Professor Young is Professor of Manufacturing Informatics in the Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering at Loughborough University in the UK. He has some 40 years experience in new product development and manufacturing engineering, working both in UK industry and in academia. His research is focused on exploiting advanced Information and Communications Technologies to aid multi-disciplinary teams of engineers in their decision-making through the provision of timely, high quality information and knowledge. Providing solutions to related problems is of critical importance to the knowledge economy and hence to the EU and worldwide business competitiveness.
Professor Young works with a broad range of manufacturing companies from large multi-nationals in the aerospace and automotive sectors to more local manufacturing SMEs. In this latter area he is a director of TANet, an organisation aimed at providing support to the UK SME manufacturing sector. As well as working closely with industry, Prof Young is committed to developing effective information standards for manufacture. To that end he is deputy convenor of the international standards organisation working group concerned with “manufacturing process and management data”, ISO TC184 SC4 JWG8. Prof Young also leads a task group within the EU’s Virtual Laboratory for Interoperability or INTEROP-VLab. This group is focused on developing improved methods for Manufacturing Enterprise Interoperability.
Competitive manufacturing industries are always striving to be “better, faster and cheaper” to stay ahead of their competition. This requires the ability to make successful business decisions against substantial time constraints and with limited high quality information. However, although ICT tools for manufacturing industry have advanced dramatically in recent years they do have drawbacks when it comes to providing the holistic capabilities that are critical to long-term competitive solutions.
This presentation argues that businesses should be able to rapidly make high quality multi-perspective decisions. This requires access to the right people, access to the right information and support from the appropriate analysis tools. ICT solutions must therefore provide an environment where people can interact, where software tools can interact, and where information and knowledge can be shared. The results of the EU Factories of the Future FLEXINET project will be used to demonstrate how this is possible, linking a collaboration environment with business modelling tools, production network configuration tools and risk analysis tools, all interacting based on an underlying knowledge base which is itself designed to support interoperability across the range of supporting applications. This approach will be discussed in terms of its potential development to provide a common shared understanding that can be flexibly and dynamically applied to transform manufacturing industry in the next phase of the information revolution.