Operations Advisor is a server product which enables your company to apply Best Practices while avoiding Risk Situations during the production process. Best Practices and Risk Situations are known as rules, and are defined by Process Rules Discovery analysts. Intercim has designed a set of web pages implementing the major functions of Operations Advisor.
Operations Advisor enables you to monitor and control your production process using two notions: products and checkpoints.
Products are associated to data retrieved from your corporate AIS Data Sources, while checkpoints correspond to control points in your process and are defined by a set of rules (Best Practices and Risk Situations) and a set of Settings and Input variables.
The main elements that can be retrieved from the Operations Advisor server are the following:
- The list of existing checkpoints and products in progress.
- The list of the Best Practices and Risk Situations.
- The status of each product (OK, unknown, at risk, etc.), which depends on the currently applicable Best Practices and Risk Situations.
- The status of each rule (Best Practice or Risk Situation), which depends on whether its conditions have been met.
The computation of the status can be based on actual data (retrieved from the corporate data sources) and optionally on simulated settings (see Solution Search).
The Operations Advisor solution search algorithm helps you determine settings that comply with a Best Practice, while avoiding any Risk Situations.
Before running the solution search algorithms, you can define preferred setting ranges to match your production constraints (cost, difficulty, etc.). You can also select a target Best Practice: the solution will have to be compliant with this specific Best Practice.
Two algorithms are available:
- Operations Advisor can directly find a solution, i.e. find setting ranges that:
- comply with the constraints defined
- ensure that each setting range has a width of at least two uncertainty values, when applicable (see the Process Rules Discovery online help for more information on uncertainty)
- match at least one Best Practice (or the target Best Practice) and avoid any Risk Situation
Operations Advisor can also determine possible setting ranges, within your constraints. By iteratively refining the preferred setting ranges within the possible ranges, you will ultimately come to a solution. The constraints, the possible setting ranges and the solution ranges can be either intervals (for numeric or date/time variables) or lists of values (for string or boolean variables).
The Find a solution function is based on different strategies corresponding to different operational needs. Operations Advisor selects the solution that optimizes the user strategy from a set of candidate solutions. The strategies have different objectives:
- Minimize risk: the solution must minimize the risk value.
- Minimize setting distance: the solution must stay as close as possible to the current settings.
- Minimize setting changes: the solution must change as few settings as possible.
- Maximize score: the score of the solution must be maximized. The score defines the quality of the solution from a customer perspective. It can be defined using the public APIs of the Simulation module.
For each objective, the strategy defines the importance of the objective and specific options.
You can modify the default strategy in the configuration page of DELMIA Operations Intelligence Server Products.
It may happen that Operations Advisor cannot find a solution, i.e. a set of setting ranges that match at least one Best Practice while avoiding Risk Situations. In this case, Operations Advisor may propose a debased solution:
- If you have selected a target Best Practice, Operations Advisor will try to find a solution that complies with another Best Practice.
- If Operations Advisor still cannot find a solution, it will try to find setting ranges that reduce the risk. The following points should be noted:
- Operations Advisor tries to reduce the risk induced by the current settings, as computed in the Dashboard page. It does not consider the risk value displayed in the Solution Search page, which computes an average risk given the current constraints.
- Operations Advisor will propose a debased solution only if the reduction of the risk is equal or above a given threshold (for instance 5%). This threshold is defined in the configuration page of Operations Intelligence Server Products.
- Debased solutions do not take the uncertainty of variables into account. Setting ranges may have a width of less than twice the uncertainty value.
Debased solutions can be activated or deactivated in the configuration page. By default, Operations Advisor can propose debased solutions to supervisors, but not to operators.
Operations Advisor relies on the database of DELMIA Operations Server Products to retrieve the checkpoints, the rules published from Process Rules Discovery and the corresponding input and setting variables.
In Process Rules Discovery, the user creates a context defining which variables are settings or inputs for the selected checkpoint. The rules whose conclusion corresponds to a class identified as a Best Practice class in the study properties will be considered as Best Practices in Operations Advisor. Those whose conclusion corresponds to a class identified as a Risk Situation class in the study properties will be considered as Risk Situations.
The specification limits for each variable are also published. The constraints, possible setting ranges and solution ranges are always included in these limits, which provide a way of complying with industry regulations and/or internal corporate directives. The uncertainty variable property, when defined in Process Rules Discovery, is taken into account in the Operations Advisor risk calculations and searches for solutions.
Operations Advisor uses an AIS Data Source to integrate corporate data, so that it can be presented to end-users and used to determine applicable Best Practices and Risk Situations.
Data can be refreshed from the corporate data sources (MES, LIMS, Product Records, etc.) on demand or automatically using the APIs of AIS Integration Kit.
A clear distinction is made between inputs and settings, as defined in the Process Rules Discovery context selected during the publication.
Comparison with Best Practices - Product status evaluation
The user can identify the product status at a glance and drill on the rules and rule conditions that explain it. Each product has a status which depends on the currently applicable Best Practices (rules with a "Good" conclusion) and Risk Situations (rules with a "Bad" conclusion):
- OK - The product is compliant with at least one Best Practice and there is no actual or potential Risk Situation.
- OK, but risk situation still possible - The product is compliant with at least one Best Practice but there are still potential Risk Situations.
- At risk - The product is compliant with at least one Risk Situation or there is no applicable Best Practice however appropriate settings could change this situation.
- At risk due to input data - The product is compliant with at least one Risk Situation or there is no applicable Best Practice and no settings could change this situation because it is due to input data.
- Unknown - Additional product data is needed to compute the status.
Operations Advisor associates a message to each status and suggests a course of action if needed. The product status can be computed in 3 different modes:
- Dashboard Mode - Product status is based on current input data and settings.
- Constraints Mode - Product status is based on current input data and setting constraints.
- Solution Mode - Product status is based on current input data and settings of the solution proposed by Operations Advisor.
Additionally, each rule (Best Practice or Risk Situation) has a status which depends on whether its rule conditions are met. Each rule condition has a status which depends on whether the condition is met, not met or unknown. An icon is associated to each status for easier understanding and identification.
Operations Advisor estimates the average risk of obtaining undesired results for the current product. This risk is based on a data domain and a set of rules:
Data domain: similar to the product status computation, the risk in the data domain considered can be based on dashboard data, constraints data or solution data (see table above).
Rules: the rules considered are those having an intersection with the data domain. Best Practices with unknown input data are not considered while Risk Situations with unknown settings are kept (worst-case scenario).
The risk is computed from the average volume and adjusted purity of the rules that have an intersection with the data domain. The risk increases and decreases gradually if uncertainty values have been defined for the variables.
The audit trail enables companies to track the usage of Operations Advisor. It is especially useful for companies having legal obligations regarding their production processes.
- The audit trail is comprised of records. Each record contains the following:
- Automatically filled in information: date and time, user login, session ID, DELMIA Operations Intelligence product and version
- Information related to the operation audited: operation name, operation description.
- In the default Operations Advisor user interface, the audit applies to the page showing the proposed setting ranges (as found by the solution finding function).
- Integrators can audit any other page of Operations Advisor, using the APIs provided.
Default User Interface
Two sets of web pages are provided, corresponding to Supervisor and Operator profiles. Supervisors have full access to all Operations Advisor features.
- Operators view a simple dashboard showing the product status and can ask Operations Advisor for a solution.
Complete dashboard (left, supervisor profile only)
The complete dashboard contains:
- The current product status with a line of advice.
- The current risk value based on product data and matching rules.
- Input data and current settings. An alert is shown when data is out of the
- Recommended range of values as specified in Process Rules Discovery.
- Best Practices and Risk Situations with their current status. The user can click on any rule to view its definition and the status of its conditions.
Simplified dashboard (operator profile only)
The simplified dashboard contains the current product status with input data and settings.
Solution Search page (supervisor profile only)
From this page, the user can enter preferred setting ranges for ordered and unordered variables and define a target rule.
Operations Advisor automatically updates the possible ranges within the preferred range of each setting. The product status and the risk value are updated accordingly.
The current settings can be used as preferred setting ranges for a single variable or all variables.
Proposed Solution page
The solution page displays the proposed setting ranges for each setting variable, along with an updated product status and risk.
The user can then navigate to a page showing a summary of the actions to be taken based on this solution: settings to be set, to be changed or left unchanged.
The Simulation Module enables you to simulate the application of rules on:
- past products to validate the pertinence of the rule set.
- future products to prepare for a new production campaign.
Web pages help you perform the simulation process by creating, running and saving a simulation.
A simulation is a set of tasks and each task is a pair product-checkpoint. Several tasks can be linked, for example to simulate the evolution of a product through the successive checkpoints. For each task, a solution is searched and the user can compare the status and the risk of the product before and after this search.
An indicator named score measures the quality brought by the solution search from a business point of view. One type of measurement could be the financial gain brought by the decrease of the risk of a bad production.
The solution search can be customized to choose the solution with the best score.