Process mining of material flows

Verification of internal material flow processes in small-scale production operations

Wide ranges of variants, small batch sizes and flexibility: as manufacturing becomes more and more individualized, the tasks of in-house logistics are becoming increasingly complex. There is still plenty of potential for optimization in material flow control, but at SMEs especially, the corresponding physical processes are often insufficiently digitally mapped. It is also not always clear which processes have actually been executed, to say nothing of when and how. That’s why in the ProCheck project, our Center for Applied Research on Supply Chain Services and the Positioning and Networks unit have been researching how to enable automated and continuous analysis plus optimization and verification of material flow processes, even in small-scale production operations. To do this, the team used process mining methods for these physical material flows. Missing data and information on cyber-physical systems (CPS) was collected to create a valid data basis.

The application partner was a manufacturing company with a corresponding requirements profile, such as spatially distributed machine and assembly stations as well as material and tool requirements related to ordering. Fraunhofer researchers installed the required CPS and, in parallel, applied process mining methods to the existing ERP data.

© Fraunhofer IIS
CPS-basiertes Process Mining für Materialflussprozesse: Schematische Darstellung unseres Forschungsansatzes.