into both technological and managerial aspects of the processes concerned. This paper introduces so-called economic flow charts that combine technical and economic approaches and thus provide a means of overcoming communication barriers between engineers and managers. The flow charts illustrate the economic implications of an investment by adopting the widely accepted energy flow charts and by doing so, provide a clear picture of the profitability associated with a process and facilitate the identification of optimization potentials, respectively. An example from the field of biomass-based heat and power production is used to illustrate the economic flow charts’ applicability to practical problems.
Process innovations not only have a large impact on productivity (Parisi et al., 2006), they also generally play a key role in creating competitive advantage for firms (Cefis and Marsili, 2005). In order to efficiently allocate corresponding research and development (R&D) resources, it is necessary to gain insight into both the underlying (technological) processes and the financial implications of potential modifications. However, multidisciplinary cooperation often lacks efficiency, since the experts involved typically considerably differ in their backgrounds. While engineers have a comprehensive understanding of process details and managers are skilled in financial issues, it is uncommon for persons from these two professions to be (sufficiently) qualified in both fields. Because this knowledge gap causes communication deficiencies (Eppler, 2004) that can result in suboptimal R&D spending, there is a need for a tool that is capable of enhancing mutual understanding and easing interdisciplinary cooperation. To this end, the tool should integrate technological and economic views and, thus, illustrate economic consequences of prospective process alterations. Note that such a tool is not designed to replace the (human) decision maker, but rather to support him/her with respect to the techno-economic assessment of process innovations; additional means may be necessary to adequately capture non-monetary criteria. In the following, we will introduce so-called economic flow charts (e.g., cost and profit flow charts) which are derived from the widely accepted energy flow charts that are used to visualize energy flows. By supplementing such charts with financial information, it is possible to provide an analogous visualization of the costs and earnings associated with the underlying process. This approach provides a clear picture of the overall process viability, makes the economic evaluation easily comprehensible for engineers, and serves as a means for managers to identify (economically) promising optimization potentials. While our approach originates from analyzing process innovations in the power industry, it obviously can easily be applied in nearly any industrial sector, because activities in other production facilities are structurally comparable with energy conversion steps and, furthermore, the engineers involved should be familiar with the functionality of flow charts in general. This paper proceeds as follows: Section 2 discusses current evaluation techniques for process innovations, while Section 3 is dedicated to deriving cost flow charts from energy flow charts. Section 4 goes on to introduce profit flow charts that extend cost flow charts by also allowing for the integration of earnings and for the dynamic analysis of long-term process innovations. The applicability of our approach to practical problems is illustrated through the analysis of a biomass gasification combined heat and power plant in Section 5. The paper concludes in Section 6.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Traditional financial evaluation criteria such as the net present value are common when determining the overall profitability of a process. However, their focus on a single indicator leads to the loss of valuable information. Moreover, both the calculation procedures and the final results do not relate to the physical conversion process. The economic flow charts introduced in this paper may serve as a sound and straightforward alternative for financial process evaluation. Due to their ability to visualize economic implications, they provide valuable information for the entire technical process and, thus, build a firm decision basis for both engineers and managers. Several versions of economic flow charts also allow for cost-determination, target costing and thorough earnings-cost-analyses. By doing so, they make it possible to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the investigated processes, as well as optimization potentials. The practical applicability of both cost and profit flow charts was illustrated by means of analyzing a biomass-based CHP plant. Although economic flow charts have proven to be valuable for the economic analysis of process innovations, they still impose limitations in three respects. Firstly, they only allow for a financial assessment of the process and, thus, should be supplemented by other tools that take into consideration qualitative criteria, such as labour situation, social environment, material scarcity or abundance, geographical and geopolitical situations or the potential for technological advancement. Since economic flow charts are designed to support decisions about process innovations with respect to reducing costs or increasing profits, they will be of little use when striving for differing goals such as how to reduce specific emissions (e.g., carbon emissions) or to increase energy efficiency. Secondly, the determination of cost flows and the accurate attribution of expenses to process units are time consuming and require adequate human and financial resources. While such an analysis may be more expensive than using simple static evaluation criteria, its results provide additional information that can be of considerable value for future controlling and cost accounting activities. It is probably this integrative aspect that is most appealing to enterprises. And thirdly, the elaboration of a complete profit flow chart requires profound skills in the field of engineering and management and thus presupposes the availability of well trained personnel. Further research will focus primarily on applying economic flow charts to problem settings in various industries and to use them not only for evaluating process innovations, but also for more generally controlling existing (physical as well as non-physical) processes.