A model-driven approach to enabling change capability in SMEs

Tariq Masood, Richard Weston, Aysin Rahimifard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


To sustain competitive performance in dynamic business, technical, economic and social environments, change capability is an essential characteristic property of any small- to medium-sized enterprise (SME). It follows that the business, engineering and production systems deployed by SMEs must be transformable, reconfigurable and interoperable. Likewise the models we deploy to engineer, change and operate SME systems must themselves be transformable, reconfigurable and interoperable. This paper reports on the application of new modelling concepts and modelling methods that are designed to facilitate change capability in SMEs. 'Role' and 'resource' modelling concepts are used in complementary forms to describe the 'how' and 'who' of SME systems in such ways that inherent complexities and change requirements can be faced by managers and engineers responsible for the life cycle engineering of SMEs. With respect to 'role' modelling the paper describes how an extension of standard enterprise modelling techniques can enable the decomposition and formal multi-level of abstraction description of sets of process-oriented roles; such as those required in any specific SME case to realise changing products and services for customers. Regarding resource modelling the paper describes how the 'Dynamic Producer Unit' (DPU) concept enables decomposition and multi-level of abstraction description of people, machine and IT system elements in a coherent manner. The paper goes on to describe a novel method of applying 'role' and 'DPU' concepts. This novel method takes the form of an 'Integrated Production Control Modelling Approach' and a support 'Simulator'. By being based upon 'role' and 'DPU' modelling concepts the 'coherent and flexibly integrated' use of static enterprise models, causal loop models, simulation models and workflow models is facilitated. Finally, the paper exemplifies the use of the IPCMA and IPCMS with reference to the changing requirements and systems of an SME making many types of furniture product with a common set of resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)805-821
Number of pages17
Journal The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology
Issue number1-4
Early online date31 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2013


  • changeability
  • enterprise design
  • enterprise modelling
  • production control
  • responsiveness


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