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Explore the Future of Industry 4.0: Unveiling Organizational Change Management Through Process Mining
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Explore the Future of Industry 4.0: Unveiling Organizational Change Management Through Process Mining

Last Updated on November 5, 2023 by Editorial Team

Author(s): Dipta Roy

Originally published on Towards AI.

Introduction:

Digital technologies have become vital for organizations in diverse sectors, driving business improvements, revenue growth, and sustainability. Digitalization enhances organizational performance and output quality by promoting collaboration and optimizing processes. Nonetheless, many organizations struggle to clearly understand their business processes and identify areas for improvement. Process mining software or tools can help discover how businesses behave within an organization and provide a visual representation of the current practices in the form of process graphs based on the data collected from employees’ daily activities to complete business operations. The data helps understand the business processes, and based on that, actionable KPIs can be designed to enhance business performance. In view of the above, the article seeks to provide a comprehensive understanding of how process mining can augment business process management (BPM) in an industry 4.0 environment.

Case study framework: Process mining use cases for BPM within the scope of industry 4.0

The forthcoming case studies illustrate the fusion of process mining and business management principles. They showcase how smart and sustainable organizations, specifically those in Industry 4.0, can leverage data-driven insights from process mining tools to revamp their servitization systems and attain operational excellence.

1. Case Study 1: Understanding current practices in an organization

This case study explores the application of process mining tools to understand organizational practices. It provides valuable perspectives on the potential use of these tools in industrial contexts, despite the absence of data-backed analysis due to regulatory reasons.

1.1. Problem or Challenge

The case study aims to address the challenge of initiating BPM planning and implementation in a smart manufacturing-focused organization, particularly in the context of industry 4.0.

1.2. Analysis

The process graph illustrated in Figure 1 showcases a hypothetical situation where a process mining tool captures human-machine interactions and analyzes asset management processes that employ condition-based monitoring (CBM) software, typical in an industry 4.0 organization. The in-house CBM platform generates alerts for potential equipment flaws, minimizing asset downtime and thus preventing revenue loss in the production line. It is commonly used by technical personnel like equipment maintenance and field service teams. Thus, understanding their work patterns through process mining allows workflow optimization and strategizing change management programs, if needed.

Figure 1
Process discovery graph for industry 4.0-based asset management
Image source: author

The process graph illustrates engineers’ interactions with CBM software and ticket logging systems, showcasing five variations of asset management processes. Variation 1 depicts the ideal scenario where the CBM system raises alarms and assigns tickets automatically to the global head for monitoring. The global head utilizes CBM software insights to reassign tickets to regional supervisors, who prioritize and assign them to field engineers based on alarm severity. The engineers leverage CBM software AI/ML-based recommendations to analyze and resolve the issue on-site, documenting the maintenance details in the tickets before closing them. In Variation 2, when the CBM software and field engineers are unable to diagnose the issue, a domain expert is consulted. The engineers share their analysis with the expert, who provides a solution. Subsequently, the engineers resolve the equipment problem, document maintenance details, and close the tickets. In variation 3, if the equipment is deemed irreparable, the engineer raises an availability request and contacts the procurement department for a replacement. After receiving the new equipment, the engineer replaces the damaged one, logs maintenance details, and closes the tickets. Variation 4 is the same as variation 3, but the only difference is that the replacement equipment is already available in the company’s inventory and spare parts unit. In variation 5, false alarms are addressed by raising the issue with the supervisor and logging a ticket for the platform engineering department to enhance the accuracy of the CBM alerting software.

Overall, the case study illustrates how process mining software can help an organization discover and understand current practices, augmented by a process graph.

1.3. Synopsis

In conclusion, the implementation of a process mining tool in an Industry 4.0 organization can lead to significant improvements in understanding the current practices of the organization, which provides a basis for potential improvements in the processes, and a starting point to initiate process enhancement methodologies, which is discussed in detail in the next section.

2. Case Study 2: Formulating process improvement and re-engineering strategies

There is a common belief that implementing BPM and process mining in an organization could lead to job displacements due to hyper-automation, which creates resistance toward adoption. On the contrary, the objective of this case study is to propose methods and demonstrate how process mining can improve organizational performance, enhance current practices, promote organizational learning, boost the economy, and enhance the quality of life for employees.

2.1. Problem or Challenge

This case study addresses the challenge of identifying the best starting point for process optimization, improvement, and redesign within organizations after utilizing a process mining tool for discovery.

2.2. Analysis

Understanding the organization’s current practices is crucial for initiating a process improvement program. The previous case study demonstrates how process mining reveals these practices organization-wide. By leveraging process mining, parameters for improvement can be established, aligning current processes with desired outcomes, and enabling action on identified areas for enhancement, as discussed in the following section.

2.2.1. Organizational practice improvement with process mining

BPM practitioners can improve their current practices and provide value to the organization, through continuous process improvement enabled by a process mining tool or software. One way to achieve this is by implementing ambidextrous BPM [1], which involves combining exploitative BPM (using existing technology advantages) and explorative BPM (exploring the benefits of new IT). In variation 1, the organization utilizes a ticket generation system triggered by alerts and tracks progress through a dashboard, emphasizing the need for alignment between process and enterprise architecture. Therefore, implementing re-designed processes and cross-checking the re-designed processes using a process mining tool throughout the BPM lifecycle phases, can strengthen its business-IT [2] alignment resulting in faster processing times, better employee experience, and IT agility. Furthermore, aligning business and IT enables the adoption of digitized solutions like RPA for workload minimization. In conclusion, process mining tools can improve and re-engineer organizational practices through BPM.

2.2.2. Organizational learning redesign with process mining

BPM can have a significant impact on organizational learning [3], and process mining tools can facilitate the same. Organizational learning involves enhancing employee skills and knowledge through training programs and cultural influences. For example, in variation 2, field engineers cannot identify the root cause of a machine fault and seek assistance from domain experts, who provide a solution based on their expertise. It enables a seamless transfer of knowledge between the experts and engineers, which is an important aspect in the context of knowledge sharing and organizational learning. The knowledge exchange can aid in identifying opportunities for improvement and re-engineering, which can be detected using process mining software, as shown in variation 2.

2.2.3. Economic outcome re-design with process mining

The third potential scenario where a process mining tool can greatly impact the economics of the entire organization is related to procurement [4]. It is a strategic function aligning with an organization’s sustainability goal and digital technologies. Variation 3 exemplifies the use of inventory management software to raise purchase orders, impacting the organization’s economics, whereas variation 4 highlights the use of process mining software to improve warehouse inventory management by optimizing storage protocols [5], reducing search and release time, and enhancing overall warehouse operations. In summary, a strategic BPM approach incorporating business process improvement (BPI) and business process re-engineering (BPR) methodologies can positively impact smart warehouse maintenance and procurement, benefiting the organization’s economy.

2.2.4. Culture and practitioner performance improvement with process mining

Work culture plays a crucial role in an organization’s success, influencing employee motivation, productivity, and job satisfaction, and process mining tools can help identify the existing culture, analyze work patterns, and enable business process re-engineering for positive change. In variation 5, a false alarm was raised by the alarm management system, indicating no operational issue, according to the field engineers. Consequently, the details were logged in the ticket, and the ticket was closed. However, to foster an open and innovative culture, a potential variation could involve organizing knowledge-sharing sessions among domain experts and AI/ML engineers to improve the alarm management system and encourage collaboration. To sum up, process mining tools can help organizations understand their current culture and make necessary changes to improve it [6].

2.3. Synopsis

In summary, the case study illustrates how process mining tools enhance business outcomes by optimizing processes, improving BPM practices, promoting learning, facilitating knowledge transfer, fostering innovation, and cultivating a positive organizational culture.

Conclusion:

The article, thus emphasizes the role of process mining in enhancing business process management, promoting innovation, and initiating improvement and re-engineering programs. Two case studies showcased the practical applications and implications of process mining for BPI and BPR, highlighting its uniqueness. Overall, process mining is a valuable tool with the potential to shape the future of business and society as technology advances.

References:

  1. Ahmad T, Van Looy A., “Business Process Management and Digital Innovations: A Systematic Literature Review”, Sustainability 12, no.17 (August 2020):6827, https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176827
  2. T. Niet, A. Shivakumar, F. Gardumi, W. Usher, E. Williams, M. Howells, “Developing a community of practice around an open source energy modelling tool”, Energy Strategy Reviews, 35, (May 2021):100650, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esr.2021.100650
  3. Alshammari, Abdulrahman Abdullah, “The impact of human resource management practices, organizational learning, organizational culture and knowledge management capabilities on organizational performance in Saudi organizations: a conceptual framework”, Revista Argentina de Clínica Psicológica 29, no.4, (2020):714–721
  4. Corboș R-A, Bunea O-I, Jiroveanu D-C., “The Effects of Strategic Procurement 4.0 Performance on Organizational Competitiveness in the Circular Economy”, Logistics 7, no.1 (February 2023):13, https://doi.org/10.3390/logistics7010013
  5. Sagit Kedem-Yemini, “Analysis of Cargo Release Services with Process Mining”, International Journal of Industrial Engineering and Operations Management (IJIEOM) 2, no.1 (October 2020):1–13, https://doi.org/10.46254/j.ieom.20200101
  6. Michna A, Kmieciak R., “Open-Mindedness Culture, Knowledge-Sharing, Financial Performance, and Industry 4.0 in SMEs”, Sustainability 12, no.21 (October 2020):9041, https://doi.org/10.3390/su12219041

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