Our experimental work in several examples
The experimental work of ISEE to define the capabilities of the IT solution developed for applied use is essentially a multi-annual cognitive accumulation process, which has been continually under way in full synchrony with the creative endeavors and research work of the organization. Viewed in its entirety, this process cannot be meaningfully explained using the fuzzy terminology of currently existing ‘scientific’ fundamental knowledge about economic management, which incomplete and fragmented. Some of this fuzzy terminology is capable of providing partial explanations of fragments of the experimental work of ISEE to design and develop an IT solution serving as a bearer of insightful fundamental knowledge of economic management of a new order. Hence the decision to present only a handful of the experiments conducted by ISEE here.
Implementation site: Hydraulic Elements and Systems PLC, Yambol, Bulgaria.
ISEE has conducted a number of industrial reengineering campaigns. Two of these had major scale, reaching more than 500 workplaces.
〉 First campaign for large-scale industrial reengineering
The first campaign was conducted between 2002 and 2003. Over a period of approximately 15 months more than 80 % of all workplaces were restructured and relocated. The campaign was notable for the fact that the development and then the management of reengineering implementation were handled by several engineers in parallel, each highly proficient in the modelling of the technological environment and industrial processes through the IT solution designed and developed by ISEE, despite being young and having less than 3 years of professional experience.
〉 Second campaign for large-scale industrial reengineering
The second campaign took place immediately after the global economic crisis set in during 2009. During the campaign, which ran from the spring of 2010 until the summer of 2011, more than 70 % of all workplaces were restructured and relocated.
Both campaigns were conducted in a highly expeditious manner, without any delay or suspension of industrial processes. On the contrary, over the course of the reengineering process, manufacture accelerated in terms of both volume and nomenclature. During the second campaign, this increase was more than twofold. The studies of ISEE failed to find a precedent where industrial reengineering had ever been conducted, by any party, that was comparable in terms of investment indicators to the performance achieved in the two campaigns, which would not have been possible without the IT solution designed and developed by ISEE.
Implementation site: Hydraulic Elements and Systems
In the period between 2009 and 2010, in the short span of 18 months, two engineers without any prior experience in plant design or knowledge of the so-called Lean Manufacturing theory, but highly proficient in the ISEE IT solution and its cognitive platforms, developed and rolled out a system for SMED and lean manufacturing in two sections comprising a total of approximately 40 digital programming workplaces.
Following SMED the productivity of the workplaces in question increased between 5 and 10 times. Minimal costs were incurred. A personnel training programme was also developed.
By way of comparison, the development and roll out of such a system on a global scale, within a plant owned by a large Western company, would take approximately 6 years, meaning that significantly greater human and financial resources will be needed.
Implementation site: Hydraulic Elements and Systems
In October 2005, the Applied Research Centre conducted a project for the implementation of a system quality management and ISO 9001:2000 certification.
For this purpose two of the most highly renowned global companies – Lloyd’s Register and TÜV Rheinland – were invited as partners. The ISEE team comprised two company employees – an engineer versed in the IT solution developed and a technical assistant. The consultants from Lloyd’s and TÜV arrived with the idea that the implementation of the document quality management procedures would take months and the actual certification audit – many further months and efforts. However, after becoming familiar with the computer technology, they established that all necessary forms and information were already available. All that remained to be done was to ensure that they were in a format familiar to the certification bodies.
In mid-December 2005, less than two months later, Lloyd’s Register and TÜV Rheinland issued the respective certificates. In the next few years ISEE was frequently used by TÜV Rheinland as a demonstration base for ‘good practices’ for other companies wishing to obtain certification under ISO 9001:2000.
Implementation site: Hydraulic Elements and Systems PLC, Yambol, Bulgaria and M+S Hydraulic PLC, Kazanlak, Bulgaria
This experiment was conducted in the period between the beginning of 2014 until mid-2015 and is the culmination of the applied research efforts of ISEE. As a result of the privatisation and sale, in self-contained parts, of a large machine engineering plant in Bulgaria, ISEE was able to purchase remaining fragments and documentation at an excellent price from a high-tech manufacturing solution purchased many years ago from a Western country. The technology in question was applied across five plants and back in the day socialist Bulgaria had paid more than 120 million in hard currency Bulgarian Lev to obtain it. Although the process of implementation was well under way, the old regime fell and the democratic period commenced.
As at the date of their acquisition both the equipment and the related documentation were obsolete. Despite this, for ISEE saving fragments of this high-technology was a blessing because this enabled it to use it in experiments to test the IT solution developed as a bearer of knowledge for engineering and nurturing an innovative technological elite. For the purpose of the experiment, a project was initiated. It aimed at technologically expanding and organisationally aligning the joint production at two Bulgarian plants and the sale of the high-tech solutions in question.
Impressive results were achieved:
(1) Five young machine engineers without any prior experience in plant design but thoroughly versed in the ISEE IT solution designed, built and backed up the operation of the expanded technological environment at both plants. They did so in a time and charged a fee that foreign specialists required to simply update product documentation.
(2) Under their leadership, four workers without any specialist experience took 9 months to learn a range of high-tech processes, which usually require 25 to 30 highly skilled specialists trained at global companies.
(3) The products manufactured were sent to a renowned specialist laboratory in Germany. Experts there found it hard to believe that products of such type and quality could have been designed and manufactured in Bulgaria.
Implementation site: Battery plant Tungstone, Ryazan, Russia
Unlike other experiments, this one was conducted outside of Bulgaria and without direct use of computer technology, relying solely on knowledge and understanding of its theoretical foundations.
The experiment was initiated by a young Associate Professor at the Russian Academy for the Economy. Within the remit of his professional competence, for years on end he has been making efforts – in the capacity as member of the Board of Directors of a machine building plant – to implement the Japanese Lean Manufacturing philosophy. He ultimately reached the conclusion that the results did not justify the effort invested.
In 2007, together with colleagues from the plant, the associate professor visited the Applied Research Centre of ISEE. There, he saw the second version of the IT solution in action and felt drawn to its theoretical foundations. The intellectual attraction was so great that he convinced the authors of the theoretical foundations to familiarise him in detail with their work and grant him the right to use it in his work as a researcher.
In order to gain a thorough understanding of the theoretical premises and foundations of the IT solutions developed by ISEE, the Associate Professor visited Bulgaria twice, each time for one month, in the summers of 2008 and 2009. At the end of the second visit, he shared his intention to conduct practical experiments in order to test the theoretical knowledge gained by concluding a trust management agreement with a mid-sized Russian plant for the production of car batteries. True to his word, he took full responsibility for the plant for the period from 2010 to 2012.
At the end of 2009, the plant had a headcount of 176 employees, who manufactured between 6 000 and 7 000 car batteries a month worth between EUR 170 000 and 190 000 or approximately EUR 2.1 to 2.3 million per year.
At the end of 2012, the plant had a headcount of 196 employees, who manufactured between 32 000 and 34 000 car batteries a month worth between EUR 900 000 and 1 000 000or approximately EUR 11 to 12 million per year. This means that labour productivity increased more than four times and sales increased almost five and a half times. It is important to note that all investments made over the three-year period came up to less than EUR 1 (one) million.
In a private discussion, the Associate Professor said: ‘I let all economists go. I also changed three accountants and finally found one who was a mathematician. I changed the entire management approach, shifting it away from accountancy and towards engineering.’