Course Syllabus - Open Source Enterprise Resource Planning and Order Management System

editor: Mitja Jermol, Centre for knowledge transfer in IT, Jožef Stefan Institute
editor: Davor Orlič, Knowledge 4 All Foundation Ltd.
published: Aug. 4, 2008,  

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This first course aims at creating a motivation for the course through a brief presentation of application areas, illustrated by concrete examples in industry, services, government, etc. A brief historic overview of the industrial organizational paradigms leading to collaborative networks as well as a summary of current technological and organizational trends is presented. For each example an attempt to identify the main involved problems (e.g. organizational forms, processes, and cooperation and collaboration forms) is made, calling the attention for the potential contributes from other disciplines. The socioeconomic importance of each case is also briefly highlighted. The assumption in early works on Virtual Organization (VO) creation was that partners could be quickly identified and selected from the wide open universe of available enterprises / organizations, and engaged into a collaboration network. This assumption however overlooks a number of important obstacles in th is process among which the following can be mentioned: How to know about the mere existence of potential partners in the open universe and deal with incompatible sources of information? How to acquire basic profile information about organizations, when there is no common template or standard format? How to quickly and reliably establish an interoperable collaboration infrastructure, given the heterogeneity of organizations at multi-levels, and the diversity of their interaction systems? How to build trust among organizations, which is the base for any collaboration? How to quickly develop and agree on the common principles of sharing and working together? How to quickly define the agreements on the roles and responsibilities of each partner, to reflect sharing of tasks, the rights on the produced results?

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  • Categories of CNs. * Actors and roles. * Life cycle and related key processes. After the motivation phase, the base concepts are introduced. Considering the large variety of collaborative networks, a categorization of the various forms is made and a taxonomy is introduced in order to give students a global perspective of the area. The main types of collaborative networks, namely the long term strategic alliance as well as the dynamic (short term) opportunity driven collaborative network is addressed. The various actors involved in a collaborative network as well as the roles they can play are identified. Finally the life cycle of a collaborative network is discussed in terms of its main phases.
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flagCNO Base ConceptsCNO Base Concepts
Luis M. Camarinha-Matos Luis M. Camarinha-Matos

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In this course the concept, operation and life cycle of clusters and virtual organisations will be presented. The concept and models behind will be explained starting with the relation between Virtual organization Breeding Environment (VBE) and Virtual Organisations (VO). VBE in wider context represents a long-term cluster/association/pool of organizations that are supported and facilitated for the stablishment of Virtual Organizations (VOs) and other forms of dynamic Collaborative Networked Organizations (CNOs).

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This course is aimed at providing knowledge about the models, structures and mechanisms for coordination. The coordination mechanisms are basic mechanisms in any networked organisation and as such the focal point of interest for any cluster or virtual organisation. The course starts with analyzing and studying the approaches for distributed and collaborative decision-making including organizational aspects. Support for decision making processes in inter-enterprise and collaborative environment is the main focus. The survey is also creates the basis for the development activities in the following tasks. In order to focus the report, the description and explanation of VO management are taken as a starting point for the analyses. This approach was also suggested by the strategic and scientific board of the project. VO management (VOM) is defined to denote the organization, allocation and co-ordination of resources, their activities and their inter-organizational dependencies to achieve the objectives of the VO within the required time, cost and quality frame. The VOM applies knowledge, skills and/or tools in order to achieve the VO goals. Obviously, the management of Virtual Organizations to a large extent deals with humans and is performed by humans. In most cases the human aspect is considerable as the last decisions about management actions usually are done by the VO managers. The VOM has to be developed in close interaction with the development of a VO performance measurement. Efficient management methods and good collaboration are considered to have important impact on the outcome of a VO. Therefore the suggested management is assumed to also measure or estimate the efficiency of the collaboration and the management itself. The virtual organisation is created to fulfil a certain task. The outcome of the virtual organisation is its fulfilment, i.e. keeping expected costs, time and quality. In order to manage the VO efficiently, we have to have control its efficiency. The efficiency can be divided into three different categories, which all can be interrelated: * The task fulfilment efficiency, i.e. keeping expected costs, time and quality * The efficiency of the VO and the collaboration * The efficiency of the management approach and management methods.

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This course will explain the e-Commerce and e-Markets solutions and emerging forms for e-Business. Although these issues are not part of the Collaborative Networks, they share a number of common issues. Therefore the concepts of e-Commerce and e-Market are introduced and the differences and commonalities in relation to collaborative networks highlighted. The involved organizational issues are discussed and supporting architectures and technologies introduced. Finally the contact points between these areas and collaborative networks in a new digital ecosystems context are discussed. E-commerce is usually associated with buying and selling over the Internet, or conducting any transaction involving the transfer of ownership or rights to use goods or services through a computer-mediated network. This definition is not comprehensive enough to capture recent developments in this new and revolutionary business phenomenon. A more complete definition is: E-commerce is the use of electronic communications and digital information processing technology in business transactions to create, transform, and redefine relationships for value creation between or among organizations, and between organizations and individuals. The major different types of e-commerce are: business-to-business (B2B); business-to-consumer (B2C); business-to-government (B2G); consumer-to-consumer (C2C); and mobile commerce (m-commerce).

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This course will explore briefly the emerging collaborative forms that might be relevant for Tool and die making industries. As a starting basis, new forms of collaborative e-government, e-science, virtual institutes, Virtual laboratories, etc, are discussed. Other generalizations include: networks of sensors, networks of machines, etc. The focus would be on Professional Virtual Communities (PVC) are relevant for the Open source developers community. PVCs are based on a voluntary membership in which individuals join the community with the only perspective to share their knowledge and experience and to gain and improve his/her own skills by means of interaction with the other members. As a consequence of this emerging community, some challenges are arising: IPR and Royalties Management – PVC will share that approach in the sense that they will be helpful for individual to improving their knowledge. Several main elements will be considered: Socio-Ethical Challenges – Research i s needed in order to better understand the social processes, actors, and roles involved in PVCs. The elaboration of proper codes of conduct or ethical principles is fundamental to ensure sustainability. Collaboration Platforms – Developing a science of “collaboration” and open extensible research platforms enabling the community to leverage each other’s work, exploring issues beyond current standards based systems and deployment of large-scale test-beds. But there are also other aspects that can be the usage, in the framework of CMC of the same platforms, Operating Systems and Applications, but also the resort to a pre-defined codification of knowledge, allowing the most efficient exchange of information among the members. The way in which PVC members will cooperate depends on the availability of interactive SW tools. The present existing Internet based CMC tools, such as e-mail, file-transfer, synchronous communication (chatting, file sharing, video conferencing, VoIP) will be intensively used within PVC. However the possibility of advanced cooperative tools will facilitate the remote co-working: the possibility of using d evelopment tools (CAD, CAM, simulation tools) in a Concurrent Engineering framework will enhance the cooperation and the interaction level among the community members. Business models and mechanisms – Value creation is definitely a major motivation for PVCs. Therefore it is necessary to understand the foundations of value creation in this context and to elaborate appropriate business models and supporting mechanisms. The concept of “value system” also needs to be better understood and modelled. Social Security – New models for the social security should be developed providing guarantees for the knowledge workers. This challenge comes from the point of view that a PVC member will not have the traditional social security (or continuity of employment) and thus he or she will neither have rights to a good retirement nor a good health system. This aspect also requires the development of new institutions (life maintenance institutions) associated to PVCs.

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The aim of this course is to present the aims, goals, structure and expected results of a ToolEast project. In addition this course provides information about the future plans, development and operations of the business development that will follow the ToolEast project. In that respect the ideas from the business plan are presented. ToolEast will offer to Tool & Die (T&D) SMEs an ERP application that is skimmed for their processes, a B2B, B2C marketplace for T&D SMEs, and possibility to outsource hosted solution. The current objective of the Tool East project is to create and populate a web portal, which will become a single point of reference for European Tool & Die SMEs looking for the high quality, affordable and fast ERP/CRM solution and collaboration tools specifically designed to address their needs and aid them to improve their productivity, efficiency, and competitiveness in the global market. In order to achieve the sustainability of the Portal, the Tool East will e xplore a number of strategies and adopt various business models such as Tool East membership business model, consulting business model, announcement and advertising. They are all considered as viable options for the Tool East sustainability and will be implemented beyond the Tool East project during its first three years of operation. We are aware that under continuous pressure of market forces such as high competition in ERP/CRM markets or changes in customer needs and demand, we will have to incrementally adapt our business models and strategies to rapidly changing environment. Continuous pressure of rapid technological progress in ERP and CRM market will also have a great impact on Tool East business and its strategies.

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In this course we are presenting a set of guided tours through the ToolEast solution. The goal of the course is to teach users that already get necessary background knowledge from the structure of the solution to become acquainted with the solution, project and general concepts. The following screen casts have been prepared:

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In this course we are presenting a business process model, which captures the requirements of tool making companies. This includes a detailed system analysis of different business processes. To do this, the business processes of participating SMEs are modelled to generate an overall model that covers tooling industrial trends. This analysis will address all main processes of tool-makers workshops, including * production planning * materials and purchase management * project planning * inter-enterprise order management * customer relationship management The analysis will identify and describe the main (or primary) processes. To design the processes, an acknowledged enterprise modelling toolset will be used. Objective of this document is that end-users describe and elaborate their business processes. Representative for the tool and die making industry SMEs will elaborate the business processes. These business processes will be evaluated in by the end-users who do not participate in this process and the tool makers’ cluster. The output of all activities in this task will be document which includes: process landscapes of business process models which contain the information to identify the main process and to identify other relating processes.

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The Tool and Die making industry is an order based business dependent on the technical and technological innovations, solutions and tools. Therefore tool and die making workshops combine innovation and knowledge intensive processes with the abilities and skills. Furthermore it involves business process innovation reflecting in new organizational models. Since every order represents a different product, the costs of the tools are very high and so are the risks. More complex products in terms of functionalities and high quality standards engage more complex and expensive manufacturing technologies. These technologies ranges from traditional manufacturing technologies like turning, grinding, etc. to more innovative manufacturing technologies like laser cutting, water jet cutting, and so on. It is often the case that a particular tool part cannot be produced just by using the available technologies in one company or that the technology to be used is so expensive that just few specialized tool and die shops can afford to master them. The need for sharing capacities (machines, materials, machine operator) and knowledge resources (technologies, competences) is therefore inevitable. Tool-makers have to constantly evolve by changing their organization and technology and optimize their business processes in order to sustain the competition. Different levels of development, language barriers and different operational cultures are few of the many foreseen barriers to be solved. This document will address the issues for the improvement in the three crucial areas of the whole workflow: * Inner processes within the company, * Collaborative processes of interaction with other SMEs and * The customer relationships (interaction with the mass- manufacturing companies as final clients)

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The need of better collaboration requires a faster, more reliable and integrated support system. It is needed to sustain a constructive trend for industrial collaboration among SMEs. Therefore an effective as well as an efficient way of observing, analysing and handling of information is required. As a precondition, a supporting system like an ERP system needs to be adjusted to business processes. Obviously, tool and die making workshops are faced with specific operational sequences. Although they are operating in the same area, they may differ on a company level. It is therefore essential that before implementing standardised as well as customised applications, the specific requirements on an open source ERP system have to be identified. In this context, a reference business model, placed on industrial level, provides a framework, including all relevant main business process applications. These efforts are spent in order to reach a high productivity and efficiency through be tter and wider reach to the customers. Two major objectives of this strategy are coordination of intra-enterprise order processing and bringing of core capabilities into a flexible network, supported by an ERP system. In this context, a reference business model, placed on industrial level, provides a framework, including all relevant main business process applications and will therefore ease the work an SME need to carry out before implementing such a supporting system. This reference model will therefore decrease existing obstacles for seamless collaboration among SMEs. Main goals are firstly to assess the required functionalities, carried out in the tool-makers shops, for user acceptance with respect to ERP and CRM functionalities. Secondly, the outcome of this analysis will lead to a logical sector specific reference business models sets a framework, entering all integrated main business processes.

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In order to develop an open source Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) application for the tool and die making enterprises a meta-generic business model (Reference Business Process Model) is needed. This reference business process model should cover all processes so that that the ERP application meets all the requirements of the tool and die making sector. The aim is therefore to evaluate the developed reference model via a questionnaire whether the model covers all the processes and if those processes are in the right sequence. It is also necessary to evaluate the flexibility of the reference business process model in order to meet different requirements. The transferability needs to be evaluated as well. A business process reference model can be evaluated according to different criteria like: * Economic evaluation criteria * Evaluation Criteria for Human factors * Technical evaluation criteria The main objective is to proof the appropriateness and applicability of the develo ped model. Furthermore, by collecting data from different industry partners in different countries it is possible to analyse national differences and become aware of the different industry partners.

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One prominent sector within manufacturing industry is Tool-and-Die manufacturing. Almost all of the Tool-and-Die workshops in Eastern Europe are small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Low margins and a decreasing market share force most of these SMEs to optimise productivity and to gain continuously higher efficiency in all business processes. Furthermore, increasing competition requires a more professional customer relationship and better cooperation with other companies forming the limited supply chain in this sector. As customer demands increase, SMEs need to become more responsive to rapid fluctuation in supply and demand, to assure availability of different materials at the right time and at the right place and to reduce inventory risks. To do this, Tool-and-Die workshops have to bridge the gap between their order acceptance, inventory and production management processes. The need of better collaboration requires a faster, more reliable and integrated support system. It is needed to sustain a constructive trend for industrial collaboration among SMEs. Therefore an effective as well as an efficient way of observing, analysing and handling of information is required. As a precondition, a supporting system like an ERP system needs to be adjusted to business processes of all the stakeholders. Obviously, Tool-and-Die manufacturers are faced with specific operational sequences. Although they are operating in the same area, they may differ on a company level. It is therefore essential that before implementing standardised as well as customised applications, the specific requirements on an open source ERP system have to be identified.

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We have attempted to give a general overview regarding Open Source and Free Software with the intention of bringing all the partners to a base level understanding of the phenomenon that will be important for the remainder of the project as we select and modify an Open Source project and interact with the community. We therefore discuss the term Open Source, where the Open Source movement comes from and what motivates its adherents. We introduce the culture that fuels the movement, as well as the personalities and organizations that promote its growth. We attempt to understand the strengths of the Open Source movement and how it changes the way in which software is written. In the latter parts of the document we have explored licensing arrangements that are frequently used in the Open Source software projects. The final part of the document looks at the types of applications that are available in the Open Source industry while making a thorough specifically the rage of candida te applications for the tool and die making cluster’s ERP needs. This document is expected also to serve the project participants as a hand. * Basic development course * Advanced development course * Tooleast installation and maintenance.

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