A review of information flow diagrammatic models for product–service systems

C. Durugbo, A. Tiwari, J. R. Alcock
2010 The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology  
A product-service system (PSS) is a combination of products and services to create value for both customers and manufacturers. Modelling a PSS based on function orientation offers a useful way to distinguish system inputs and outputs with regards to how data are consumed and information is used, i.e. information flow. This article presents a review of diagrammatic information flow tools, which are designed to describe a system through its functions. The origin, concept and applications of these
more » ... tools are investigated, followed by an analysis of information flow modelling with regards to key PSS properties. A case study of selection laser melting technology implemented as PSS will then be used to show the application of information flow modelling for PSS design. A discussion based on the usefulness of the tools in modelling the key elements of PSS and possible future research directions are also presented. identify functions without the involvement of data used. Function input and output distinguishes system inputs and outputs with regards to how data are consumed and information is used. This article is concerned with the third category-function input and output, especially information flows in systems. Information flow is used here and throughout this article, as an approach to illustrating the architecture of a system or organisation describing inputs and outputs. This architecture influences the system's efficiency, adaptability and the reusability of components [13] . According to van Gigch [14], 'a system is an assembly or set of related elements'. A PSS therefore includes products and services as well as other related elements such as information and communication technologies [2] and infrastructure [15] that aid delivery processes of a PSS. Consequently, modelling information flow for a PSS is an important measure for assessing the level of redundancy and inefficiency in PSS delivery processes [6] . This is because an information flow model can be used to assess possible actors, roles and scenarios for the delivery of integrated products and services [16] . Recommendations based on these assessments can then be applied for improving quality, efficiency and financial performance of a PSS in accordance with ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 [6]. In addition, ISO TR 9007 maintains that models of information can provide a common basis for different working groups to represent, understand and manipulate the behaviour a set of entities [17] . Within the context of a PSS, an information flow model can therefore be used as a common basis for PSS designers and operators to describe PSS processes. The aim of this article is to review existing, diagrammatic, function-oriented information flow modelling tools. The paper seeks to contribute to knowledge by analysing these modelling tools in terms of their usefulness as modelling tools for PSS design. A case study of selective laser melting technology implemented as a PSS will also be applied to demonstrate the use of information flow modelling for PSS. The paper concludes by discussing possible use of the reviewed modelling tools for PSS design and by making recommendation for future research. Diagrammatic information flow tools Hungerford et al. [18] have asserted that diagrams or diagrammatic reasoning are better suited to solving problems created by increasing complexity in systems when compared with text-based (sentential) representations. They highlight three main reasons for this assertion. Firstly, diagrams promote information clusters (grouping of information), thus eliminating the need to conduct large amounts of searches associated with problem-solving inferences. Secondly, diagrams promote information clusters based on a single element, hence eliminating the need to match symbolic labels. Thirdly, diagrams offer facilities that support a wide range of perceptual inferences, which are simple and easy to use. Becker et al. [5] have suggested that standard models (as-is models) should be identified and serve as a starting point for models of planned systems (to-be-models). This paper presents, as a
doi:10.1007/s00170-010-2765-5 fatcat:4z5ks6bkw5gt5ioskune2o2ise