In time delivery in non-hierarchical
manufacturing networks
Start inTime project Communication

The concept of communication

In today’s manufacturing businesses, an increasing interest of electronic B2B data exchange can be observed. B2B-platforms like myOpenFactory, enabling the exchange of business information like orders, invoices, quotes etc. between multiple enterprises, enforce this trend.

B2B hubs create a situation in which enterprises are interconnected, applying a common data model. However until today, the use of these hub infrastructures is limited on pure information exchange. The inTime project aims at generating additional value through a business layer on top of these hub infrastructures. It makes use of an already existing communication infrastructure (myOpenFactory) and enriches it with distributed coordination functionalities in order to make existing supply networks more competitive.

The situation can be compared with the evolution of the telephone network. Once it provided only a speech communication infrastructure. Soon added-value services like telefax, online services and today the internet enriched the value of the network. In B2B data exchange, we are still in the age of pure communication infrastructures. inTime proposes a decentralised way of enhancing the network by a new service.

Which data has to be securely exchanged in an automated negotiation process of delivery reliability?

To ensure the in time assembly of a whole machine many negotiations of dates, incentives and further aspects of the orders have to be considered. Without any electronic support of communication, the transaction costs of the negotiation would exceed the value proposition of the product itself. The existing platform for order processes for the machinery and equipment industry myOpenFactory offers a communication basis that enables information exchange and negotiation at low costs. Via the existing quasi-standard myOpenFactory, customers and suppliers are able to transfer all relevant data without using fax, telephone or email. For the inTime utilisation this existing platform has to be extended in several ways.

First of all, for an efficient communication within the network the standard for the message exchange has to be expanded for negotiation of delivery incentives. At the same time different legal order requirements of the European countries have to be taken into account to enable such kind of an exchange. Additionally the companies require a security concept to exchange the messages safely between all network partners. The different requirements of the extended message and information platform have to be analysed and implemented in order to achieve inTime goals.

Fig. 5 shows how the communication of two network participants (one customer and its supplier) will look like. The customers order query will be transferred via the myOpenFactory transaction server to a selected supplier. After receiving it the supplier generates an offer. If the conditions of the offer are acceptable the customer confirms it which automatically sends an official order back. The terms of delivery such as delivery time etc. are directly written into the ERP-system and replace the often former used standard replacement times. Changes during the production phase can also be communicated via the transaction server at every time. 


Fig. 5 – Communication between participants via myOpenFactory