According to the Factories of the Future 2020 roadmap issued in 2013 (see https://www.effra.eu/factories-future-roadmap), digital manufacturing platforms are described as distributed and collaborative applications, implemented through mash-ups of services implemented by different small and large ICT and manufacturing vendors. The cloud will be the “agora” for provisioning customised functionalities through services that are reliable, secure, and guarantee performance. Open standards will ensure the full inter-operability in terms of data and applications.
More recent descriptions are available on https://www.effra.eu/digital-manufacturing-platforms
For some background information about the digital mapping framework, please see here.
Here the term “business models” is used in a wide sense, complementing the technological and organisation aspects of digital platforms.
One proven tool for analysing and shaping business model is the “Business Model Canvas”. When trying to apply this tool to platforms, it appears that some elements apply to platform-based business models (e.g. the “value proposition”) and that tools as the ”canvas” can provide a first inspiration.
However, for digital platforms the traditional business models view in the narrow sense falls short of describing the business and relationship aspects of plattforms. In particular, the strict “partner” and “customer”- view has to be replaced by an ecosystem-perspective. In addition, this ecosystem can be higly dynamic, which means that platfoms can move into new user groups, change their features and might have the typical effects. Another dfference is the central role of data for platforms, meaning that data governance is one of the essential elements of the value proposition of platforms.
By definition, by bringing together actors from different sides, platforms are defined by their stakeholders. There are core stakeholders (target customers, core suppliers, value chain partners), but it should not be forgotten that there are also actors with an indirect or external interest in the activities in the platform (competitors, existing customers not addressed through the platform). A platform also defines the relationship with and the channels with the different user groups.
Which are the target groups? Which new markets and users will be connected?
Interactions with other (commercial) digital platforms indicate how developed solutions are interoperable with legacy systems or how future interaction with other solutions is anticipated.
Other eco-system aspects can be:
Digital platforms will be successful if they provide a clear value proposition to the user groups involved. In general, digital platforms offer added-value basd upon three main mechanisms:
Based upon these mechanisms, added-value can be created in a variety of perspectives, such as the process perspective (what process or activity is optimised?) or the KPI perspective (what KPI is the focus of the optimisation). This added value enables the financing of the digital processes through e.g.increased price margins, market shares or reduced costs.
From a general point of view, optimisation of the performance of a system (for example an organisation, factory, machine, component, etc) is done with a certain goal or certain performance characteristic of that system. Hence the association to 'Key Performance Indicators'.
Efficient energy use, sometimes simply called energy efficiency, is the goal to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Efficient_energy_use)
Material efficiency is a description or metric which expresses the degree in which raw materials are consumed, incorporated, or wasted, as compared to previous measures in construction projects or physical processes. Making a usable item out of thinner stock than a prior version increases the material efficiency of the manufacturing process. Material efficiency goes hand in hand with Green building and Energy conservation, as well as any other ways of incorporating Renewable resource's in the building process from start to finish. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Material_efficiency)
Waste minimisation is a set of processes and practices intended to reduce the amount of waste produced. By reducing or eliminating the generation of harmful and persistent wastes, waste minimisation supports efforts to promote a more sustainable society. Waste minimisation involves redesigning products and processes and/or changing societal patterns of consumption and production. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waste_minimisation)
Productivity describes various measures of the efficiency of production. A productivity measure is expressed as the ratio of output to inputs used in a production process, i.e. output per unit of input. Productivity is a crucial factor in production performance of firms and nations. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Productivity)
In business, engineering, and manufacturing, quality has a pragmatic interpretation as the non-inferiority or superiority of something; it's also defined as being suitable for its intended purpose (fitness for purpose) while satisfying customer expectations. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quality_(business))
Quality assurance (QA) is a way of preventing mistakes and defects in manufactured products and avoiding problems when delivering solutions or services to customers; which ISO 9000 defines as "part of quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled". This defect prevention in quality assurance differs subtly from defect detection and rejection in quality control, and has been referred to as a shift left as it focuses on quality earlier in the process i.e. to the left of a linear process diagram reading left to right. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quality_control)
In systems engineering, dependability is a measure of a system's availability, reliability, and its maintainability, and maintenance support performance, and, in some cases, other characteristics such as durability, safety and security. In software engineering, dependability is the ability to provide services that can defensibly be trusted within a time-period. This may also encompass mechanisms designed to increase and maintain the dependability of a system or software. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dependability)
Occupational safety and health (OSH), also commonly referred to as occupational health and safety (OHS), occupational health or workplace health and safety (WHS), is a multidisciplinary field concerned with the safety, health, and welfare of people at work. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupational_safety_and_health)
A lead time is the latency between the initiation and execution of a process. For example, the lead time between the placement of an order and delivery of a new car from a manufacturer (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_time)
Flexibility in manufacturing means the ability to deal with slightly or greatly mixed parts, to allow variation in parts assembly and variations in process sequence, change the production volume and change the design of certain product being manufactured.
Business development entails tasks and processes to develop and implement growth opportunities within and between organizations. It is a subset of the fields of business, commerce and organizational theory. Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_development)
In general, compliance means conforming to a rule, such as a specification, policy, standard or law. Regulatory compliance describes the goal that organizations aspire to achieve in their efforts to ensure that they are aware of and take steps to comply with relevant laws, policies, and regulations. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_compliance)
Industrial design is a process of design applied to products that are to be manufactured (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_design)
Engineering is the creative application of science, mathematical methods, and empirical evidence to the innovation, design, construction, operation and maintenance of structures, machines, materials, devices, systems, processes, and organizations. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineering)
In industry, product lifecycle management (PLM) is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from inception, through engineering design and manufacture, to service and disposal of manufactured products. PLM integrates people, data, processes and business systems and provides a product information backbone for companies and their extended enterprise. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_lifecycle)
In commerce, supply chain management (SCM), the management of the flow of goods and services, involves the movement and storage of raw materials, of work-in-process inventory, and of finished goods from point of origin to point of consumption. Interconnected or interlinked networks, channels and node businesses combine in the provision of products and services required by end customers in a supply chain. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply_chain_management)
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is the integrated management of core business processes, often in real-time and mediated by software and technology. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_resource_planning)
Scheduling is the process of arranging, controlling and optimizing work and workloads in a production process or manufacturing process. Scheduling is used to allocate plant and machinery resources, plan human resources, plan production processes and purchase materials. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scheduling_(production_processes)). Associated tools and processes are Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) or Manufacturing Operations Management, see also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manufacturing_operations_management)
Factory automation describes a general engineering and manufacturing environment that is defined by its ability to manufacture and/or assemble goods chiefly by machines, integrated assembly lines, and robotic arms in cooperation with humans. (see also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factory_automation_infrastructure)
The process of analysing one or more parameters that characterise a process, in order to draw conclusions regarding the performance of that process. Examples include but are not limited to condition monitoring (see also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condition_monitoring, energy monitoring (see also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_monitoring_and_targeting).
Tracking and tracing, concerns a process of determining the current and past locations (and other information) of a unique item or property. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Track_and_trace)
Simulation is the imitation of the operation of a real-world process or system. The act of simulating something first requires that a model be developed; this model represents the key characteristics, behaviors and functions of the selected physical or abstract system or process. The model represents the system itself, whereas the simulation represents the operation of the system over time. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulation)
The process of making predictions of the future based on past and present data and most commonly by analysis of trends (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forecasting)
The technical meaning of maintenance involves functional checks, servicing, repairing or replacing of necessary devices, equipment, machinery, building infrastructure (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maintenance_(technical))
In order to be sustainable, the value proposition must be mirrored by a revenue stream, which is orchestrated by the platform. This value streams can be direct (pay-per-use, subscription, sales etc.), but could also be indirect (increasing price of products, increasing market share).
Pay-per-use or pay-per-duration-of-use implies that users are charged pro-rata of how much they used the service (in terms of consumed resources, computing power,... or in terms of the duration of the use of the service)
Pay-per-saved-unit-of-X or pay-per-added-value implies that the user pays pro-rate the added value that the service is generating
At the core of all potential industrial use case scenarios of platforms are data. When formerly isolated data are shared, suddenly a new set of factors arises, both in terms of new external factors, but also in terms of business/microeconomic implications. Therefore, at the core of every digital platform must be a legally, organizationally and commercially viable concept for data sharing/trading/exchange.
When shaping this model, the following questions must be answered:
What is the legal arrangement for data “ownership”? Can users classify their data, is staggered approach possible (closed, traded or open data)? What are legal means that the platform uses to ensure the confidentiality of data ? (Trade Secrets, data base directive)
Transparency: Can users monitor/control the sharing of data with third parties? Are there “expiration dates” for data use?
Is the legal setting a fixed standards (“general conditions”) or is it a flexible, individual approach? Are model contracts available?
Are there sectorial regulatory requirements concerning data?
How far is portability and change of platform possible?
Who is responsible in the case of breaches of confidentiality?
How is fairness/ a level playing field between the platform and smaller players ensured ?
Cloud computing can be deployed as private cloud, public cloud, hybrid cloud, etc...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_visualization ; http://www.visual-analytics.eu/faq
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AAA_(computer_security) ; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorization
Standardisation to Support Cross Platform Integration
Dedicated ERP software implemented
Supply chain management system implemented
Forecasting of required capabilities (link with Autonomous Smart Factories)
Common digital platform used for tenders and bidding (dynamically connecting to new suppliers/customers)
Based upon these mechanisms, added-value can be created in a variety of perspectives (see for instance here)
Product-Oriented Organizations based on highly qualified professional knowledge for design-manufacturing
Product Data management Systems
Products are considered along their own lifecycle. Complex Interactions between Lifecycles considered.
Product Life Cycle systems integrating Computer Aided Design and Product Data Management systems.
Customer Relationship Management systems
Product-Service-System Design Engineering open to customers and final users. Advanced services integrated.
Manufacturing companies integrate innovative services in their value proposition
Product Service Systems induce digital transformations at all levels: technical organizational and procedural. Collaborative PS Factories.