Transforming your supply chain with IBM Supply Chain Process Modeler, Part 1: Overview

The IBM® Supply Chain Process Modeler (SCPM) is a consulting and decision supporting solution that incorporates industry standards, best practices, and advanced analytics and optimization technologies in an integrated workbench to support the process-centric supply chain transformation. In Part 1 of this series, you'll install SCPM and get an overview of the benefits and features of SCPM using a sample project.

Share:

Changrui Ren (rencr@cn.ibm.com), Manager, Supply Chain Optimization, IBM

Changrui Ren photoChangrui Ren is the manager of Supply Chain Optimization team at IBM Research in Beijing, China. He joined IBM in 2005 after receiving his Ph.D. in Control Science and Engineering from Tsinghua University in Beijing, P.R. China. He has led multiple research projects on business process management, performance management, and supply chain management.



Bing Shao (shaobing@cn.ibm.com), Staff Researcher, IBM

Bing Shao photoBing Shao is a Staff Researcher at IBM Research in Beijing, China. He joined IBM in 2006 and has been driving activities to integrate industry process standard models with end-to-end supply chain transformation. He holds a Master's degree in Computer Science from Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, P.R. China.



Jin Dong (dongjin@cn.ibm.com), Leader, IBM China Analytics Center , IBM

Jin Dong photoJin Dong is the Cluster Executive of Industry Solutions at IBM Research in China. He is also the Leader of the IBM China Analytics Center. He received his Ph.D. from Tsinghua University P.R. China in 2001. Before joining IBM, he was the Research Assistant Professor in the Industrial Engineering Department of Arizona State University in the US.



Miao He (hmhem@cn.ibm.com), Researcher, IBM

Miao He photoMiao He is a Researcher at IBM Research in Beijing, China. She joined IBM in 2009 after receiving her M.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Tsinghua University in Beijing, P.R. China. Her research interests include supply chain management, business process management, clinical decision making and stochastic dynamic programming.



07 September 2011

Also available in Chinese Russian

Introduction

This article is the first in a four-part series introducing IBM Supply Chain Process Modeler (SCPM), a tool that supports process-centric modeling and analysis. SCPM is an extension to WebSphere Business Modeler (Business Modeler) that enhances Business Modeler by providing and supporting Process Reference Models, such as the Supply-Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) model and American Productivity and Quality Center Process Classification Framework (APQC PCF). SCPM also provides advanced analytical functions, such as dynamic performance analysis and flexible simulation. It can be used in almost any process transformation engagement, such as supply chain diagnostics and supply chain process design.

Following is an overview of this article series:

  • Part 1 provides an overview of the SCPM tool, as well as its advantages and positioning.
  • Part 2 describes how to use process reference models in supply chain transformation.
  • Part 3 introduces the important functions and key operations of SCPM.
  • Part 4 provides a brief introduction to advanced SCPM functions.

WebSphere Business Modeler overview

Because SCPM is an Business Modeler extension, this section provides a brief introduction to Business Modeler.

Business Modeler is an IBM software product for business process modeling and analysis. It is designed to be easy to use by business analysts and process consultants for process modeling and analysis. Business Modeler offers user-friendly graphical capabilities for rapidly creating process models. Its key value lies in the advanced simulation capability.

Business analysts and process consultants can add appropriate details for resources, roles, information (data), costs, duration, and so on to activities in the model, which allows subsequent simulation and analysis to identify process improvement opportunities. It is typically recommended that "as-is" and "to-be" process models be decomposed to the task level for process analyses.

Models can be shared in a centralized repository available to core team members, and, if needed, published to a wider audience across the enterprise using the WebSphere Business Modeler Publishing Server edition.

If process implementation is likely to occur in later phases of the transformation engagement, Business Modeler can deliver portions of the model in formats suitable for use by IT professionals to reduce development and implementation efforts in WebSphere Integration Developer. In addition, process activities and tasks flows can be ported to WebSphere Business Monitor to enable monitoring of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). We will not discuss WebSphere Business Monitor Publishing Server, WebSphere Integration Developer,and WebSphere Business Monitor in this article, but they are important tools to leverage transformation and business process management (BPM) engagements.


SCPM overview

SCPM enhances business process models in Business Modeler by adding best practices, KPI definitions and benchmarks. More than just a simple add-on to Business Modeler, SCPM is itself a user-friendly process modeler.

The major objective of SCPM is to enhance Business Modeler by providing:

  • A modeling wizard to support hierarchical supply chain modeling.
  • A mechanism to better support the SCOR model and APQC-based leading practices.
  • Additional analytics support
  • An enhanced process simulation engine using Java as a script language to add modeling flexibility.

SCPM has been designed to provide tailored support for typical consulting scenarios, such as supply chain diagnotics, supply chain process design, and so on.

SCPM plugs in process templates, such as APQC leading practice process models and SCOR process models, along with other analytical technologies such as system dynamics and scripts-based process simulation to the platform.

SCPM is a consulting and decision support tool, which incorporates industry standards, best practices, and analytics and optimization (A&O) technologies to support process-centric supply chain transformation. Figure 1 illustrates how SCPM supports the process-centric supply chain transformation. SCPM provides support to map, model, and transform business processes from business design to IT implementation. Process elements and data are gathered and put into SCPM to create process flows. These process flows are then modeled, creating multiple business scenarios. Based on client-specific criteria, processes are transformed.

Figure 1. The process-centric supply chain transformation
The process-centric supply chain transformation

SCPM supports modeling and analysis at three different decision levels: strategic, tactical and operational. For example, the supply chain diagnosis is a strategic and tactical analysis, while the process design and analysis are operational concepts. We will focus on basic SCPM functionalities in this article, and cover reference models for supply chain diagnosis and process design in Parts 2 and 3. Part 4 will provide a brief introduction to advanced functions.

At the strategic and tactical levels, SCPM provides several advanced analytics to diagnose the supply chain, as shown in Figure 2. SCPM's ability to create work products, such as scorecards and diagrams, allows a practitioner to quickly generate documentation to support recommendations or conclusions. Dynamic performance analysis provides the ability to take an in-depth look at a process through advanced mathematics, or simply align with industry leading practices to identify gaps and improvement opportunities. Finally, the SCOR model and APQC PCF provide ways to organize supply chain functions and review corresponding leading practices.

Figure 2. Strategic and tactical level support
Strategic and tactical level support

SCPM helps users model and analyze supply chain processes at the operational level by providing three features, illustrated in Figure 2:

  • A business process repository containing industry standard reference models and best practices
  • An easy-to-use modeling environment to provide a wizard and documentation support
  • An enhanced process simulation to model and simulate complicated logic.

Process Reference Models supported by SCPM can be classified into two categories: SCOR and APQC PCF. A good business process comprises rational process flows and appropriate decision rules for the process. For example, a business process repository can be used to create a process flow, but a full process simulation includes design of decision rules.

Figure 3. Operational level support
Operational level support

Although SCPM was initially developed to target supply chain transformation, it turns out that it also supports cross-industry solutions quite well, especially in modeling and analyzing process flows.


Installing SCPM

Before installing SCPM, ensure that you meet both the hardware and software prerequisites. Since SCPM is built on Business Modeler, you must first install the WebSphere Business Modeler V7. In order to do this, your computer should have at least 1GB of memory, but 2GB or more is recommended for better performance.

In order to complete the steps in this article series, please prepare the following components:

  • IBM Installation Manager
  • WebSphere Business Modeler Advanced Version 7
  • SCPM V7.0.0 installation package (provided for download with this article)
  • The sample modeling project ABCProject.scm (provided for download with this article)

Before you begin SCPM installation, make sure Business Modeler V7 and IBM Installation Manager are installed correctly.

To install SCPM V7, do the following:

  1. Start IBM Installation Manager.
  2. Select File => Preferences, then select Repositories. The Repositories page opens.
    Figure 4. Repositories page
    Repositories page
  3. Click Add Repository, and use the Browse button to find the SCPM installation package, then click OK to add the SCPM installation package as a repository.
  4. Make sure the newly added repository is the only selected item in your repositories list, and click OK to save the configuration and close the Preferences dialog.
    Figure 5. Add the SCPM installation package as a repository
    Add the SCPM installation package as a repository
  5. Click Install from the Start page of IBM Installation Manager.
  6. The Install page of Installation Manager lists all of the packages that are found in the repositories that Installation Manager searched. Select the package Supply Chain Process Modeler Version 7.0.0, then click Next.
    Figure 6. Select the Supply Chain Process Modeler Version 7.0.0 package
    Select the Supply Chain Process Modeler Version 7.0.0 package
  7. On the Location page, select IBM WebSphere Business Modeler v7.0.0 as the package group, and click Next.
  8. On the Features page, select Supply Chain Process Modeler, and click Next.
  9. On the Summary page, review your choices before installing the packages. When you are satisfied with your installation choices, click Install to install SCPM.
  10. When the installation process is complete, a message confirms the success of the process.
    Figure 7. Installation completed
    Installation completed

After SCPM is successfully installed on your machine, you will find a program group named IBM Supply Chain Process Modeler in your Windows® Start menu. From the Start menu, click IBM Supply Chain Process Modeler => Supply Chain Process Modeler 7.0.0 to launch SCPM.

Figure 8. IBM SCPM in Windows Start menu
SCPM in Windows Start menu

To uninstall SCPM, do the following,

  1. Start IBM Installation Manager.
  2. On the Start page, click Uninstall.
  3. Select Supply Chain Process Modeler 7.0.0 in the Installation Packages list, and click Next.
    Figure 9. Uninstall SCPM
    Uninstall SCPM
  4. On the Summary page, click Uninstall to remove SCPM from your computer. A progress indicator shows the percentage of the uninstallation completed. When the uninstallation process is complete, you will see a confirmation notification.

SCPM architecture and landscape

This section provides an overview of the SCPM architecture and landscape, including the screen layout and the main building blocks.

The SCPM functions get integrated into some Business Modeler editors, views, menus, and so on. When you switch to the Supply Chain Process Modeler mode, the SCPM Navigator, Process Properties, and Performance Analyzer views become available. To switch to the Supply Chain Process Modeler mode, select Supply Chain Process Modeler in the mode list from Business Modeler toolbar, as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10. Supply Chain Process Modeler mode
Supply Chain Process Modeler mode

Figure 11 shows the resulting views in Business Modeler after switching to the Supply Chain Process Modeler mode. The red highlighted pane on the left is the SCPM Navigator view. The highlighted button on the top left shows the SCPM mode and the highlighted tabs on the bottom right represent two of the major SCPM views, Process Properties view and Performance Analyzer.

Figure 11. SCPM views
SCPM views

The SCPM Navigator, shown in Figure 12, is the control center for all SCPM projects. Most of the SCPM functions and data can be accessed through the navigator. The SCPM Navigator is a counterpart of the Project Tree view in Business Modeler. There are three catalogs in an SCPM project: Welcome, Supply Chain Model, and Supporting Tools. The Welcome page provides shortcuts to navigate the models within a project. The Supply Chain Model catalog contains the Supply Chain network model, including the Geographic Diagram and Thread Diagram. The Supporting Tools catalog contains additional analytical function modules, including Cause-and-effect Analysis, Scorecard, and the Performance Analyzer.

Figure 12. SCPM Navigator
SCPM Navigator

In total, five views are provided by SCPM, including:

  • SCPM Navigator: The control center for all SCPM projects
  • Process Properties: Displays additional SCPM process information
  • Performance Analyzer: Controls the Dynamic Performance Analysis functions
  • Expression: Used for scripts-based simulation modeling
  • Monitor: Used for scripts-based simulation control and monitoring

You can always see the entire list of views in SCPM by selecting Show View option under Windows in Business Modeler.

Figure 13. SCPM views
SCPM views

Overview of the sample project

The SCPM sample project should help you understand some of the core SCPM concepts and the basic level mechanics. It is created based on the SCOR model version 9.0.

To get started with the sample project, do the following:

  1. Download and unzip the SCPM sample project ABCProject.scm, available in the Downloads section.
  2. Import the sample project into your workspace by completing the following steps:
    1. In the SCPM workbench window, select File => Import => Supply Chain Process Modeler => Supply Chain Process Modeler Import. The Import wizard appears.
    2. Select Supply Chain Process Modeler project (.scm) and click Next.
    3. Click Browse, then find and select the ABCProject.scm file you downloaded.
    4. Click Finish to complete the import.
  3. Go to the SCPM Navigator view, as shown in Figure 14. As you can see, the ABC Project has an AS-IS scenario, which includes a Geographic Diagram and a Thread Diagram. The ABC Project also provides examples of three types of supporting tools.
    Figure 14. ABC Project
    ABC Project
  4. Double-click the Welcome node of ABC Project in the SCPM Navigator view. A welcome page for the project displays, containing six phases.
    • Phase 0: Build Organizational Support
    • Phase I: Discover the Opportunity
    • Phase II: Analyze Basis for Competition
      • Corporate Card: an example of Scorecard.
      • Revenue Growth Strategy (Link): an example of the link model of Performance Analyzer.
      • Supply Chain Costs: an example of the quantitative model of Performance Analyzer.
    • Phase III: Design Material Flow
      • Geographic Diagram: an implementation of Geographic Diagram.
      • Thread Diagram: an implementation of Thread Diagram.
      • Poor Planning Fishbone Chart: an implementation of Fishbone Diagram.
    • Phase IV: Design Work and Information Flow
      • Process Simulation (Inventory Control): a sample process used to demonstrate SCPM process simulation.
      • Customized SCOR Process (D1 Deliver Stocked Product): a process derived from D1 Deliver Stocked Product in the SCOR model.
    • Phase V: Implement Supply Chain Changes
  5. Click Open to navigate to the corresponding node or file.
    Figure 15. Welcome page of ABC project
    Welcome page of ABC project

Summary

After reading this article, you should have a high-level understanding of the design, key functions and the positioning of SCPM. You installed SCPM and explored the sample project. In Part 2, you'll learn how to use Process Reference Models in supply chain transformation.


Downloads

DescriptionNameSize
Sample ABC ProjectABC_Project.zip1.3MB
SCPM offeringSCPM_Package_Offering_v7.0.0_20110907.zip16.8MB

Resources

Comments

developerWorks: Sign in

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).


Need an IBM ID?
Forgot your IBM ID?


Forgot your password?
Change your password

By clicking Submit, you agree to the developerWorks terms of use.

 


The first time you sign into developerWorks, a profile is created for you. Information in your profile (your name, country/region, and company name) is displayed to the public and will accompany any content you post, unless you opt to hide your company name. You may update your IBM account at any time.

All information submitted is secure.

Choose your display name



The first time you sign in to developerWorks, a profile is created for you, so you need to choose a display name. Your display name accompanies the content you post on developerWorks.

Please choose a display name between 3-31 characters. Your display name must be unique in the developerWorks community and should not be your email address for privacy reasons.

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

(Must be between 3 – 31 characters.)

By clicking Submit, you agree to the developerWorks terms of use.

 


All information submitted is secure.

Dig deeper into Business process management on developerWorks


static.content.url=http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/js/artrating/
SITE_ID=1
Zone=Business process management, WebSphere
ArticleID=756300
ArticleTitle=Transforming your supply chain with IBM Supply Chain Process Modeler, Part 1: Overview
publish-date=09072011