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Ashton, P. and Ranky, P.G.: An Advanced Concurrent Engineering Research Toolset and its Applications at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
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Addresses: Philip T. Ashton, PhD, Manager, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited, Crewe Cheshire, United Kingdom. (Please note, that Dr. Ashton can be contacted via ADAM: email@example.com)
Paul G. Ranky, Dr. Techn/PhD, Research Professor, Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University Heights, Newark, NJ07450, USA, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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The prime objective of our research and development project was to construct, validate and apply an integrated, concurrent engineering research methods toolset that aids, promotes and facilitates Rolls-Royce Motor Cars' desire to move from sequentially based current product model development to a parallel approach that integrates with the company's new logistic infrastructure.
Parallel, or concurrent, or simultaneous engineering (CE/SE), meaning exactly the same, represents a new opportunity to integrate design, manufacturing, assembly, quality control, shop floor automation, marketing and other processes in order to cut lead time and to cuts waste in the logistic chain. CE/SE is a new approach to product development. It focuses on parallel versus sequential interaction among various product life cycle concerns.
It is a systematic approach to the integrated, concurrent design of products and their related processes, including manufacture and support. This approach is intended to cause developers, from the outset, to consider all elements of the product life cycle from conception through disposal, including quality, cost schedule and user requirements.
The purpose of the research and development, validation and application of an advanced concurrent engineering research toolset at Rolls Royce Motor Cars Limited is to:
This case study oriented research paper, is the first of its kind in a series of papers to be published, discusses some of the strategic issues, as well as gives examples of the research toolset and some of its applications at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited.
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Concurrent, or Simultaneous, or Parallel Engineering Methods, Automobile Design and Manufacture, Logistics, System Analysis and Data and Object Modeling, Knowledge -based Expert System application, Enterprise re-engineering
Introduction And Requirements Analysis
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Like other motor vehicle manufacturers, the prevailing economic conditions and the subsequent pressures from competitors encroaching upon its market niche, has forced Rolls-Royce Motor Cars to re-evaluate all of its activities associated with the design, manufacture and support of its products ( to  and  and ). Even more so than ever, the company has to compete on such factors as cost of operations, quality of products and timeliness of manufacture/delivery to maintain the uniqueness of its business.
To attain these objectives, the many diverse company functions had to act in unison towards the same goals. Consequently, Rolls-Royce Motor cars had to develop its own interpretation of lean/agile production. In particular the traditional approach to engineering, manufacturing and after sales support for new and existing products by sequential methods was challenged through an evolving process of concurrent or simultaneous or parallel processing, as it is called in the company.
Figure 1 attempts to summarize the key issues of the old sequential engineering method. Figure 2 illustrates the altarnative, concurrent or parallel approach. Figure 3 describes some of the above outlined core activities in the form of a simplified data flow diagram. As it can be seen, both the existing as well as the new product development activities are shown in this figure, integrated by a framework architecture, referred to by Rolls Royce as Product Development & Solutions Management. Figure 4 is a schematic, relating to Figure 3 , showing in a simplified format what Rolls-Royce Motor Cars business data store is composed of.
The parallel engineering approach dictates the evaluation and inclusion of all the multiple and competing factors in the process of product design, manufacture and after sales support. In order to understand the "as is" system and then to model the "new, to be system" a research methodology and toolset was created and validated by the authors (, , , ,  and ).
In order to construct a comprehensive research methods toolset we had to identify the strategic issues, rely on management's support, learn and apply business process re-engineering methods and practices. Furthermore we needed the ability to integrate the specific processes of interest through object modeling.
To that end, the premise was, that the research methods toolset should give access and use to the following types of modeling:
Through data modeling, process modeling, some simulation work and software development done with knowledge based expert systems and object oriented database management systems, we have identified and reviewed our initial perception of the different and competing factors and events that influence the parallel processing activities of the manufacturing cells/ zones, the Current Model Development Team and the Operations Engineering Group within Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
Then, as the next step we have started to capture the knowledge from the above discussed activities and modeled it through the object orientated research methods toolset, that we have created as part of this research project. This assisted us in defining what had to be done in parallel and what sequentially. This systematic activity included the establishment of objects and classes. As the basic method we have taken physical objects and data information objects together and looked at their interaction to form knowledge objects. ([ 4], , , ,  and ).
Furthermore we were using various simulation techniques to provide the predictive and additional dynamic perspective to the research methods toolset. Simulation within our model and methodology gave the time domain reasoning facility that broadened the scope of the knowledge based system.
By using object orientation, data and process modeling and simulation together, we could define the key attributes for consistency of process decomposition to ensure that they maintain the same levels of homogeneous "abstractness" for effective object classification.
Associated with this activity was the identification of what was a structured piece of data or information (i.e. "data about data") and what was unstructured data or information. As part of the process we could also identify the transition of attributes as the decomposition process continued across consistent levels of abstraction ( to ).
In order for the reader to understand the breath and the depth of our research task, Figure 5 illustrates the key data flow model of the model year project development team's key processes (reflecting parallel engineering as well as the related and integrated logistics requirements and processes). Furthermore, Figure 6, Figure 7 and Figure 8 show the principal participants in the project development process, from the design and manufacturing point of views, as well as their interactions summarizing the key processes, and their owners, we had to interact with both in terms of engineering as well as logistic decisions in this very exciting research project. Figure 9 explains the way production planning and control data flows were designed to cope with the changes introduced by concurrent engineering.
The Sequence, Interaction & Application Of The Research Methods Tool Set
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The purpose of this section is to illustrate, in a research case study- oriented style, the sequence of evolution, exchanges & application of the Research Methods Tool Set elements conducted and validated successfully throughout the research program.
As Figure 10 illustrates, the above activities proven to be not a simple sequential processes whereby each phase was concluded with no recourse to any preceding phases.
Experience showed that this had to be an iterative exercise, ensuring that the output from any single modeling activity was reflected within the other members of the Research Methods Tool Set. This was true for all Modeling Techniques or Application Software developed within this research program.
Research Methods Tool Set Requirements
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For both the purposes of the academic research objectives and hypotheses, as well as for the key business objectives expected to be fulfilled, it was necessary to translate the requirements into the detailed, demonstrable deliverables.
The key requirements set and achieved were as follows:
Each of the objectives listed above, and their subsequent deliverables, had to be equally usable across the different phases of the project. Generic definitions had to be identified and agreed so that, for example, the tools and processes for BOM (Bill of Material file) Management in the verification process phase could be employed in any of the other phases, e.g. Job 1 (when the first automobile rolls of the assembly line).
Any data or objects created for the research project had to have a prime owner, created once but used by many, many times. For example, if a part was created in one process then it had to be known to others in the suite of processes. Its characteristic's and attributes had to be also available for other processes so that duplications and re-interpretation was eliminated.
A mechanism was needed that enabled the creation of Parts & Bills Of Material data independently of the formal Product Change processes within the Product Support Group. This dictated a process that would give the Product Development staff the independent ability to manage their own data yet when necessary, seamlessly pass it to those remaining company processes not fully integrated within the Model Year Operation.
For the Model Year Team, this required the continued reinforcement of the Part Number as the prime focus of activity. The Research Methods Tool Set had to give the Product Developers the tools to develop products but not abdicate the responsibility of providing support processes with the Part Number focused data that they needed.
The Part Number had to become more meaningful through some form of Coding and Classification as well as associating any key supporting data or objects directly it. This became the focus for Parts Index Numbers, Inventory Types etc. as well as our Knowledge Based Expert System, that integrated with the core design activities, advised designers on part number creation and allocation. (This became one of the novel features of our research work).
To interact seamlessly with existing company processes and systems the Research Method Tool Set had to be fully understood and its system integration requirements considered by other systems, most importantly the new logistics system in the company. For example, MASCOT was the prime Logistics process and system in Rolls-Royce. Consequently, the software had to consider its requirements for formatting a Part Number as it was the prime source of Part Data used by the Product Support Group when undertaking Current Model Engineering. Where necessary, given the constraints of Software & Process Development budgets, timescales and capabilities, different scenarios for integrating the two systems had to be explored and validated ().
For concurrent data development by individuals within the Project Team and others within the non- team based company processes, the Prime Authorship enabled through Authorship Control was required. Both of these principles had to be introduced to the Part Objects and Bill of Material Object relationships. The characteristics of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Parallel Processing had to give other interested parties an early indication of the Part Master & Bill Of Material data, processes and objects whilst still retaining control with those authors accountable for its accuracy & effectiveness.
Although the Project Team personnel may have initiated the data, there were various points in time when the responsibility for this transferred to others either within the team or outside of it. The tools had to reflect the multi-source nature of the key data / objects and any data/ objects that were dependent upon it. One of the most important challenges was the fact, that the Research Methods Tool Set had to be constructed and operated in such a way, that it reflected the evolutionary nature of any Data, Processes & Objects within the Project.
To the Product Engineers each iterated Part Entity was simply an evolution based upon the original specification. However, the Logistics function viewed each of these iterations as separate entities requiring distinct processes to manage them. Within the "as is model" scenario, there was no method of distinguishing between these different entities. Therefore it was an objective of the Research Methods Tool Set to provide this capability in the "to be system" model, whilst at the same time not constraining the required flexibility that the Project Team needed to give other functions of modified components earlier visibility.
It was an objective of the Research Program to model a mechanism that provided effective Revision Level Management for both the data related aspects of the part number and the physical entities themselves. The tools and objects had to ensure that all members in the process had their requirements fulfilled by considering the multiple abstractions of the same object.
In the "as is system" no holistic or consistent method existed for managing any task related activities for part supply. The only processes were department based and tended to reinforce the sequential nature of processing a parts design & supply.
It was an objective of the research to provide a mechanism that reflected the key events in the complete / entire Part Supply logistics cycle. It had to embody the data associated with each discrete activity. For example, Part Level Timing based on a wide ranging spectrum of Business Activities not just Engineering events. Where necessary, the delivered tool had to allow the Business Events to occur concurrently not sequentially.
Given that non Project Team based activities were included in the Part Supply Processes, then the tool needed to cross any IT (Information Technology) and process boundaries. Typically, this included the "Systems" used by Logistics, Manufacturing , Purchasing etc. as they all strove to enforce their own timing mechanism & principles onto the process. The integration had to be both seamless and automatic to avoid any resistance to change.
To overcome these limitations, a common key had to be found between them and exploited to overcome any sequential or re-interpretation of processes. The same is also true of "terms & definitions" of meanings. A glossary of common definitions had to be established in the data dictionary.
The existing Parts Project Timing utilities did not recognize any of the characteristics of a part that would consequently effect the processes that were managed to provide them. Based on a form of "Coding & Classification" of parts, it was an objective of the research to introduce a process that ensured that only the correct "Business Activities" were attracted to a part, thus eliminating any duplicated or wasted effort. This approach required all participants to agree upon the definition of a parts characteristics and the mandatory Business Timing events associated within each.
The developed tool had to ensure that the Forwards Scheduling Timing Philosophy adopted by the Project Team to develop components, was compatible and workable with those remaining functions beliefs & methods of operation. Invariably, these other functions used Backwards Scheduling of parts to meet a specified Product Implementation Date.
Any costing of Model Year Features was based upon the BOM Structures created as the project evolved using financial details rolled up level by level. Unfortunately, Bills Of Material were traditionally the last item to be checked and usually consisted of 'References Number' relationships giving no indication of the component object or its attributes.
Only the Description gave the ability to define its appropriateness and this was not part of the key. Even with a complete Bill Of Material structure, the perspective given to it was 'manufacturing' so it was not wholly effective for establishing the true costs. Further, the discrete modules in the bill had to be replicated many times in order to cover all of the Model / Market combinations under review.
It was an objective of the research to provide a mechanism that gave costing information earlier and on a more generic or representative basis. It had to be disassociated from the Bill Of Material dependency.
During the Product Development Cycle, a mechanism had to be provided that enabled "Concerns" to be registered and managed. What existed was fragmented & duplicated into Engineering Concerns, Manufacturing Concerns, Owner Concerns etc., with no consistent or common basis of management between them.
In the "as is model" no process existed for the management of Jigs, Tools & Fixtures. It was an objective of the research to provide such a facility and to ensure that it interacted with any Part Level Timing processes.
Overall, the Research Program and the development of the Research Methods Tool Set had to conform to the following:
The requirements were expressed in the form of "Process or Functional Requirements" reviewed by both the Project Team / Key Stakeholders and the non Project Team dependent Process Owners.
They were publicly reviewed and critiqued at the 1996 Model Year Concept Review event within the company. This was a formal Go/ No Go decision point when all participants could raise any Concern and expect a formal structured answer to their query. The event confirmed that the objectives were acceptable and the "go ahead" was granted.
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The modeling phase represents the initial and prime academic focus for the Research Program. It had itself three distinct attributes underpinning the fulfillment of the aforementioned objectives. Overall, the modeling phase needed to accomplish the following:
1. Model the abstract Data, Processes & Objects used within a typical Project Phase. Most importantly, this required an acceptance of common definitions for Data & Objects; especially what they represented and conveyed to the participants. They had to be applied with as much concurrency as possible in the Product Life Cycle.
2. Ensure that sufficient compatibility existed between the Research Methods Tool Set elements to provide an iterative development capability. For example, although Process Modeling initiated the Object Modeling phase, sufficient was learnt from reviewing the objects, their structures and the events that transformed them.
This prompted re-analysis within Process Modeling to further understand the classification of the objects. The key issue was to ensure that the output from one tool was of relevance and compatible to the input requirements of another.
3. Provide sufficient details from which the Real World Business Processes & Application Software could be created giving the Project Team any tools and activities they needed to develop the Model Year Features by Parallel Processing.
In reference to the above, or extensive Figure 5 shows that to fulfill the research objectives, the basic sequence had to be as follows:
1. An initial Top Down identification of the data within the domain under review.
2. The identification & modeling of Processes within the Domain acting upon the data
3. Building upon the first two steps, a Bottom Up definition & modeling of the Objects which exist in the problem domain. These were either derived from the initial Data Modeling or from the Inputs, Outputs, Controls & Resources upon the identified Process Models.
Initially, each of these modeling techniques focused on its own particular aspect or strength, paying minimal attention to the requirements of others in the Research Methods Tool Set. Only with subsequent iterations after the initial definition were the requirements of adjacent neighbors considered thus giving greater prominence to integration.
For example, viewing both the non physical data & physical real world items as objects and how they interrelate. This occurred not only across the output from each technique but also by considering the different philosophies they embodied and operated. For example, starting with a top down methodology, initiating a bottom up focused sequence of events and then merging the two together through incremental and iterative steps to provide a consistent & uniform definition across all of the modeling techniques ().
As Figure 5 depicts, these iterations were conducted with constant reference to the initial research objectives. This re-checking of results against requirements provided a useful technique for raising the awareness of the Project Team Members and minimizing any resistance to change. With the author providing a focus for modeling activities, this reduced to a minimum any modeling inconsistencies typically found when numerous domain experts & modellers from different backgrounds work together.
The iterative modeling exercise could have continued indefinitely so we have employed some guidelines to define when to initiate application software development and when to conclude Phase 2.
When the first Data & Modeling exercises were completed, then the first cut Logical Entity Diagrams and Process Models were used to start the development of the Application Software.
The Logical Entity Diagrams were a familiar tool used by the Software Developers but the Process Diagrams, their intent and key messages, were communicated to the Project Team members. The Process Models indicated the key objects used within the Project and gave an elementary view of their internal structure. It was recognized that the Application Software would have to support the creation, population & management of these key objects.
From the above two sources, the Object Model was created based upon the lowest level Process Model. Again, anything learnt from this particular step was included in the Application Software Design. This provided a clearer definition of the types of data objects that any software was required to manage and a clearer understanding of their internal structure.
Within this step, Object Modeling also helped to identify the missing Processes that were assumed or hidden within the Process Model. Iterative Object Modeling & Process Modeling continued, continually revealing the Processes, Objects and their appropriate structures.
Process modeling down to the 4th level of decomposition proved to be the key to identifying all of the processes within the modeled project phase. During this phase we also identified the key internal structures of the objects, ensuring that the object modeling results consistently reflected all associations between Rules / Hypotheses & Objects. A comprehensive Process Model signified a formal end to Phase 2.
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Having confirmed the objectives, Data Modeling was conducted by either the authors or the Software Modellers. The remit was to identify key data entities and relationships necessary to support and attain the above business & academic functions.
The knowledge was captured in the IDMS Architect product in the form of Data Flows, Data Elements or Data Inventory, the Entities associated with these and the relationships expressed between the entities.
Data Modeling also provided an elementary understanding of the Processes needed to maintain these Data Objects. These were expressed in the form of Functional Requirements. As such it was a static representation of the domain giving only a minimal understanding of the dynamic interaction of the entities in terms of, say, the chronological evolution of the values associated with each of the data elements.
All of the knowledge captured during the first Data Modeling exercise was expressed as Logical Data Structures/ Models with their Functional Descriptions. They were used to confirm our initial understanding with the domain experts. From that perspective it provided a very useful and stable basis from which to proceed to develop application software.
Although this was a necessary first step, experience and use proved that the required degree of decomposition and clarity of objects ( both data and physical ) and their internal structures, could only be provided by Process & Object Modeling. The usefulness of the output from this initial Data Modeling step, even later in the iterative stages, diminished as the research continued and the emphasis turned to a wider Object Oriented approach.
However, using this initial Logical Data Structure, the concept of Classification was applied to generate an initial Object Orientated perspective to the resultant Data objects.
This deliverable initiated the basis of work from which to fulfill the research objectives. Grouping or categorizing the data elements caused us and Domain Experts to consider the perceived internal structure of the Objects. As this continued, so more effort was expended to keep the Data Objects derived from this technique complementary to those from Process Modeling.
The prime driver was ensuring consistency of approach & results between the two modeling techniques.
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Building upon the outline Process definitions from Data Modeling, a Top Down Process Modeling exercise was conducted by us using our IDEF_PA methodology (to be published at a later stage in detail). The focus of attention was to define the generic processes used within the project development phases.
Starting from the top level process, the modeling exercise decomposed down through the levels until it was felt that sufficient structural detail of key objects was uncovered.
For example, the modeling exercise identified the need for an Addendum Sheet within the Project Team and to then communicate to outside bodies the Parts 'Engineering Specification. The Logical Data Structures and the Bill Of Material function Data Flow Diagrams provided a guide to us, ensuring that the entities and events were included within the resultant process models.
Unlike the Data Modeling exercise, Process Modeling revealed the Physical Objects that could be encountered or created at any point in time and how they related to the associated Data Objects invariably used to control or manage their physical manifestation.
The initial results from the Process Modeling exercise was the first draft IDEF_PA diagrams and the Data Dictionary / Physical Object Library descriptions. These gave more detail and a consistent definition, albeit elementary, to the structure of the Data & Physical objects.
The Process Models further outlined those activities that would be dependent upon IT (Information technology) based support and was consequently used by the Software Development Group to initiate further design activities. This was done under the direct management of the first Author.
The Data Dictionary helped to provide a Logical definition of the data being managed which complemented the Data Modeling design activities started earlier.
Those processes to be undertaken by purely manual means could be brought to the attention of the Feature Group Leaders & Feature Owners to gain their consent to the philosophy. With both types of processes upon the Process Model, they were able to comprehend what was being proposed and anticipated what could be done in parallel and what couldn't.
The decomposition process was of little interest to them. They were only interested in what was expected of them. The definition of compatibility between Modeling techniques was solely within the remit of the Research Program.
Having established the basic Processes and the structure of the Objects (Data or Physical ) within them, these static perspectives formed the basis to initiate any definitions within the Dynamic Modeling, Object Orientated Tool.
It quickly became apparent that the Process Model only had to go to the 4th level of iteration. The Feature Group Leaders & Feature Owners defined this as the most appropriate level. Level 3 only indicted the key milestones in a parts life cycle whereas level 5 was considered to be to much detail to comprehend, absorb, retain & recall.
Object and Rules Modeling
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Object Modeling was conducted solely by us and gave an added dimension to the Research Methods Tool Set. All of the preceding modeling iterations provided a Static perspective of the Processes & Objects. This gave a chronological view of the objects and their structures showing how they were either created, modified or destroyed as the model ran.
Using the first Process Models and the supporting Data Dictionaries / Physical Objects Libraries, the initial static definitions of classes for the objects were recreated in our Knowledge Based Expert System, NEXPERT. Then by following the Process Models events, the NEXPERT Rules & Hypotheses were created. Initially they had no dependencies specified within them. No internal Input Tests or Output Actions were specified.
Only for those agreed level 4 Processes exhibiting some degree of explicit Data & Object Structures / Classes (from the Data Dictionaries & the Physical Object Libraries) were the first Conditions & Actions Statements created. These statements utilized the Classes definitions from Process Modeling which corresponded to the Controls upon the IDEF_PA diagrams.
Constructing the Object Model followed the sequence of proposed Process events from the Process Models. Where the Process Model was ill defined (e.g. due to the first iteration of it) then the corresponding Rule Structure of Conditions & Actions had to be left incomplete.
The initial Object Modeling exercise also provided a stimulus to consider the hierarchy needs within the Process Models. Although not requiring Parent Classes, the classes under review had to have superclasses if consistency of definition was to be proved.
Having established the Static Model within NEXPERT, so the dynamic processes were conducted based upon the incomplete model. It soon became apparent that the Object Model would give a chronological view of the Data Values showing how the initial structures and values were populated / modified as NEXPERT conducted an inference session.
For example, the tool showed how the authorship value had to change as the part progressed through the various events in its creation, association into a Bill of Material, transfer to MASCOT for Order Requirements planning and then buy off and acceptance by the Product Support Group processes.
Again, the information derived from this initial process established the dynamic values for the data objects that the application software would have to include. This initial phase concluded when an Object Model was constructed for the corresponding Process Model as it existed from that first initial attempt.
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The initial object modeling exercises were based upon the knowledge derived from the first Process Modeling iteration. Having recognized this as a starting point for the complete Research Methods Tool Set, then the results were fed back into the Process Modeling.
The process of expanding both Object & Process models continued until each had a complete, corresponding & comprehensive definition of Processes (or Rules/ Hypotheses), and Data Dictionaries / Physical Object Libraries (or Classes or Objects that were the instances of these classes ) at the 4th level of modeling decomposition.
As we can see in Figure 5 the prime conduit for feedback was to the Process Models not the Data Models. The data models were only useful to initiate the process for soon afterwards the evolution of the Process Definitions and the Object Classes provided more comprehensive definitions.
It was clear that Object Models were mandatory to:
1. the definition of data and objects
2. the definition of how objects moved through the system;
3. whilst the Process Models confirmed the structures, and
4. decided which processes would be IT (Information Technology) based and which not.
Application Software Development Activities
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The application software was the real world implementation, supporting any IT dependent by the processes that the team would use based on the preceding Abstract modeling phase. The results from the modeling phase were used to construct the application software structure and, to some extent, the processing logic. This commenced with the output from the first Data Modeling exercise and was significantly enabled by Process Modeling.
However, there was some degree of feedback from this Business Software phase to the modeling activities. Having the application software in front of them to use, even though it was in a test environment, enabled the Feature Group Leaders & Team Members to further mental model the processes & what was required to initiate, control or deliver what they expected.
This ability and the management decision to develop the software itself by a process of Rapid Application Development (i.e. through iterative cycles) brought the Software Design processes into the "modeling arena".
For example, Process Modeling defined the IT dependent activities and the data elements that would be transformed. Using the Software in conjunction with the Process Models, provided a stimulus to consider the expansion of the application software to also include any neighboring Process requirements.
If a part number record was created by the software then the process & object models would illustrate the data required and the individual steps needed to compile or define the data. Reference to the application software design showed what could be done in a single transaction and thus not requiring devolution into smaller sub processes as shown upon the Process & Object Models.
Also, application software prototyping provided the 'User Friendly' stimulus to the Project team (,  and ). It enabled them to speculate on the finer details of data requirements not revealed during Data, Process & Object Modeling. This was especially relevant when the initial concatenation of data to form meaningful Codes & Classifications were outside the immediate capabilities of the Process Models.
During the Data, Process & Object Modeling phases, the results would have only stated that a particular activity had to be performed. The Process Models were used to define whether they were IT or non IT dependent. Only by conducting application software development and including such aspects as Data Volumes was the 'type' of IT processing considered. These factors were not prompted or included in the Process or Object Modeling phases.
For example, creation of a Part was an on-line, real- time requirement. This was mandatory and non -negotiable in order for the team to act quickly. However, many other factors such as data complexity, numbers of records etc. were only considered during Data Modeling and the speculative Software Design phases.
These factors influenced whether data creation or transfer could be conducted in 'Batch' or as a lower priority 'On -line' task. The Process & Object Modeling phases did not include these considerations.
Conclusions and Summary
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In this research case study oriented paper we have attempted to introduce how the various elements of the Research Methods Tool Set (as shown in Figure 10) were used in an iterative manner to model the Data, Processes & Objects in a Model Year Program Phase at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars as a result of a major enterprise re-engineering process. We have shown how each element was used in parallel to provide both an overall and an individual perspective for each of the various techniques employed.
Having defined the process and the objects to the 4th level of decomposition, the Application Software activities were accelerated. It was felt that this gave the correct and appropriate level of knowledge from which to proceed with minimum risk.
It was believed that the Modeling phase, through a process of communal design, would be the prime stimulus for "mental modeling". However, we learnt that this phase was significantly enhanced and accelerated by the provision of Application Software, in a controlled test environment, prior to its general release. In this managed environment, the end users were able to build upon the Process & Object Models to test their own understanding of how the activities and events would work together. This exercise proved to be a fruitful source of refined knowledge.
Significant effort was expended by us in defining a set of resultant models that operated at the same consistent level of decomposition or abstraction. The models that were produced could be related to each other making comprehensive & understanding that much more easier. Further, the use of a Data Dictionary in IDEF_PA and the consequent population of Classes in NEXPERT provided a mechanism to define an element once (Data or Physical ) and to show the dependent processes that acted upon it. This enabled us to further identify those processes conducted serially and to challenge why they could not be started either earlier or in parallel with others.
It should be noted, that the currently available and validated modules and already integrated methodologies of the research toolset are in use in the company and are successfully applied to the development of processes for new model designs and developments.
The authors would like to express their appreciation to Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited, Crewe, the University of East London, UK, Nexpert and NJIT (New Jersey Institute of Technology), New Jersey, USA, for their continuous support of this research project.
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