Periodic Reporting for period 2 - eMRB (CodeIT Electronic Manufacturing Record Book)
Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2019-11-30
The EU manufacturing industry is under pressure due to increased competition from both low labour cost economies (Asia-Pacific region & Indian sub-continent) and high-technology economies such as USA and Japan. Simultaneously, the industry is increasingly required to fully document and provide traceability of the products it produces in order to demonstrate compliance with national and international procedures and regulations, customer specifica-tions and provide supply chain transparency. For manufacturers of high-value, low-volume equipment and components such as the Offshore and Maritime sectors all stages in the value-chain must be documented. All relevant documents must be col-lected, checked to ensure all the required information is included and accurate, validated and then collated to produce a sin-gle comprehensive document for each product, the Manufacturing Record Book (MRB) procedures – current MRB solutions are created manually using paper documents, placing a huge technological and economic pressure on the EU manufac-turing industry. I.e. the requirement for documentation is annually causing added costs of NOK 50bn for operators on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. On the higher societal EU and global level, there is an increased focus and requirement for companies to ensure full supply chain transparency to address critical issues on policies, risks and outcomes as regards environmental matters, social and employee-related aspects, respect for human rights, anti-corruption and bribery issues, and diversity on boards of directors.
• Extending the technical capabilities of the current pre-release version of eMRB in response to potential end user feedback. In additional to the end user requested features, we will implement a help system for users of the eMRB incorporated into the software inter-face. We will also establish an End User Support Service (Help Desk) and an eMRB Management and Monitoring System. These support services will be tested in WP6 as part of the demonstration activities.
• Establishing the technical and organisational requirements for the end user piloting of eMRB to be performed under real world manufacturing conditions in WP3. To achieve this, six key activities will be performed through a series of workshops at the facilities of our piloting users:
• Starting the first activities related to the communication and dissemination of the project results by providing targeted information to all interested stakeholders and the general public. The key outputs will be the project plan for communication, dissemination, and exploitation of results (PCDER) and the eMRB project website. The individual tasks in this WP will ensure the successful dissemination of the project results and the benefits of the developed technology and knowledge to the relevant industrial sectors (with SMEs as specific target), general public and key stakeholders.
• Implementing the innovation management process, ensuring financial management, implementing IP monitoring and protection to deliver our final and Business Innovation Plan (BIP) and associated Commercialisation Plan (CP) ready for post-project execution, and finally ensuring technical progress and risk management.
Key features are:
- Automation: eMRB will automatically produce electronic MRBs conforming to a user specified structure and file format containing all the relevant manufacturing, testing, logistics and supply chain data for a product uploaded into the central database.
- MRB quality and validation: eMRB results in an increase in the quality of the generated MRB by automating the extraction and import of as much data as possible from the individual documents into a single database, avoiding data entry errors and providing automated consistency checks and validation.
- Flexibility: eMRB can be used to create other user specified documents (i.e. test summaries, process summaries or even MRBs for sub-systems of larger products).
- Delegation and workflow streamlining: the eMRB software architecture implements ‘user accounts’ that allows the end user organisation to specify which of its personnel and authorised supply chain partners can upload documents.
- Complete Life Cycle MRBs: eMRB allows revised MRBs to be quickly generated once the appropriate new documentation (revised blueprints, test reports etc.) has been uploaded.
- Ease of use and configuration: the eMRB software solution is accessed via a web browser.
- Standardised and custom MRB structures: eMRB can transform such documents to a common generic template configured to the end users preferred layout/structure and allows them to specify the layout of the MRB (to that required by the customer).
- Integration with other systems: eMRB can be configured to operate with end users’ existing IT systems/ ‘back end systems’ such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems enabling the automated import of documents from them.
- Security and reliability: eMRB is provided as Software as a Service (SaaS). It can be hosted on an organisation’s own IT system or on CodeIT’s private cloud system.
eMRB is unique in its ability to enable industrial manufacturers to automate the production of electronic MRBs specifically tailored to the requirements of their customers and compliant with all relevant national and inter-national legislation and regulations. The economic benefits for each potential user of eMRB will be dependent on their specif-ic size, type and volume of product(s) they produce. It will reduce the resources needed to create and manage MRBs and reduce the number of errors, significantly reducing the need for paper-based archive store, makes documentation a fully-fledged part of the product and prevent delaying of delivery or billing. As indicator of the economic benefits, as part of our Feasibility Study, one potential end user, Bestra AS (a supplier of equipment to the offshore and marine sectors), eMRB has resulted in cost savings of 60%, freeing up highly educated specialist personnel to work on more demanding, non-administration activities. It also significantly reduces ‘industrial tourism’ – the need for technical staff to be onsite to control, document and evaluate production. Hence there will be savings to both the end user and customer in terms of reduced travel-ling and personnel time costs.