Analysis and Optimization of Mobile Business Processes

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1 Analysis and Optimization o Mobile Business Processes Dissertation zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades eines Doktors der Naturwissenschaten (Dr. rer. nat.) durch die Fakultät ür Wirtschatswissenschaten Institut ür Inormatik und Wirtschatsinormatik Universität Duisburg-Essen Campus Essen vorgelegt von Dipl.-In. Thomas Richter geboren in Leipzig Essen (2012)

2 ii Tag der mündlichen Prüung: 4. Juni 2012 Erstgutachter: Pro. Dr. Volker Gruhn Zweitgutachter: Pro. Dr. Stean Eicker

3 Contents Acknowledgements Abstract Abbreviations vii ix xi 1 Introduction Business Processes and Mobility Business Processes Mobile Business Processes Worklow Management o Mobile Business Processes Perorming Business Change Identiied Problem and Contribution o this Work Modeling and Simulation o Mobile Business Processes Workorce Scheduling Solution Overview Domain Model o Mobility Utility Industry Process Examples Asset Inspection Switched Power Line Processes Damage Search and Repair iii

4 iv CONTENTS 2.2 Abstract Model o Mobile Processes Assignment o Mobile Work Perormance o Mobile Work Entities o Mobile Work State Models o Entities Mobile Workers Mobile Tasks Mobile Cases Optimization Objectives Worker Related Costs Travel Related Costs Case Related Costs Optimization Parameters o Mobile Environments Chapter Summary Simulation o Mobility Introduction to Dynamic Analysis and Simulation Problems Addressed General Execution o Simulations Colored Petri Net Domain Model o Mobility Entities o Mobile Work Model Overview Loading and Initializing Simulation Data Generating Cases and Tasks Scheduling the Workorce State Model o Mobile Workers Postprocessing the Simulation Results

5 CONTENTS v 3.3 Composition o Business Processes Process Modeling Interace Control Structures Process Initialization Process Finalization Section Summary Reducing the Modeling Eort Modeling Language Requirements Simple Mobile Process Language Overview SMPL Elements and Semantics Transormations o SMPL Models to the CPN Domain Model Chapter Summary Mobile Workorce Scheduling Introduction Scheduling Paradigms Planned Workorce Scheduling Dynamic Workorce Scheduling Related Scheduling Problems The Vehicle Routing Problem The VRP with Time Windows The Resource-Constrained Project Scheduling Problem The RCPSP with Preemption The RCPSP with Multi-Projects The MWSP-MP Introduction Formulation o the MWSP-MP

6 vi CONTENTS 4.5 Solution Methods o Scheduling Problems Assignment Methods Construction Methods Improvement Methods Meta-heuristics Solution Methods or the MWSP-MP Feasibility Criteria or Schedules and Solutions Neighborhood Operator INSERT Neighborhood Operator REMOVE Creating Start Solutions Chapter Summary Validation Subject o Study ENSO A German Gas and Power Supply Processes and Cases Workorce Scheduling Methods Simulation o Scenarios Method Scenarios Simulation Results and Discussions Section Summary Tool Support Manipulating Simulation Data Modeling Business Processes Chapter Summary Conclusion Scientiic Contributions Future Research Symbols 171 Bibliography 175

7 Acknowledgements Iwouldliketothankallwhosupportedmeduringthecompletion o the thesis. This thesis would not have been possible without the valuable eedback rom my irst supervisor, Pro. Dr. Volker Gruhn, and the reedom he gave me to pursue my interests. I would also like to thank Pro. Dr.Stean Eicker or agreeing to be my second supervisor. I m really grateul or all the helpul comments and hints I received rom my colleagues at the institute. Especially I would like to thank Asvin Goel or his valuable input during our discussions about the ormulation o the MWSP-MP. I would also like to thank Carolin Ulbricht who developed a preliminary version o the scheduling sotware in her master s thesis (see Section 5.2), Alex Klebeck who developed the communication interace o the scheduler in his master s thesis (see Section 3.2.5), and Steen Schulz as well as Sebastian Neudert who developed the simulation control tool during their master s theses (see Section 5.4). I would urther like to thank Katharina König or prooreading this thesis. My special thanks go to Sven Böttcher and Dr. Steen Heine o ENSO who provided the validation data and were never tired answering my questions. Last but not least I would like to thank my beloved wie Gwendolyn who oten cut back her own interests to let me complete this thesis. vii

8 viii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

9 Abstract Mobility o workers and business processes rapidly gains the attentiono businesses and business analysts. A wide variety o deinitions exists or mobile business processes. This work considers a type o business processes concerned with the maintenance o distributed technical equipment as, e.g., telecommunication networks, utility networks, or proessional oice gear. Executing the processes in question, workers travel to the location where the equipment is situated and perorm tasks there. Depending on the type o activities to be perormed, the workers need certain qualiications to ulill their duty. Especially in network maintenance processes, activities are oten not isolated but depend on the parallel or subsequent execution o other activities at other locations. Like every other economic activity, the outlined mobile processes are under permanent pressure to be executed more eiciently. Since business process reengineering (BPR) projects are the common way to achieve process improvements, business analysts need methods to model and evaluate mobile business processes. Mobile processes challenge BPR projects in two ways: (i) the process attributes introduced by mobility (traveling, remote synchronization, etc.) complicate process modeling, and (ii) these attributes introduce process dynamics that prevent the straightorward prediction o BPR eects. This work solves these problems by developing a modeling method or mobile processes. The method allows or simulating mobile processes considering the mobility attributes while hiding the complexity o these attributes rom the business analysts modeling the processes. Simulating business processes requires to assign activites to workers,which is called scheduling. The spatial distribution o activities relates scheduling to routing problems known rom the logistics domain. To provide the simulator with scheduling capabilities the according Mobile Workorce Scheduling Problem with Multitask-Processes (MWSP-MP) is introduced and analyzed in-depth. A set o neighborhood operators was developed to allow or the application o heuristics and meta-heuristics to the problem. Furthermore, methods or generating start solutions o the MWSP-MP are introduced. The methods introduced throughout this work were validated with real-world ix

10 x ABSTRACT data rom a German utility. The contributions o this work are a reerence model o mobile work, a business domain independent modeling method or mobile business processes, a simulation environment or such processes, and the introduction and analysis o the Mobile Workorce Scheduling Problem with Multitask-Processes.

11 Abbreviations AD AMP AON AQ ARMS BFS BPR BPMN BPS CCS CD CEMF-DO CONWIP CPN DARP DFS EATE EAWR EBNF EM Activity Diagram Adaptive Memory Programming Activity-On-Node (network) Additional Qualiications Automated Resource Management System Breadth First Search Business Process Reengineering Business Process Modeling Notation Business Process Simulation Calculus o Communicating Systems Closest Depot Common Enterprise Modeling Framework or Distributed Organizations CONstant Work In Progress Colored Petri Net Dynamic Asset Replacement Planning Depth First Search Equal Average Travel Eort Equal Asset-Worker Ratio Extended Backus-Naur Form Enterprise Modeling xi

12 xii ABBREVIATIONS EPC EQD ERP FMC-PND FTL FTL PDP GPDP GPS GVRP ILS KPI LD LNS MoSim Event-driven Process Chain Equal Qualiication Distribution Enterprise Resource Planning Fundamental Modeling Concept Petri Net Diagram Full-Truckload Full-Truckload Pickup and Delivery Problem General Pickup and Delivery Problem Global Positioning System General Vehicle Routing Problem Iterated Local Search Key Process Indicator Location o the Depot Large Neighborhood Search Mobile Organization Sim Control MWSP-MP Mobile Workorce Scheduling Problem with Multitask-Processes OCL OOP PDA PDP PDPTW PEF PN PRCPSP QDS RCPSP RCMPSP Object Constraint Language Object Oriented Programming Personal Digital Assistant Pickup and Delivery Problem Pickup and Delivery Problem with Time Windows Process Execution Frequency Petri Net Preemptive Resource-Constrained Project Scheduling Problem Qualiication Dependent Scheduling Resource-Constrained Project Scheduling Problem Resource-Constrained Multi-Project Scheduling Problem

13 xiii REQ SHS SL SMPL TCP TNR TSP UEML UML UML AD VNS VRP VRPTW WATE YAWL Requirement Scheduler Heuristic Selection Start Location Simple Mobile Process Language Transmission Control Protocol Total Number o Regions Traveling Salesman Problem Uniied Enterprise Modeling Language Uniied Modeling Language Uniied Modeling Language Activity Diagram Variable Neighborhood Search Vehicle Routing Problem Vehicle Routing Problem with Time Windows Weighted Average Travel Eort Yet Another Worklow Language

14 xiv ABBREVIATIONS

15 Chapter 1 Introduction 1.1 Business Processes and Mobility During the last decades economic reality was constantly characterized by an increasing dynamic. Organizations must respond timely to the changing economic conditions; and, thereore, a static view o their business does not meet their needs. The increasing availability o wireless data communication and mobile electronic devices introduces even more dynamic aspects to business execution. In this section we will introduce the terms business process and mobile business process as well as the implications o mobility to the execution o business processes Business Processes One way or an enterprise to understand its business processes is to consider the business unctions in a holistic manner. Considering an organization s structure both static and dynamic aspects strike. While the structural (static) organization o an enterprise covers the hierarchical distribution o duties and responsibilities, the operational (dynamic) organization covers the actual assignment o the work items to the employees [34]. Early business improvement eorts concentrated on the local optimization o single business unctions in an isolated way. These developments were enabled by science and technology, namely the upgrowth o electronic data processing and communication technology. The outcomes o complex business tasks are undamently determined by the interaction o the business unctions. Especially the eort necessary to coordinate isolated business unctions can lead to suboptimal business results [8]. The consideration o business processes by enterprises essentially increased during the 1980s ater the topic had already been covered by researchers or years. Dierent perceptions o the 1

16 2 CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION term business process emerged. The ollowing deinition given by Becker et al. in [8] is aected by economic research: A process is a sel-contained, chronological, and logical sequence o activities necessary to process an economically relevant object. AmoretechnicaldeinitionisgivenbyvanderAalstandvanHeein[124]: A process consists o a number o tasks that need to be carried out and a set o conditions that determine the order o the tasks. A process can also be called a procedure. A task is a logical unit o work that is carried out as a single whole by one resource. Aresourceisthegenericnameoraperson,machine,orgroup o persons or machines that can perorm speciic tasks. This does not always mean to say that the resource necessarily carries out the task independently, but that it is responsible or it. This process deinition given by van der Aalst and van Hee will be the basis or the considerations o this work. The terms process and business process will be used synonymously throughout this work. In contrast to the above deinition this work distinguishes between the description o activities and their relations and the actual execution o tasks. The description will be reerred to as the process, whiletheexecutableinstanceotheprocesswillbe reerred to as the case. Thisdierentiationisrootedinthetheoryocase handling as introduced by van der Aalst and Berens in [122] and comprehensively discussed in [96; 105; 125]. Exectuing a case temporarily requires resources like material, workorce, or capital. These resources can either be consumed by the case or used and conserved or urther cases. Russel et al. give a detailed discussion o the properties o human and non-human resources in [100]. Since various approaches to assess business processes are applied by organizations [8; 34] dierent methods, modeling languages, and tools were developed. A business process is usually deined in subsequent steps.the process documentation aims at describing the current state o the business as a base or urther ormalization. To document processes a low level odetailisrequired so that tables or textual descriptions are the method o choice. Such documentations help to establish process oriented thinking and give the employees a holistic overview and basic understanding o the business unctions and the interaces between business departments. Based on process documentations, ormal process models can be developed on dierent levels o abstraction. The abstraction levels may be connected

17 1.1. BUSINESS PROCESSES AND MOBILITY 3 by the nesting o model parts (i.e., subprocesses). For dierent purposes, dierent modeling languages are available. Examples o modeling languages or business processes are the Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN, [46]), UML Activity Diagrams (UML AD, [45]), Event-driven Process Chains (EPC, [60]), Petri Nets (PN, [92]), and Yet Another Worklow Language (YAWL, [123]), just to mention a ew. The identiication o responsibilities or the single working steps uncovers the enterprise s distribution o competences and may help to systematically reduce the needed communication eorts. Formalized process models allow or the deinition o key process indicators (KPIs). KPIscanbedeinedoramount-,time-,andcost-relateddimensions. Evaluating measurements allows or the controlling o processes and may motivate business process reengineering (BPR) projects [56]. A urther purpose o ormalized process models is to implement rules o action on the operational level. These may annotated with target values enable the conlusion o service level agreements Mobile Business Processes Business processes in distributed and/or volatile business environments are increasingly gaining attention regarding eorts to improve the eiciency o process execution. Besides the constant pressure to improve their perormance by means o change that all organizations experience [12], the main technical reasons are increasing availability o high-bandwidth data communication networks [58] and rapid development o mobile devices with ergonomic graphical user interaces. Process related data can now be processed both downstream (i.e., toward the mobile worker) and upstream (i.e., toward the organization s inormation systems). This allows or mobile business processes to become controlled centrally by utilizing a mobile workorce management system [49](see Section 1.1.3). Mobile processes are characterized by spatially distributed resources requiring work to be perormed at their respective locations. Thus, the perorming workorce must be mobile. Among others, such resources can be technical equipment or customer sites. Consequently, mobile processes are processes depending on utilizing externally located resources. Extending the process deinition given by van der Aalst and van Hee in [124], in this work mobile processes are reerred to as business processes o which at least one activity takes place outside the organization s physical bounds i.e., in the ield [47; 77]. Concerning such processes, we will later distinguish between simple mobile processes consisting o just one mobile activity and complex

18 4 CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION mobile processes consisting o more than one mobile activity. The reasons or this distinction are the dierent control and scheduling requirementso both types o processes. In opposition to simple mobile processes, complex mobile processes require temporal and spatial synchronization o workers at dierent locations. Examples o mobile processes are the maintenance o supplier networks(electrical power, gas, water, etc.), the service o technical equipment at customer s sites, sales, and the monitoring o distributed sites as construction sites [78] or supermarkets (e.g., mystery shopping [131]). Mobile processes possess a number o attributes distinguishing them rom non-mobile processes. The most important one is the spatial distribution o activities because they are bound to external locations. The resulting spatial distribution o mobile processes represents a challenging restriction or scheduling the workorce, which is the assignment o resources to mobile activities [72], in comparison to scheduling in non-mobile processes [100]. It orces: workers and equipment to move to the site where the activity is executed, collecting and processing inormation about the location o resources (workorce, equipment, material), communication over wireless networks outside o the organization s sphere o inluence; and, thus, possible data and voice communication cut-os during process execution, possibly delayed updates o execution states o mobile activities in central inormation systems, preparing work lists or the workorce and preloading data to the workers mobile devices, and considering the spatial distribution o skills and competence over time. The spatial distribution o skills and competence must be considered especially i highly prioritized cases requiring immediate execution can occur. Creating work lists is the direct consequence o enormous amounts o nonproductive times or transport and travel. With work lists activities can be ordered such that transport eorts become reduced. Further reasons or creating work lists are the availability o capacity constrained resources as special equipment and the priorization o certain processes or acitivites. Thus, it is necessary to apply workorce scheduling methods in mobile process environments.

19 1.1. BUSINESS PROCESSES AND MOBILITY 5 In summary, the mobile processes considered in this work are based on the deinition given by van der Aalst and van Hee (see p. 2) and are thereore deined as ollows: Amobileprocessconsistsoanumberotasksthatneedto be carried out outside o the physical bounds o the enterprise, and o a set o conditions that determine the order o the tasks. Ataskisalogicalunitoworkthatiscarriedoutasasingle whole by a worker or a group o workers. The workers are controlled by means o a workorce management system. Tasks can be interrupted by the workorce management system causing the workers to perorm dierent tasks o higher importance. Enterprises that cover a certain size o area and run mobile processes tend to be organized in subdivisions o which each is responsible or regionally assigned assets and the respective business processes. Thus, the enterprise administers a number o regional divisions with identical unctional processes perormed on their respectively distributed assets. Such assets can be dedicated predeined customer sites, immobile technical equipment, or a variety o dierent consumer products at unoreseeable sites i the company oers appropriate repair services, or instance. The deinition o regions is oten based on the historical evolution o the enterprise, on administrative structures as counties or states, or on natural boundaries like rivers or mountain ranges. For an organization its current assignment o assets, resources, and workers to regions may have sensible reasons at irst glance, but the organization can hardly determine i the assignment is optimal regarding the organization s cost situation. This aggravates on the occasion o mergers or acquisitions, since there is usually no prior knowledge about the perormance o the uniied workorce. Cost unctions may be based on travel distances, duration o technical malunctions, or the number o workers employed.they strongly vary between organizations with respect to their dierent areas o business and business goals Worklow Management o Mobile Business Processes Aworklowcanbeseenasthepartoabusinessprocessthatisqualiied to be perormed automated or supported by inormation technology. The subject matter o worklow management systems is the technological support and control o business processes. They are inormation systemsused to plan, support, and automate business processes and to control the operations between dierent resources (humans and / or applications) by seamlessly integrating heterogenous, widely distributed data sources and inormation systems [124]. Process data is being routed between human process

20 6 CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION participants and applications. The underlying process deinitions are stored separately rom the actual control sotware as part o the system s coniguration. Hence process change caused by, e.g., strategic business goals or operational constraints is not adapted by modiying the control sotware but by reconiguring it. Worklow managemement systems are utilized to control and automate both industrial manuacturing (e.g., production worklow) and bureaucratic handling (e.g., inance, insurance, public services) [121]. Implementing a worklow management system allows or restructuring processes with various optimization objectives. The eiciency o worklow management systems is determined undamentally by the stability o the concerned business processes over time. Worklow management systems may help to considerably reduce throughput times and handling times o cases, ormat mismatches, and erroneous handling paths. Furthermore, they increase the quality o processing and up-to-dateness o reporting as long as process deinitions and organizational structures alternate less than anticipated at design time. This stability is particularly important regarding the execution o dierent cases o one and the same process. Another duty o worklow management systems is to achieve ormat continuity between the various process participants and involved inormation systems. An essential contribution to ormat continuity is the absence o paper based orms rom the concerned processes. To achieve this optimization goal it is essential to connect the involved resources by means o a computer network [124]. Since only recently reliable high-bandwith wireless data communication networks became available, permanent network connections could not be provided in the past. Thus, supporting mobile processes by worklow management systems required either immense organizational eort via cellular phones or state inormation o processes was not availablein real-time. Due to the increasing availability o cellular wireless data networks,mobile businesses gain maniold possibilities or electronically supporting and controlling their mobile business processes. Introducing worklow management systems into such processes can be achieved by equipping the mobile workorce with mobile electronic devices capable o communicating with the enterprise s network wirelessly. Utilized in mobile environments, worklow management systems ace increased requirements concerning their unctionality. Because o their administrative characteristics, worklow management systems or mobile processes are also reerred to as workorce management systems. We will use both terms synonymously throughout this work. Compared to non-mobile worklow management systems, their additional eatures are workorce scheduling based on individual qualiications and geographic location as well as the bi-directional supply o activity-based and location-based

21 1.1. BUSINESS PROCESSES AND MOBILITY 7 data in real-time. Utilizing workorce management systems in mobile environments under the circumstances mentioned above implies enormous challenges concerning their implementation and underlying process deinitions. Reasons or this are: Technological: Neither bandwith nor general availability o current wireless data networks are predictable with certainty. Capabilities o mobile devices dier both compared to stationary devices and among each other. Mobile devices oten ace restrictions (e.g., reduced display size, user interace, computational power) not applying to stationary devices. Besides restricitions o devices capabilities, applying them in mobile processes generates additional requirements to ergonomics (e.g., singlehand control, readability under exposure to direct sunlight, amount o data to be input). Processual: During the execution o mobile processes situations may occur that demand workers to interrupt their current work or to postpone currently planned work to execute activities not planned yet. This may be due to the occurence o emergency situations located closely to a worker s current location, orcing this worker to react immediately. Such situations are not restricted to mobile processes, but in mobile environments the impact on the business is larger than in non-mobile processes. Thus, the a-priori deinition o working scenarios may become challenging, i not impossible. Legal / Societal: In numerous countries mobile workers are protected rom real-time monitoring o their geographic location by legal regulations. In addition, the workers themselves may dislike such monitoring. I the workorce s retentions are not taken into account, their motivation may decrease. Nonetheless, it is necessary to gain such inormation to achieve lexible operative control o their working plans in emergency situations. All these reasons imply that workorce management systems in mobileenvironments must be able to react more lexibly to the complex unctional requirements o their environment as well as to ulill harder non-unctional requirements than systems in non-mobile environments. The non-unctional requirements may be so restrictive that unctional requirements are inluenced and are thus subject to temporary or even permanent change. I, or instance, it is prohibited by law to acquire the exact geographical location o a worker by using the Global Positioning System (GPS) or similar technologies, as a result guaranteed emergency reaction times may not be met and service level agreements o the business must be adjusted accordingly.in this example imprecise inormation about the worker s current position can

22 8 CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION be gained rom the location o his activities and the time intervals between state updates unless the worker could not send state updates due to data communication cut-os. It can be assumed that the problems arising rom technological reasons will be compensated by technological progress in the uture while this is not oreseeable or the processual and legal reasons. In this work we assume that the mobile workers spend most time o their working duty in the ield, that the activites o one and the same workercan belong to dierent business cases and to dierent business processes, and that the mobile processes are supported by workorce management systems Perorming Business Change By deining business processes, organizations empower themselves to assess the qualitative properties o their business operation [8]. Though this gives insights into the the structure o business processes, improving the business operation and predicting necessary resources require to assess quantitative properties. BPR projects consist o at least two stages: (i) the analysis o the business current state and the development o a concept or changes, as well as (ii) the actual realization o the changes to the business (processes). In the conceptual stage business analysts ace the necessity to predict the practical and economic outcomes o the project s realization. Such predictions may be based on static properties o the business processes as, or instance, the expenditure o time or certain activities, the number o activities a worker can perorm in a given period o time, or the amount o energy consumed by a business case.the necessary inormation can be gained by observing and measuring the actual process execution, given that appropriate attributes to be measured are deined, sensors are implemented, and the processes are run repeatedly. Nonetheless, highly dynamic or complex systems, processes, and environments need to be examined regarding their respective dynamic properties (e.g., working-waiting-ratio o the workorce, number o workers available at given intervals, utilization o resources) during while estimating the project s outcomes. Since many business processes are too complex or mathematical analysis [62] or their execution is too dependent rom dynamic properties [49], process analysis is best perormed by stepwise simulation [116]. Simulation is a well established method to gain insight into the dynamic properties o such environments [39]. Simulations can bring up results identiying resource load and possible bottlenecks. Such results are utilized to create, evaluate, adjust, and discard hypotheses or the iterative improvement o process models until a process set to be implemented isound.figure 1.1 illustrates the procedure. Since an organization usually runs dierent processes, it is likely that business analysts develop numerous process models o varying business scope

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