|Manufacturing industry is nowadays typified by the strong interdependence among the companies within the supply network, leading to the concept of extended enterprise. This project addresses the supply chain management in this scenario, focussing on co-ordination of manufacturing planning and control activities. It will analyse relevant business processes and develop appropriate methodologies, which will then be implemented through a set of interoperable ICT tools and evaluated in the industry. The aim is to utilise the existing principles for e-commerce and ERP. Flexibility and low cost of ownership will promote adoption by SMEs. The manufacturing companies in the consortium span the electronics and the automotive sectors as the reference scenario. The development will be carried out by research establishments with the direct involvement by an IT solutions specialist, who will also ensure strong exploitation prospects.
The overall objective is to realise co-ordination of manufacturing planning and control in the supply network. The specific objectives may be divided into three categories:
Development of the business logic and methodology, including: co-operative planning based on negotiation, early detection of problems, escalation routes for communication and error correction and plan repair.
Development of ICT tools for the network processes, including: design of a modular and decentralised system architecture, interoperability within the network, utilisation of existing methods for e-commerce.
Development of methodologies for network set-up and support, including: development of new business models such as service arrangements for SMEs, implementation roadmap and training materials and programme.
The project will be led by a large electronics manufacturer whose constituent companies form an internal supply network, as well as being parts of globally distributed supply networks in the automotive, telecommunications and other industries. Another key industrial partner conducts its business along similar principles. The two academic partners who have a proven track record in the field will carry out the majority of the research and development work. Strong involvement by a suitably large software specialist company will ensure technical and commercial relevance of the results and will provide a direct exploitation route. Three key strategies underlie the work plan:
A dual focus on business and ICT innovation - Since the project aims to develop new methodologies for company collaboration on the basis of the opportunities offered by ICT, both areas must stimulate one another. While ICT is the most important enabler for business innovation, the requirements and boundary conditions coming from new business solutions must be reflected in the ICT solution.
A strong development methodology - In order to achieve high quality results in the ambitious time period, a development methodology based on BPR, object-oriented analysis and design, quick iteration cycles, and the greatest deployment of readily available concepts and tools is envisaged.
Emphasis on exploitation during and after the project - The project partners see the project as the chance to translate innovative ideas with considerable market potential into exploitable products and services. Although a complete commercial solution cannot be expected within the project, the gap to commercialisation shall be minimised. This will be achieved by focusing on tangible end products, strong reference cases and formation of interest groups. Dissemination of the project results in exhibitions and in publications is also planned.