WO2010028695A1 - Method and system for automatic import of technical data from a manufacturing control system or enterprise resource planning system into an integrated common edp publishing system - Google Patents

Method and system for automatic import of technical data from a manufacturing control system or enterprise resource planning system into an integrated common edp publishing system

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Publication number
WO2010028695A1
WO2010028695A1 PCT/EP2008/065805 EP2008065805W WO2010028695A1 WO 2010028695 A1 WO2010028695 A1 WO 2010028695A1 EP 2008065805 W EP2008065805 W EP 2008065805W WO 2010028695 A1 WO2010028695 A1 WO 2010028695A1
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WO
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system
factory
erp
publishing
technical
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PCT/EP2008/065805
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French (fr)
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WO2010028695A9 (en )
Inventor
Senthil Kumar Vadivel
Wolfgang Schellhammer
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Abb Technology Ag
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F17/00Digital computing or data processing equipment or methods, specially adapted for specific functions
    • G06F17/20Handling natural language data
    • G06F17/21Text processing
    • G06F17/24Editing, e.g. insert/delete
    • G06F17/243Form filling; Merging, e.g. graphical processing of form or text
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q10/00Administration; Management
    • G06Q10/06Resources, workflows, human or project management, e.g. organising, planning, scheduling or allocating time, human or machine resources; Enterprise planning; Organisational models

Abstract

A method for automatic and efficient import of technical data from factory ERP systems to an integrated common EDP publishing system is provided. This is achieved by generating Metadata in an organized manner by collecting data from different data sources across different locations. The import and assembly of technical data in the Metadata if generated in an industrial standard XML format.

Description

Method and system for automatic import of technical data from a manufacturing control system or Enterprise Resource Planning system into an integrated common EDP publishing system

FIELD OF INVENTION:

The present invention relates to the field of publication of technical information or documentation of technical equipment, hereafter called documentation in this description. More particularly, the present invention relates to distributed system architecture for automatic import of document files and electronic publication of documents by interlocking of enterprise resource planning systems connected to a plurality of factories to a common Electronic Documentation Program EDP publishing system.

TECHNICAL BACKGROUND

Conventionally, electronic publishing in industry of technical documentation for technical equipment is carried out manually or semi-automatically in a fragmented manner, in particular in the case of a several different factories being involved in making one specific delivery of technical equipment. All the sales and delivery related information is usually maintained in a manufacturing control system, an ordering and sales system or a generic ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system or ERP system such as the SAP system (Systems

Applications and Products System) provided by SAP AG, of Walldorf, Germany. The technical documentation is usually kept in technical or product databases or systems. As a result it is difficult for an electronic document publishing system to access or transfer the information held in other systems. This is particularly the case when a plurality of factories in different locations are involved in one single specific delivery of technical equipment. Delivery specific product documents are often shipped by paper or CD to the customer, which may result in loss or partial loss of technical documentation on the customer side, delay by additional printing and mailing time and involves more cost due to resources needed both in human and material capital.

Presently factories in different geographical regions in large organizations often use different document repository systems which results in more infrastructure and IT cost. Also, the user or publisher of technical documentation often manually uploads the specific product delivery documents.. Also factory people need to manually fill information in for generating for EDP publishing information for a specific delivery of a product.

Presently manufacturers in factories in different regions use different document repository systems (like EDMS/ SAP-DMS etc.) which calls for more infrastructure and IT cost. Also, the user manually uploads the specific product delivery documents.

US patent 7,028,190 describes a consent obtaining method for electronically sending information. It involves providing computer executable instructions to individual for obtaining individual's consent for electronic delivery of information. However, it deals with getting permission for sensitive data publishing having a number of interesting flow charts for communbation with customers, but always in the context of Supplier/investor relationship.

WO2000060504 discloses an internet-based document management system and methods are provided wherein an electronic document may be stored on an internet-accessible server and accessed using a previously known web browser, downloaded for review or manipulation, and then returned to the server for access by further users. It focuses on tracking "transactions" for billing purposes and is constructed to allow collaborative changes to the documents, while in the present invention tracks are dependent on content, update of content etc.

US publication 20060075047 discloses an electronic file delivery device and delivery method e.g. electronic mail system using simple mail transfer protocol, transmits electronic mail for file delivery permission or non- permission, based on link information acquired from file reception request.

US publication 20040034686 discloses an Electronic information delivering system. It has a server that collects electronic information related to the users preset customized profile for delivery to the client component from the internal sites and the server. It deals with the creation of documents and its distribution, based on the customer subscription. However, the method may be slightly different as compared to the EDP.

WO2000051029 describes an electronic document delivery apparatus using the internet. It includes sending to the computer which transmits the encoded document to the server for decoding, encoding and transmission to the receiving computer. The server system stores digital information received over the network. The digital information can represent a parcel, document, image, executable software, audio file, etc. The sending system transmits a notification to the receiving system. The notification signifies that the sending system is transmitting the digital information to the server system over the network and that the digital information may be accessible by the receiving system.

WO2005072191 describes an electronic document publication and distribution system (e.g. for novels) and comprises input module which validates input file and converts validated file into an intermediate format file. It deals with creating documents from tagged text components, using the Rosettanet specification. It also specifies how to create a Metadata. However, it is restricted to print media only.

US publication 20040117373 relates to a method for electronically furthering the commodity operations for a particular unit of a commodity on a distributed computer network such that a data record pertaining to a particular unit of a commodity can be securely updated. In addition, it relates to a method for securely issuing electronic deliver orders such that the electronic delivery orders are not issued prior to the receipt of clearances from the appropriate government agencies governing the import/export of such a commodity.

US publication 20030208557 describes a fast and reliable document delivery service, in which documents to be delivered are converted to an electronic form if they are not already in such a form. An image thereof is stored on a database that is securely accessible over the Internet to the intended recipient. The service may include notifying the intended recipient of the availability of documents for delivery, forwarding of the documents to the intended recipients and time-limiting availability of documents on the database.

In basic concepts of Electronic Documentation Systems and related Electronic Documentation Programs

(EDP), as disclosed in Proceedings of IDETC/CIE 2006, ASME 2006 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, September 10-13, 2006, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, DETC2006-99194 "MOVING PRODUCT INFORMATION ALONG THE VALUE CHAIN: OVERCOMING CHALLENGES OF DISTRIBUTED ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND A HETEROGENEOUS INFORMATION ENVIRONMENT" by Harshavardhan Karandikar, Bruno Schilli,

Wolfgang Schellhammer, Roar Karlsen, and as disclosed on the International Conference on Product Lifecycle Management, July 10 -12, 2006 in "Cost-effective Electronic Delivery of Product Data and Documentation" by Bruno Schilli, Wolfgang Schellhammer and Harsh Karandikar,, the sender of information publishes documents and meta-data into a specific file directory, which is supervised by a so called EDP Publishing Services using a procedure called Batch Conversion Service (BCS). The EDP Publishing Services collect, upload and transform the project specific documents and data into a document repository, which consists of a database server and a file server. While delivery specific project specific documents are copied to the file server of the EDP Repository, type specific documentation, that is technical documentation for a specific type of technical equipment, will remain in the central documentation library. However, the start of the publishing process depends on a manual intervention, an action, or a push, by an order handling engineer to begin publishing technical documentation belonging to each specific delivery of equipment. Also, in a large organisation different versions of the same technical documentation for a given product may exist at the same time, for example on different servers or in different regional systems. It is a demanding and time consuming process to identify the correct version for a specific delivery or dated release. It is also a demanding and time consuming process to coordinate the publishing of technical documentation for a specific delivery which often involves a plurality of factory sites for a specific delivery of equipment.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION:

The principal object of the present invention is to provide a method for automatic and secure import/ assembly of technical data, in an electronic form collected for an EDP process by means of a common factory interface with factory ERP systems.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a distributed system and method of automatically importing electronic documents efficiently and publication of technical data from different locations to a global repository, functioning as Enterprise Content Management System of the enterprise, e.g. Documentum product available from EMC Corporation.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a method of uniting various resources across different regions to one location.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a method of accessing data from an ERP/ SAP system for an EDP publishing process of technical documentation for a specific delivery of technical equipment.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a method of pulling business information from ERP system using built in and/or a custom adapter.

Another object of the present invention is to provide the method of pulling overall delivery schedule chart information from ERP system using a custom adapter.

Another object of the present invention is to provide the method of pulling current delivery schedule information from an overall delivery scheduling chart information from a factory manufacturing control or ERP system using a custom adapter.

Another object of the present invention is to provide the method of prioritizing specific deliveries in a current delivery schedule based on Time stamp information from ERP system using a custom adapter.

Another object of the present invention is to provide the method of pulling business information from ERP system for one or more specific deliveries of technical equipment based on a priority in sequential manner using a custom adapter.

Another object of the present invention is to provide the method of binding business information to the factory interface using custom adapter.

Another object of the present invention is to provide the method of authorization for access an EDP process for publishing technical documentation on web based factory interface application, which runs on Windows share point service.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a method of having one common process across different regions in the globe for publishing delivery documents.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a method of enhancing the speed of an EDP publishing process.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a method of creating Metadata for the EDP publishing process which Metadata comprises technical documentation and delivery or customer information for a specific delivery of technical equipment. The use of Metadata is also described in an Indian patent application IN 1099/KOL/2008 filed 24-06-2008, in India entitled System and method for automated preparation and publication of information of technical equipment; which is hereby incorporated in full in this specification by means of this reference. In this description, Metadata comprises information and data which are specific to a specific delivery of technical equipment and formatted in a structured text format such as XML.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide security for multiple user/ group.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a method of giving business Metadata in the industrial standard communication format.

According to another aspect of the invention, a system is provided for preparation and publication of technical equipment documentation which system comprises at least one data processing device cooperating with at least one data storage device and at least one tool or module for electronically publishing technical documentation by automatically importing documents to a document repository of an electronic publishing system. The system according to the invention may comprise a module based structure with devices and units, wherein the units or devices respectively may be implemented using commercially available workflow management tools.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION:

Accordingly the present invention relates to a method of interfacing with factories and companies in or across different regions and generating Metadata in electronic form in an organized manner from different data sources for the EDP process. In this description, Metadata comprises data in a structured text format such as

XML which are specific to a specific delivery of technical equipment. The technical equipment may comprise equipment according to a standard specification, a custom specification, or both.

The EDP Factory Interface provides a common interface for many factories which are connected to an ERP System for the factory producing products for customers. It helps to unite different factories from different regions across the globe and stream line the activity of the delivery process and facilitates collection of the specific delivery information called Meta-data. The Metadata is provided as an XML file, which follows the EDP XML schema, and facilitates the user to upload the delivery specific documentation. The factory interface uses an electronic form based on a standard structured text format, such as InfoPath forms services and a web-based document sharing and collaboration tool such as Windows Share Point Service (WSS). WSS facilitates the work flow for the business process behind the scene. The factory interface look and feel is maintained by modifying web parts (customizable user interface) of the Windows Share Point web pages. Factory interface form templates are published to the document library, to capture the required information from the publisher of the factories. In an embodiment of the present invention, a method for automatic import of technical data from factory ERP systems to an integrated common EDP publishing system wherein the said method comprises the steps of:

(a) pulling the required delivery/ product/ documents/ delivery schedule and customer information from the ERP / SAP system; where SAP (Systems, Applications and Products) is an enterprise resource planning system provided by SAP AG, of Walldorf, Germany .

(b) filling the pulled information into an info path form;

(c) parsing the forms into attached documents and Metadata separately;

(d) placing the Metadata at a common location; and

(e) triggering the publishing process to publish required product documents.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the info path form has a pre-designed common template stored in the document library.

In yet another embodiment of the present invention, the common location of data storage is document library of a web-based document sharing and collaboration tool such as Windows Share Point Service.

In still another embodiment of the present invention, the Windows Sharepoint Service acts as a local/ regional server for factories within that region.

In another embodiment of the present invention, client side business validation is done using work flow of the

Windows Sharepoint Service

In yet another embodiment of the present invention, the product information is pulled from ERP system /SAP system of more than one factory.

In still another embodiment of the present invention, Metadata is stored in an industrial standard XML format;

In another embodiment of the present invention, information is pulled from ERP/SAP by using BizTalk server 2006 SAP built in and/or custom adapter.

In yet another embodiment of the present invention, the BizTalk built-in SAP/ Custom adapter is configured by giving IP Address, hostname, user ID and password for connectivity to ERP/ SAP System.

In another and preferred embodiment of the present invention a method for automatic import of technical data from a manufacturing control system or Enterprise Resource Planning system of at least one factory to an integrated common EDP publishing system, which method includes placing documentation of a technical equipment in, and relevant metadata for, a specific delivery in a specific local directory, comprises (a) automatically retrieving from said factory manufacturing control or ERP system a delivery schedule and customer information for the specific delivery of technical equipment; (b) triggering an electronic publishing process EDP dependent on information for the specific delivery existing in a part of existing in said factory manufacturing control or ERP system ,

(c) filling the retrieved customer information in an electronic form using a standard structured text format info path form ; (d) parsing the form into attached documents comprising documentation of a technical equipment and

Metadata separately;

(e) generating the Metadata and placing it at a common location; and publishing required technical documentation electronically for the individual specific delivery of said technical equipment

A computer program product in the form of a computer program recorded on a computer-readable medium is disclosed in another aspect of the invention.

In still another embodiment of the present invention, required information is pulled from ERP/SAP system by a process of orchestration, meaning to orchestrate or otherwise coordinate preparation and publication of information relative to a specific delivery of technical equipment, which comprises the steps of: (a) receiving the current delivery list based on current date from sales order system in ERP-SAP;

(b) prioritizing the received current delivery list based on time stamp;

(c) considering each individual specific deliveries in the list one by one as per their priority; and

(d) obtaining its specific delivery information from the sales order system.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the info path form is filled by the user manually and uploaded to the publishing location through Share Point library link.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF FIGURES :

It is to be noted, however, that the appended drawings illustrate only typical embodiments of this invention and are therefore not to be considered for limiting of its scope, for the invention may admit to other equally effective embodiments.

FIG. 1 shows a block diagram for a semi automated EDP integration with an interface of a generic Enterprise Resource Planning system or a SAP interface according to an embodiment of the invention; FIG. 2 shows a block diagram for a fully automated EDP integration with a generic Enterprise Resource

Planning system interface or a SAP interface interface according to an embodiment of the invention; FIG. 3 shows a flowchart for a method of integrated electronic publishing with integration between EDP and a generic Enterprise Resource Planning system interface or a SAP interface according to an embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION: In the present invention, a method of providing an interface between more than one factory across different regions and generating Metadata in electronic form in an organized manner from different data sources for the EDP process is provided by the use of interlocking of the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, which may be a SAP system, to the EDP publishing process. First, all the required Metadata/ documentation are collected for the customer specific delivery. Once all the data are collected from different data sources, the

SAP/ ERP system generates a trigger signal for the publishing process to start the publishing of specific delivery document.

Integrating all the factories to an ERP system and maintaining a consistency in data and business processes helps to have a better quality process. All the required information related to delivery, product, documents, delivery schedule and customer are pulled from the ERP/ SAP system by using a business process management server system with a custom and/or application-specific adapter such as BizTalk SAP/ custom adapter through orchestration. In order to connect the ERP/ SAP system, IP address, user ID and password are given using BizTalk server 2006 SAP/ custom adapter. A pre-designed common template in a document library of a common location helps to generate the required user interface form and delivery-specific information called BDD Metadata for the publishing process is generated in the form of an industrial standard

XML format file.

Figure 1 shows a semi automatic EDP system including a factory 10 in a region 41. Figure 1 also shows an interface 11 to an ERP/SAP system of the factory in region 41 , and a Common location 12b for a sharing and workflow process using, for example, Windows Share point Service (WSS) 12c from Microsoft Inc.. The share point common location 12b comprises one or more web forms or Info path Forms 13b and one or more predesigned Common Templates 13c. In the case of a form-based implementation the user interface may be a data registration form in a suitable format provided by an enterprise form server, such as implemented as a local client or implemented in a suitable format for a Visual Basic compatible application such as Excel, or the data registration form may be provided as eg a web form, wherein, as well as collecting manually or automatically input information, when saving the form the Metadata 14 XML-file is created automatically

The common location also comprises a Metadata (BDD XML) file 14 which is generated from Purchase order (PO) or Sales information about a specific equipment manufacture and delivery. The semi-automatic EDP system also includes an EDP Publisher 16 module, which is arranged with an orchestration module or function 15 for reading and writing data, or pulling data, (as indicated by 24 Fig2 and 31 , Fig 3), for inclusion in a Common Template 13a and a module for coordinating or orchestrating the publishing process. A document repository or Documentum 20 is provided connectable to the EDP Publishing process via orchestration 15.

Figure 1 explains the semi automatic integration of EDP with an ERP system, using for example an user interface of a factory interface 11 of an Enterprise Resource Planning or SAP. In factory interface 1 1 the factory publisher or delivery sender fills in the customer ID and order ID manually 3m or semi automatically 3.1. An application or module such as a SAP built-in and /or custom adapter of the BizTalk server 2006 (see 31 , Fig 3) reads the information from ERP/ SAP interface 11 and retrieves or pulls part of the required delivered product information and customer details (see also automatic process 24, Fig 2). The pulled information is populated in the Factory Interface Form, the web form or Info path form 13b by orchestration function 15. The EDP publisher 16 uploads the Delivery documents to document library 34 of shareable documents in the common location and submits the form. Submitted forms (attached documents and BDD XML 14 ) are parsed separately. Client side business validation is done using work flow of the web-based document sharing and collaboration application/tool such as WSS 12c. After ensuring that the information written into the web form or Info path form 13b conforms to the expected logical type of information defined in the web form rules it places the forms for a specific delivery in the document library 34 of the WSS 12c.

Based on customer ID, the factory interface 11 then fetches the data related to the customer of the specific delivery such as company name, first name, city, zip .etc automatically by connecting to a local reference database of the local factory such as F1 factory 10. If the customer details are not present in the local reference database then it calls a GIS service of the enterprise which updates the customer information from an online GIS database to the local reference database. Based on a product unique ID (Classification ID), the

ERP factory interface 11 retrieves the product-related properties automatically from a local reference database and if the properties are not available then it calls products service which synchronizes the local reference database with the an enterprise product database which preferably is an online database. When the product related Metadata 14, which is in XML format, and technical documentation documents related to product which are in a compressed format, such as a zip format, for the specific delivery are published into the common location 12b, both the files are checked that they match to the certain criteria or not. It is also checked that both files are not corrupted by validating the attributes of the files, for example by means of a checksum. Specific delivery documents which are in zipped format are placed in document library 34 of the WSS 12a before creating and placing delivery specific Metadata 14 in XML format inside the document library 34. Once the files are placed in document library 34, the files are not deleted. Security is provided for the document library to be accessible to the publisher/sender or internal customers regionally/ group wise by using WSS 12c. As described, the EDP factory interface 11 facilitates to collect the specific delivery information through the factory interface by having the web-based form, the Info path form 13b, and the factory user can manually upload the delivery documents. The information collected in these forms can be reused easily throughout the organizations and across the business processes because InfoPath form 13b supports industry-standard XML and can use any customer-defined schema, thus a schema which is recognized in all factories involved in a specific delivery of equipment from the enterprise to one or more customers. This XML document, as described above, is considered as Metadata 14. It can be extended to have a trigger, which may be automatic or semi-automatic, from the ERP system to start the publishing process as described below in relation to Figs 2,3. The Metadata 14 being information for a specific delivery can also be obtained from the ERP system as an automated process because all the specific-delivery information for each delivery is available with the ERP/ SAP system. One can coordinate and exchange data by means of an orchestration 15 function and collect the required information from ERP/ SAP system using a BizTalk 2006 SAP/custom adapter (see 31 , Fig 3) and fill the required information in the lnfopath form 13b automatically. In this way the effort put by the factory people for filling the form is minimized. This also avoids any wrong data being manually entered into the factory interface form by mistake. These forms can then be accessed and filled out using a Web browser.

The system is preferably implemented by using Microsoft WSS as a local/ regional server for publishing data from local and regional factories. This server URL is accessible to the factories F1 ...Fn within a network of the enterprise which wants to publish/ send the delivery documentation to the customer. The user, a person in a factory responsible for the publishing or sending the delivery, is given a facility to upload (for manual upload) the documents and the Metadata and send it to the publishing location through a Share Point library link. In other cases (and in auto mode of publishing Figs 2, 3) the server is connected to the local SAP/ ERP system as well as WSS to provide internal access for the factory people.

The above system reduces the network traffic to the central server. It enhances the speed of the publishing process as the factories access only their local/ regional server for their publishing, which may be in the same LAN/ WAN network for the factory/ region. It reduces network loads by maintaining customer and product information in the local reference database. The advantage of the system is that it enables factories people to put specific delivery documents at one location by bridging the ERP System. As a result, it also ensures a common discipline and behavior across different factories. All these features run as an independent service with their own local repository.

Fig. 2 illustrates the schematic diagram of fully automated EDP integration by use of the SAP interface 11 according to the invention. The ERP/SAP interface 11 in the automatic system is used to access information for a specific delivery in the Document Management Service (DMS) function and/or a Sales and Support (SS) function in the ERP/SAP system. The BizTalk built-in SAP and/or custom adapter is configured by giving IP Address, hostname, user ID and password for connectivity to ERP/ SAP System. The required delivery information is retrived or pulled 24 through a middleware application function, for example by an orchestration 15 engine from BizTalk, from the factory ERP system such as an ERP/SAP system with the interface 11 and delivery documents from Delivery scheduling system (see 32, Fig 3) of the ERP/ SAP system modules such as, but not limited to, document management system, sales and support etc. Pulled information 24 is organized in the common template 13c and the MS Office InfoPath 2007 web form by following a publishing process logic or business rule as work flow behind the scene. A common location 12b and common template 13c is preferably designed region wise. The pulled information 24 is populated in the Factory Interface Form.

Publisher 16 automatically uploads the Delivery documents from ERP/ SAP System using BizTalk custom SAP adapter (see 31 , Fig 3) and submits the form. Submitted forms are parsed (attached documents and Metadata 14 in BDD XML format) separately. Client-side business validation is done using work flow of the WSS. After ensuring the publishing process logic or business rule has been followed, as described above, it places the forms in the document library of the WSS. Security is provided based on region/ group wise access/ sharing of the specific delivery documents by using WSS. The factory user uploads the Specific delivery documents for the specific delivery of product in the User Interface form. Thus the factory manufacturing system or ERP system such as SAP can trigger the EDP publishing process, once all of the documents/information required for the specific delivery have been determined to have been placed at the common location 12a/34, by generating a start signal 3.1 to publish the technical documentation identified in the original metadata 14 to the intended recipient at the address given in the Metadata 14.

In the above system, first all the required Metadata/ documentation are collected for the customer specific delivery. Once all the data has been collected from different data sources, the SAP/ ERP system generates a trigger signal 5.1 for the publishing process to start the publishing of a specific delivery document, which is linked to the SS module (Sales & Support) of SAP/ any other ERP or factory manufacturing control or enterprise resource control system. By using the above system, without any user intervention, the specific customer subsequently gets the notification that the documentation related to his/ her specific delivery according to a specific order has been delivered electronically to him/ her. The notification comprises a link to the published documents placed in the Documentum 20 when EDP publishing is done.The above system automatically identifies the documents based on the delivery order number, Metadata and publish the documents and Metadata without any user action or interference to the Documentum 20.. The above system makes sure that the required customer documentations are already delivered when the process of shipping the specific delivery is being handled.

Fig. 3 illustrates a flowchart for automated process of EDP integration with SAP. It shows a Delivery Schedule chart 40, a SAP built in and/or Custom Adapter 31 , an orchestration function or application 15, a WSS adapter 35 and a document library 34 at a common location 12a. The document repository or Documentation in which the technical documentation electronically published is placed for access by an authorized user or customer is not shown in theis figure (see 20, figs 1 , 2)..

A method of automatic electronic publishing according to a preferred embodiment of the invention includes the following steps:

1 Connecting via adapter 31 to SAP or other ERP system to access sales, orders, or Purchase Orders in the ERP or SAP system via the factory interface 11

2 Reading a current delivery list based on current date from Delivery Schedule chart 40 by means of the orchestration 15 function via the SAP built in and/or Custom Adapter 31 ; 3.0 Prioritizing the delivery list based on a time stamp in orchestration 15

Coordinating by means of orchestration 15 function and dynamically pulling the data using the SAP Adapter1 including:

3.1 Pull information from Sales Order or SS or POs etc in the ERP/SAP system and write information 3.2 Bind to the Common Template (see 13c Figs 1 ,2) using orchestration function 15

3.3 Get delivery information for a specific delivery from Sales Order or SS in the ERP/SAP system ;

4.0 Does the information for a specific delivery exist in a DMS? if Yes, 5.1 move the files containing the information for a specific delivery from DMS to document libray

34 using WSS adapter 35,

5.2 bind the delivery information for a specific delivery to an Info path Form 13b

5.3 generate the Metada BDD XML file; and

6.0 read information from Metadata file into the Electronic publisher 16 by means of orchestration function 15 and WSS adapter 35, and

7.0 automatically publish electronically the information for a specific delivery, including the technical documentation, from publisher 16, and place the technical documentation and order/delivery documentation in a document repository or Documentum 20 (Figs 1 , 2),

8.0 send a notification to the intended recipient that the technical documentation is published by the EDP system and is available for them to access it.

Thus in the automated mode all the required information is pulled from ERP/ SAP system. In ERP/SAP system sales order contains all the information related to specific delivery. To establish a connection with ERP/SAP, a new adapter pack on the BizTalk machine is installed and used. LOB (line of business) adapter SDK (Software Development Kit) including Visual Studio and BizTalk tools are required. The LOB adapter may be a software tool adapted to suit a line of related technical products manufactured or otherwise provided by the enterprise. After the basic installation some additional SAP drivers on the BizTalk machine are installed, which are listed in the adapter pack installation guide. SAP adaptor configuration is used and username and password for SAP are set. Then at the URI factory interface 11 properties the SAP connection properties (such as Application Server Host (SAP Server), system number, client, language etc.) are set. Now the adapter 31 connects to ERP/SAP. In ERP/SAP, sales order system has a delivery schedule chart 40. This contains the list of deliveries. In orchestration 15, the current delivery list based on current date is received from sales order system in ERP/ SAP. The received current delivery list is prioritized 3 based on time stamp. According to the priority, each individual specific delivery in the list are considered one by one and the required specific delivery information is obtained from the sales order system. If the information related to the

DMS (Document Management System) exists, then the specific delivery documents are moved 5.1 from DMS to the common location or document library 34 through WSS adaptor 35. Using WSS adaptor-BTS 35, collected specific delivery information is bound 5.2 to the Info path form for generating Metadata required for the EDP publishing process.

The advantages of the automated system include that the technical documentation for a specific delivery are delivered on time to the customer and the burden on the factory people to prepare information and upload files is avoided. It also reduces user manual intervention and hence avoids misleading data being given to the EDP Publishing process. The methods for electronic publishing and for triggering the start of EDP as described above and elsewhere in this specification may be carried out by a computer application comprising computer program elements or software code which, when loaded in a processor or computer, causes the computer or processor to carry out the method steps. The functions of the modules of the EDP system may be carried out by processing digital functions, algorithms and/or computer programs and/or by analogue components or analogue circuits or by a combination of both digital and analogue functions.

The methods of the invention, as previously described for example in respect of Fig 3, as well as Figs 1 or 2, may be carried out by means of one or more computer programs comprising computer program code or software portions running on a computer or a processor. The processor (or processors) comprise a central processing unit CPU performing the steps of the method according to one or more facets of the invention. The or each processor may be in a module, a server or hub or router unit or may as well run in a local or central computer system in a local or regional distributed computerised system.

It should be noted that while the above describes exemplifying embodiments of the invention, there are several variations and modifications which may be made to the disclosed solution without departing from the scope of the present invention as defined in the appended claims.

Claims

1 . A method for automatic import of technical data from a manufacturing control system or Enterprise Resource Planning system of at least one factory (10) to an integrated common EDP publishing system, said method including placing documentation of a technical equipment in, and relevant metadata for, a specific delivery in a specific local directory, characterized by
(a) automatically retrieving (3.3) from said factory manufacturing control or ERP system a delivery schedule (40) and customer information for the specific delivery of technical equipment;
(b) triggering (5.1 ) an electronic publishing process EDP dependent on information for the specific delivery existing in a part of existing in said factory manufacturing control or ERP system , (c) filling (3.1 ) the retrieved customer information in an electronic form (13b) using a standard structured text format info path form;
(d) parsing the form into attached documents comprising documentation of a technical equipment and Metadata (14) separately;
(e) generating the Metadata and placing it at a common location (34); and publishing required technical documentation electronically for the individual specific delivery of said technical equipment
2. The method for automatic import of technical documentation from said factory ERP system to an integrated common EDP publishing system as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the said electronic form has a pre-designed common template (13c) stored in the document library.
3. The method for automatic import of technical documentation from said factory ERP systems to an integrated common EDP publishing system as claimed in claim 1 , wherein said common location is document library (34) of a web-based document sharing and collaboration tool such as Windows Share Point Service (12c).
4. The method for automatic import of technical documentation from said factory ERP system to an integrated common EDP publishing system as claimed in claim 3, wherein the web-based document sharing and collaboration tool Windows Share Point Service is arranged for acting as a local/ regional server for factories within that region.
5. The method for automatic import of technical documentation from said factory ERP system to an integrated common EDP publishing system as claimed in claim 3, wherein by validating a client side publishing process using a work flow process of said Windows Sharepoint Service
6. The method for automatic import of technical documentation from said factory ERP system to an integrated common EDP publishing system as claimed in claim 1 , wherein by retrieving or pulling (3.1 ) said product information from an ERP system /SAP system of more than one factory.
7. The method for automatic import of technical documentation from said factory ERP system to an integrated common EDP publishing system as claimed in claim 1 , wherein by generating the Metadata automatically from an electronic form (13b) and storing said Metadata (14) in an industrial standard XML format;
8. The method for automatic import of technical documentation from factory said ERP system to an integrated common EDP publishing system as claimed in claim 1 , wherein by pulling retrieving (3.1 ) or pulling said product information is pulled from ERP/SAP by using BizTalk server 2006 SAP/ custom adapter (31 ).
9. The method for automatic import of technical documentation from said factory ERP systems to an integrated common EDP publishing system as claimed in claim 8, wherein said BizTalk built-in SAP/ custom adapter is configured by giving IP Address, hostname, user ID and password for connectivity to ERP/ SAP system.
10. The method for automatic import of technical documentation from said factory ERP system to an integrated common EDP publishing system as claimed in claim 1 , wherein required information is pulled from ERP/SAP system by a process of orchestration (15).
11. The method for automatic import of technical documentation from said factory ERP system to an integrated common EDP publishing system as claimed in claim 10, wherein said process of orchestration comprises the steps of:
(a) receiving (2.0) the current delivery list based on current date from sales order system in ERP-SAP;
(b) prioritizing (3.0) the received current delivery list based on time stamp; (c) considering each individual specific deliveries in the list one by one as per their priority; and (d) obtaining its specific delivery information (3.3) from the sales order system.
12. The method for automatic import of technical documentation from a factory ERP system to an integrated common EDP publishing system as claimed in claim 10, wherein the process of obtaining specific delivery (3.3) comprises determining (4.0) whether the information for a specific delivery exists in a DMS or SS part of said factory manufacturing control or ERP system and, if it does exist, triggering the publishing process.
13. The method for automatic import of technical documentation from said factory ERP system to an integrated common EDP publishing system as claimed in claim 1 , wherein said electronic form (13b) is filled in by the user manually (3.m) and uploaded to the publishing location through Share Point library link.
14. A system for automatic import of technical documentation of a technical equipment from a manufacturing control system or Enterprise Resource Planning system ERP of at least one factory (10) to an integrated common EDP publishing system, wherein the said system comprises: (a) modules (11 , 31 ) for retrieving from said factory manufacturing control or ERP system the required delivery/ product/ documents/ delivery schedule and customer information for the technical equipment; (b) modules (31 , 15) for triggering (3.1 ) an electronic publishing process EDP dependent on information for the specific delivery existing in a part of said factory manufacturing control or ERP system, (c) one or more modules (15) for filling (35) the retrieved information in an electronic form using a standard structured text format,
(d) modules for parsing the forms into attached documents and a Metadata (14) separately;
(e) a modules for generating (35) the Metadata (14) and placing it at a common location (34) for publishing required technical documentation electronically for the individual specific delivery of said technical equipment
15. A system for automatic import of technical documentation from said factory ERP system to an integrated common EDP publishing system as claimed in claim 14, further comprising at least one memory storage device for storing one or more computer programs for carrying a method of automatically retrieving (3.3) from said factory manufacturing control or ERP system a delivery schedule (40) and customer information for the specific delivery of technical equipment; triggering (5.1 ) an electronic publishing process EDP dependent on information for the specific delivery existing in said factory manufacturing control or ERP system , filling (3.1 ) the retrieved customer information in an electronic form (13b) using a standard structured text format info path form; parsing the form into attached documents comprising documentation of a technical equipment and Metadata
(14) separately; generating the Metadata and placing it at a common location (34); and publishing required technical documentation electronically for the individual specific delivery of said technical equipment
16. A system for automatic import of technical documentation from said factory ERP system to an integrated common EDP publishing system as claimed in claim 14, further comprising at least one computer readable memory storage medium containing one or more of the programs.
17. A computer program product directly loadable into the internal memory of a digital computer comprising software code portions for performing the steps of claim 1 when said product is run on a computer..
PCT/EP2008/065805 2008-09-12 2008-11-19 Method and system for automatic import of technical data from a manufacturing control system or enterprise resource planning system into an integrated common edp publishing system WO2010028695A9 (en)

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