Jerome Reygrobellet presented the STMicroelectronics application where various TIBCO technologies including CEP were used to improve operational efficiency in the their manufacturing processes by “identifying and removing non-value-added tasks” as production proceeded. STM are in the semiconductor business – $10B in sales in 2010, 53,000 employees, and 14 production sites around the world, and launched this productivity improvement program in 2007, with the IT project started in 2008. The first version of the application was delivered in 9mths (June 2009). The project involved using RFID to track and trace the production components, and a “Smart and aware Sampling Tool” to optimise the amount of manual testing at each stage of the production process. The goal was to achieve a >10% improvement in production efficiency and achieve an ROI of less than a year – in fact the results for the first version were an improvement of 14% and an ROI of < 6 months. Impressive.
I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the term “edBPM” as all managed business processes rely on events – it’s a bit like saying “flexible agile development”… However the goal is worthy enough, as it is to convey the use of event processing technology in automated business processes. For this reason I am also not a fan of the “Management” part in “edBPM” – pureplay BPM systems like TIBCO AMX BPM provide management of (human-oriented) business processes, whilst automated business processes have different, simpler, “management” needs. A more accurate term might be CEP-based Business Processing, using things like inference-driven business processes with integrated decisioning and business monitoring… but this begs the question “how is this different from complex event processing” with an emphasis on the “processing”, not merely the detection of “complex events”.
This week Rainer von Ammon hosted edBPM2010 as a workshop at the ServiceWave2010 conference, which had the theme of Ubiquitous CEP or U-CEP. This was attended by representatives from a variety of institutions, from a large European telco to a Chinese University. And the variety of interests around U-CEP was fascinating – brain systems, socio-economic organisations and the like – all of which seemed far more interesting than a computer scientist might initially imagine. The “discussion table” I attended focussed on CEP in manufacturing for which the STM use case is an excellent example, and for which the German University of Siegen team described their work with a specialist metal foundry (constructing, for example, aluminium engine blocks for exclusive executive cars). An interesting point here was the fact that German heavy industry was investing in CEP research to remain competitive in a global economy.
Last week was another angle for CEP-based Business Processing – the OMG standards body voted to extend the “Letter Of Interest” in, and hence allow new submitters for, the proposed CMPM (Case Management Process Modelling) standard. At the beginning of this standard TIBCO had presented its plan-based, rule-driven Advanced Fulfillment Framework (AFF, now TIBCO ActiveFulfillment and ActiveCatalog) as a response to an RFI on Dynamic Business Activity Modelling. The increasing current interest in case management and “Adaptive Case Management” is part of the same swell in interest in edBPM / CEP-based Business Processing.
Now, vendors are not really allowed to create pervasive technology acronyms (as competitors naturally insist on inventing competing terms). This is a job best left for the industry analysts (or possibly bodies like EPTS). So far I have not seen much interest from them in the term “edBPM”. And “Complex Event based Business Processing” is probably too close to “CEP” – in more senses than just the words – so “CEBP” is probably not going to fly either. Other related / overlapping / equivalent terms to edBPM have included dynamic BPM and knowledge-driven process modelling, and probably a few others. We shall see what term or terms eventually “stick” for this concept – watch this space!
My thanks to TIBCO colleague Philippe Amiel for pointing out to me the recent announcement of a TIBCO BusinessEvents CEP customer in the highly competitive semiconductor manufacturing business.
STMicroelectronics, one of the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturers, is using TIBCO’s event-driven and real-time messaging software to simplify and optimize quality control across the semiconductor chip manufacturing process on 200mm silicon wafers.
Silicon wafer production operators need a lot of information to do their jobs, requiring them to seek out and connect to multiple systems and information sources during the manufacturing process. With this in mind, STMicroelectronics has created a highly dynamic IT platform environment to help increase productivity by enabling:
* Quicker turnaround of workloads – 24,000 tasks per day – by actively pushing crucial information – such as the precise location of materials in the 10,000m2 clean room required to complete the next job – to operators as they need it
* Heightened production quality levels that are tailored to meet specific customer requirements by dynamically modifying the sampling of wafers according to external ‘events’, such as time elapsed since the last production equipment maintenance
* Faster on-boarding of new manufacturing staff via quicker and easier training – new staff consult a single information source for all details of the job in hand
The new IT platform environment being implemented at STMicroelectronics 200mm-wafer semiconductor-chip manufacturing site at Crolles in France will leverage TIBCO BusinessEventsTM, TIBCO ActiveMatrix BusinessWorksTM and TIBCO Rendezvous® software. This new system is part of a wider global initiative aimed at enhancing the company’s efficiency and global market competitiveness.
“The manufacture of silicon wafers is a complex process, with several hundred key steps. TIBCO’s solutions play an important role in allowing us to deliver seamless quality control and real-time manufacturing information, allowing us to increase productivity without any dip in the quality of our product,” comments Jérôme Reygrobellet, IT Project Manager, STMicroelectronics’ Crolles 200 site. “This will be instrumental in ensuring the continued competitiveness of our Crolles 200 site. We expect to see rapid return on investment from these deployments, and have also designed these solutions to be easy to integrate and roll out at other STMicroelectronics sites globally in the future.”
Unfortunately the PR does not talk about numbers or values to support the ROI – but I understand the value proposition is significant… Congratulations to the STM and TIBCO France team!