Supply Chain Engineering


Our approach to Supply Chain problems is based on the method of controllability engineering. Controllability Engineering is a business process re-engineering method developed at the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management of Helsinki University of Technology, where Professor Eero Eloranta and Juha Räisänen initially did the seminal work in 1986.
 
The fundamentals of controllability engineering are simple: before changing and/or implementing a new control system, it is vital to study and develop the existing production system. Controllability of a production system is defined by its capability to achieve the objectives set for it. Therefore, production systems itself defines its limits for performance. The only way to change these limits is by altering the system itself, not by speeding the phase of work or through better management, unless better management means changes in the system. Controllability engineering drills down to the general ideas of efficient operations management:
 
-          Relentless and continuous reduction of production lead times (time-based competition)
-          Comparison between factories and processes, ie., learning from others (benchmarking)
-          Improving interactions with suppliers (supply chain, networking)
-          Efficient implementation of the planned changes (change management)
 
To summarize, "Controllability Engineering” aims to improve the overall efficiency of the production system. During the past years and to indicate the change of times, this approach has also been called as "Supply Chain Audit" and "Demand/Supply Network Assessment".
 
  Principles of the controllability engineering method
 
 Controllability engineering is carried out in a project. This project has the following principles of good project management:
 
Clear sequencing of the project
Mapping of the production system to be analyzed kicks off the project. This is followed by data collection phase, which leads to the analysis step. These steps provide the understanding of the situation, which is followed by the synthesis phase, during which the ideal production model and objectives are devised. This synthesis leads to the crystallization of the situation. Finally, becomes the communication of the ideal model leading to a consensus model, which takes into account the constraints of the system and actual implementation possibilities. Thus, the final step leads to the realization and practical implementation of the chosen principles.
Structured process of analysis
Applying the “zoom and focus” principle, which aims to build an overview of the situation and then to pinpoint the critical parts of the production system. This approach ensures that work is concentrated on issues with highest improvement potential. 
Quantitative observation
 
An adequate amount of interviews will be performed during the mapping phase, yet the main focus is on retrieving real operational data to study the true performance of the production system. This means that controllability engineering is based on real operational data, and not on gut-feelings.
Graphical presentation
All the key phenomena and problems related to performance are visualized through various graphs and illustrations. In practice this means that controllability engineering has a significant educational role in the organization, as fact-based analysis reveals the true dynamics and efficiency of the production system.
Project scope may change while the work progresses
Controllability project may, as it progresses, alter its focus as new information is collected and analyzed. Flexibility is needed in order to reach the best possible outcome of the project.
 
 
Along common sense, being relentless and curious has proven to be the right way to penetrate to the root causes and problems that hinder operational performance of the company and a supply chain. As Ronald Coase, a Nobel laureat in economics, has elegantly put it: “If you torture the data long enough, Nature will confess.”