Business Process Innovation

    Project Details



    In a hyper-competitive environment companies must continually improve their people, processes, and technologies to create competitive advantage. The ability to accurately predict consumer demand coupled with the capability to rapidly react and readjust to environmental changes and supply and demand fluctuations separates the winners from the losers.

    Most industrial supply chains are globally scattered and nearly every business relies on their Enterprise Information Systems for business process integration. In this context business value is inevitable driven and constrained by advanced information technology, and business value is thus determined by the ability to absorb and to realize innovative solutions.

    The purpose of this program is to develop a research program aimed at transforming new ideas and concepts into innovative global supply chain processes enabled by using advanced Enterprise Information Systems.

    The Challenge

    The emergent challenge and opportunity for an organization is to architect, design and orchestrate adaptive global supply chain networks. Adaptive supply chain networks exploit innovations to improve efficiency and responsiveness and consistently achieve these objectives. Furthermore most global supply chains are vulnerable to disruptions like natural disasters, accidents and terrorism. Consequently not only real-time issues like sense and response but also robustness and resilience are emerging concerns to most enterprises.

    Consequently the challenge is to transform new ideas and advanced technology into business value: Contemporary Enterprise Information Systems from the major vendors such as SAP, Oracle and Microsoft offers an immense amount of new tools and concepts based on the best practices. However, changing inter-organizational processes spanning global supply chains, numerous organizational boundaries and countless IT-systems is a complex task.

    The ability to develop and implement new effective processes driven by the Enterprise Systems is a central competence in most businesses, and it is critical practice to a global enterprise. Consequently there is a need for new approaches to business process modeling and improvement based on advanced enterprise information systems. This is emerging as a challenge to the industry, to research and also to the education of future engineers and managers.

    Purpose of the program

    The vision behind this program is to develop an international recognized research program on business process innovation (BPI) in global supply chains based on advanced enterprise information systems (EIS). There are three purposes of this program:

    • Develop a research program focused on BPI/EIS and to develop linkages to a national and an international network of researchers and industries.
    • Promote the ideas of BPI/EIS to the industry by collaborating on research and by disseminating new knowledge to a larger audience.
    • Advance engineering and business education on BPI/EIS by exploring new innovative curriculum and new ways of delivering knowledge.

    This new research program is to be embedded as a new research group at the Center for Industrial Production (CIP) at Aalborg University (AAU) in Denmark.

    The research proposal

    The initial proposed research program is described in publications elsewhere have five interrelated activities:

    • 1) Establish the theoretical foundation for Business Process Innovation in the supply chain. The objective is to identify, capture and to categorize the general process theory in a supply chain context.
    • 2) Set up the conceptual context for developing business processes in global supply chains. The objective is to identify and enhance new concepts and the methods for developing global supply chain intelligence.
    • 3) Create the conceptual basis for managing advanced Enterprise Information Systems. The objective is to identify and transform the new concepts and the technology management perspective based on new advanced Enterprise Information Systems.
    • 4) Develop innovation mediation as a methodology for Business Process Innovation. The Process Innovation Laboratory or the Π-Lab is proposed as a comprehensive framework and a collaborative workspace for experimenting with process models. The Π-Lab is using an integrated action learning and concept development approach to facilitate innovation.
    • 5) Execute a number of industry driven action research projects on Business Process Innovation. These projects serve as the shared empirical basis and furthermore a national and international network of researchers and industries on Business Process Innovation will be established.

    This research program is based on previous research on operations management and information systems, and this particular research contributes to each of the above topics with the Π-Lab and Innovation Mediation as the main contribution.

    Research organization

    This research program will be directed by a new chair in Business Process Innovation at the Center for Industrial Production (CIP) at Aalborg University (AAU). The mission for the new chair is to develop the research program at CIP as well as the industry research program.

    Initially the plan is to establish a group consisting of: 1) at least one full professor; 2) at least two industry co-sponsored Ph.D.-projects aimed at exploring Business Process Innovation in practice as well as contributing to SCM/ES theory; and 3) a network of Danish and international researcher contributing to the program. The ambition is at least to double this effort.

    Danfoss action research program

    Danfoss has agreed to sponsor this research program and to undertake an active role in the industry driven action research program. The Danfoss action research program is intended to support the development of Danfoss competencies on Business Development. Danfoss is focusing on aligning IT with business, and therefore needs to advance their work on process development and realization. This program is intended to provide ideas for new process organizations, roles, methodologies and tools.

    A joint Danfoss/CIP steering committee will supervise the program and initiate development projects within the research framework. CIP will contribute with research resources and reflect and report to the steering committee. The thoughts behind the program and the principles for establishing and organizing this effort has been discussed and agreed upon in an initial meeting. An important first step is to formally organize the program, which include a program clarification document and an overall plan.

    Effective start/end date01/08/200731/07/2012


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