Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

REMPLANET Report Summary

Project ID: 229333
Funded under: FP7-NMP
Country: Spain

Final Report Summary - REMPLANET (Resilient Multi-Plant Networks)

Executive Summary:
General Information
Project Name: Resilient Multi-Plant Networks (REMPLANET)
Project Reference: EU FP7 PROJECT 229333
Contract Type: Collaborative Project under the NMP-2008-SMALL-2
Duration: May 2009 – April 2012 (36 months)
Project Budget: 3,85 M€
Web: www.remplanet.eu
Contact: Raul Poler – rpoler@cigip.upv.es

Background
A resilient organization has the capability to respond rapidly to unforeseen changes, even chaotic disruption and the ability to bounce back - and, in fact, to bounce forward - with speed, determination and precision.

In recent studies, resilience is regarded as the next phase in the evolution of traditional, place-centric enterprise structures to highly virtualized, customer-centric structures that enable people to work anytime, anywhere. A resilient organization effectively aligns its strategy, operations, management systems, governance structure, and decision-support capabilities so that it can uncover and adjust to continually changing risks, endure disruptions to its primary earnings drivers, and create advantages over less adaptive competitors.

Project Focus
From an organisational point of view, “resilience” has two fundamental dimensions: operational resilience, and strategic resilience. Nowadays, few organizations question the flexibility-agility operational resilience approach, but if renewal is to become continuous and opportunity-driven, rather than episodic and crisis-driven, then companies immersed in an accelerating pace of change also need to embrace an accelerating pace of strategic evolution.
Within the context of machinery and equipment global manufacturing networks, REMPLANET research will consider and balance operational flexibility-agility and strategic innovation-renewal.

Project Objectives
The research objectives of the REMPLANET Project are:

Objective 1 - Strategic REMPLANET Model development. The central objective addresses the strategic aspects implementing and setting up a resilient innovation and production system. In particular, this objective strives for the development of tools, methods, and guidelines to enable enterprises to profit from open innovation along the entire multi-plant value network.

Objective 2 - Operational REMPLANET Model development. Based on different demand scenarios and manufacturing network conditions, alternative supply network configurations and management strategies will be developed to optimize production resources to enable global supply networks to respond robustly on customized market demand scenarios, within required restrictions.

Objective 3 - Integrated REMPLANET Framework development. Integrate the operational and strategic resilience views to provide a framework for establishing clear linkages between organisational strategies for shaping the vision for a collaborative network of users and customers to adjust to constant change and manage renewal with the operational capabilities and mechanisms for managing the pattern of decisions for achieving this vision across a co-operative, dynamically responsive network.

Objective 4 - REMPLANET Simulation and Optimization Decision Support System (DSS). Develop a DSS to computationally implement and validate the Integrated REMPLANET Framework and conduct, for a multitude of operational resilience scenarios and strategic resilience scenarios, systematic and systemic testing of the consequences of multi-plant network dynamic re-configurability.

Objective 5 – REMPLANET SOP4BPM Implementation. Implementation of a Service-Oriented Platform (SOP) for Extended Business Process Management (EBPM). A Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is expected to provide greater business and Information Technology (IT) flexibility by decoupling business process logic from IT implementations.

Research and related tools will be contrasted, validated, and enhanced through empirical cases (Pilots) from different machinery and equipment enterprise networks which have multi-site and multi-nation manufacturing plants, as well as customers distributed around the globe.
The Project results will be disseminated to the widest possible community as well as encouraging active external participation inside the project, and exploited assuring the full commercial potential of the results.

REMPLANET Participants
The REMPLANET Consortium is composed of research groups from different universities and an industrial mass that involves Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as well as large enterprises from Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.

UNIVERSIDAD POLITECNICA DE VALENCIA (SPAIN)
IKERLAN S.COOP. (SPAIN)
RHEINISCH-WESTFAELISCHE TECHNISCHE HOCHSCHULE AACHEN (GERMANY)
THE UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL (UNITED KINGDOM)
SCUOLA UNIVERSITARIA PROFESSIONALE DELLA SVIZZERA ITALIANA (SWITZERLAND)
BIMATEC-SORALUCE FRÄSTECHNOLOGIE (GERMANY)
FESTO AG & CO KG (GERMANY)
VL IDRODINAMICA SRL (ITALY)
GHEPI SRL (ITALY)
KING AND FOWLER LTD (UNITED KINGDOM)
NEWTON INDUSTRIAL GROUP (UNITED KINGDOM)
INSTITUTO TECNOLOGICO DE INFORMATICA (SPAIN)
CENTRO DI RICERCA E INNOVAZIONE TECNOLOGICA SRL (ITALY)

Project Activities
In order to achieve the project objectives, the REMPLANET activities are structured into the following WorkPackages (WPs):

MGT: WP0 Project Management. From month M1 to month M36
RTD: WP1 Strategic REMPLANET Model. From month M1 to month M18
RTD: WP2 Operational REMPLANET Model. From month M1 to month M18
RTD: WP3 Integrated REMPLANET Framework. From month M1 to month M30
RTD: WP4 REMPLANET Simulation and Optimization Decision Support System. From month M12 to month M36
RTD: WP5 REMPLANET SOP4BPM Implementation. From month M8 to month M36
DEM: WP6 Pilots Scenarios. From month M1 to month M36
OTHER: WP7 Dissemination. From month M1 to month M36
OTHER: WP8 Exploitation. From month M1 to month M36

From a Research and Technological Development (RTD) perspective, the Strategic REMPLANET Model has been defined through the technical description and operating (business) model of an open innovation platform for process innovation and a toolkit for user co-design with the checklist and implementation guideline to build an open process innovation platform for mass customization (MCKN – Mass Customization Knowledge Network) platform. Moreover, the Operational REMPLANET Model has been also defined by means the development of an alignment model between the triad PF-P&O-SN (Product Families’ structure - Processes and Operations management strategies - Supply Network structure). The Integrated Resilient Multi-Plant Network model, that effectively coheres product, process and network design, was also developed. Finally, other RTD activities have been developed till the end of the project and they are focused on the supply networks simulation DSS tools state of the art map, the analysis of standards for Enterprise Collaboration, the formal specification for Business Process management Notation (BPMN)-based business processes modelling and the description of the specifications for the SOP4EBPM platform as well as the analysis of the most suitable system open source tools for business process management.

From a demonstration viewpoint, the methodological framework for an effective pilots’ management was defined and the collection of the pilots’ requirements was developed. Moreover, the results generated within the RTD activities of the REMPLANET Proejct were implemented at pilots’ sites.

The dissemination activities of the project were focused on increasing the project visibility not only among the research and academic audience but among the industrial companies with tasks such as the development of the REMPLANET Web site, Press, E-newsletters and presentations in conferences and workshops. Finally, the exploitation actions of the REMPLANET project were focused on the development of the exploitation guidelines, the overall exploitation strategy, and the dimensions for exploitation initiatives characterisation and qualification.

Project Results
Based on the previous activities, the results obtained are the following ones:

- Idea Management Process (IMP) that offers the necessary link between customers and mass customizing companies. The IMP targets the integration of customer ideas and innovations into the new product development process of a company.

- Mass Customization Knowledge Network (MCKN) is an online portal for collaboration of stakeholders in the field of Mass Customization.

- Operational REMPLANET Model (ORM) that aims to represent and integrate the main concepts and relationships to be considered in the strategic design of supply networks when they have to deal with demands of personalized products.

- REMPLANET Workbook (RW) that supports manufacturing companies in establishing which customisation scenario they are operating in using the diagnostic tool and model answers. Moreover, it allows companies to establish where their current practices could potentially be improved and enables a company and its network to move from one scenario to another.

- REMPLANET Simulation and Optimization Decision Support System (DSS), that it is a tool to re-design and innovate a multi-plant network architectural and managerial design., by conducting realistic what-if simulations/optimizations.

- ColNet is a ICT platform aimed at providing a web-based environment where collaborative networks may be created and deployed onto a truly operational environment.

Impact and Exploitation
REMPLANET project results will enable manufacturing enterprise networks to be more competitive in an ever increasing globalised economy, through shorter times for innovation, decision taking and manufacturing processes. Society in general will benefit from having more efficient and effective manufacturing enterprises, which will reduce time and resource waste.

Project Context and Objectives:
The project has general and particular objectives. The first ones are related to the broad-spectrum of the REMPLANET scope, whereas the particular ones are related to specific goals of each WP.

The general objectives have a strategic nature while the particular ones are more operational. For this reason, the first ones are long-term goals and they coincide with the finalization of the development of some WPs. In the first Review of REMPLANET Project at month M18, two WPs had already finished its research tasks, and they were WP1 and WP2.

WP3 finished its research at month M30 (the initial end of this WP was planned at month M24), however an extension of 6 months (from month M24 to month M30) was given for the completion of the REMPLANET Integrated Framework. The extension was used to enhance the existing level of integration between WP2 and WP5. In addition, the extension provided an opportunity to undertake a series of cases to validate the completed framework. Finally, WP4 and WP5 are scheduled to finish in month M36 in parallel with the development of this deliverable.

On the other hand, demonstration activities (WP6) focused on implementing the results generated within the RTD WPs have finished with the testing of methods, guidelines and tools developed in the previous WPs in pilots’ sites. The implementation of REMPLANET results among the industrial partners of the consortium has lead to improve and make more adherent to reality the results generated within the project. Moreover, the companies of the consortium have benefit from the implementation of methods, guidelines and tools that improve their processes and increase their competiveness.

Dissemination activities (WP7) are on-going activities that do not finish with the life cycle of REMPLANET Project as and they will be also performed beyond it in order to give visibility of the REMPLANET results achieved recently to the widest possible community.

Exploitation activities (WP8) will be also performed beyond the end of the REMPLANET project in order to give support to the REMPLANET consortium in Intellectual Property Rights issues and exploitation claims.

The general objectives (defined in the Annex I – Description of Work) of all the WPs are the following ones. Moreover, it is explained the achievements of such objectives.

Objective 1 - Strategic REMPLANET Model development:

The central objective addresses the strategic aspects implementing and setting up a resilient innovation and production system. This objective has a long-term perspective helping companies to prepare and finally make major decisions in setting up their internal capabilities to meet the requirements of the REMPLANET framework. In particular, this objective strives for the development of tools, methods, and guidelines to enable enterprises to profit from open innovation along the entire multi-plant value network.

Within WP1 an operating model, as well as a respective business model, for a web-based platform for open process innovation was developed. For this purpose, a survey was also conducted, which delivered more insights for the concept of the previous result. Based on these learnings, a managerial procedure to help mass customizing companies to make a fair and transparent evaluation of customer ideas and a checklist to support companies (or networks of companies) in the process of realizing their platform concept was developed.

Objective 2 - Operational REMPLANET Model development:

The development of an Operational Resilient Supply Network Model, as well as its tools, methods, and guidelines to help globalised manufacturing organisations to decide where to buy-manufacture-assembly, and how to deliver, the different customized products demanded from different markets, as cheaply and as quickly as possible.

Based on different demand scenarios and manufacturing network conditions, alternative supply network configurations and management strategies will be developed to optimize production resources, including production planning and capacity management to enable global supply networks to respond robustly on customized market demand scenarios, within required restrictions.

The development of the PF-P&O-SN alignment conceptual model, the PF-P&O-SN decoupling point identification toolbox and set of guidelines and the Operational Resilient Supply Network Model and Toolbox (ORM) supported through a web navigation tool are the main WP2 results that corroborate the achievement of the REMPLANET Objective 2.

Objective 3 - Integrated REMPLANET Framework development:

Integrate the operational and strategic resilience views of the global supply networks to provide a framework for establishing clear linkages between organisational strategies for shaping the vision for a collaborative network of users and customers to adjust to constant change and manage renewal with the operational capabilities and mechanisms for managing the pattern of decisions for achieving this vision across a co-operative, dynamically responsive network. This will be achieved, and the REMPLANET integrated framework will be delivered, through the development and prototyping of conceptual strategic alignment models and from the explicit integration of the strategic and operational resilience models.

The REMPLANET Integrated model aims to establish relationships between network type, strategy, operations, collaborative initiatives and relevant KPI measures. The model is based on a set of ten network types adapted from a classification system of customisation networks. Strategic and operational points have then been mapped onto these networks and important collaborative initiatives and KPI measurements will be identified. Such an approach allows for strategic concerns to be closely linked to operational considerations which in turn can be aligned with collaborative initiatives and relevant KPIs.

Objective 4 - REMPLANET Simulation and Optimization Decision Support System:

Develop a Simulation and Optimization Decision-Support System (DSS) to computationally implement and validate the Integrated REMPLANET Framework and conduct, for a multitude of operational resilience scenarios and strategic resilience scenarios, systematic and systemic testing of the consequences of multi-plant network dynamic re-configurability (dynamic networks), as well as about its collaborative design&manufacture dynamics over performance, behavioural patterns and properties (network dynamics).

Simulation and Optimization DSS prototype with the database and its main functionalities have been developed. The Simulation and Optimization DSS prototype has been calibrated and validated through pilots data. To do so, 5 sectorial simulation scenarios have been designed and analysis with the data obtained from the simulation runs has been performed. This has been used to develop the guidelines that include the Conclusions from the previous analysis in the form of sectorial general guidelines or best practices.

Objective 5 – REMPLANET SOP4BPM Implementation:

Implementation of a Service-Oriented Platform (SOP) for Extended Business Process Management (EBPM). A Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is expected to provide greater business and Information Technology (IT) flexibility by decoupling business process logic from IT implementations. REMPLANET SOA4EBPM Platform will provide such expected business and IT alignment for EBPM while, at the same time, Enterprise Processes are also connected by re-usable service-based specifications.

The EBPM approach combined with the service-orientation paradigm will enable to support a fully non-centralized decision making process as is expected to be achieved in non-hierarchical manufacturing networks. Complementarily, this combined approach will enable dynamic and fast-responsive adaptation IT-based organizational mechanisms needed to fully achieve the resilience structure that REMPLANET is proposing.

The ColNet platform (formerly SOP4EBPM) has reached the status of mature prototype where main WP5 objectives have been considered and validated.
Objective 6 – Pilot Scenarios:

The main objective is to connect and organise all the efforts of industrial partners in implementing REMPLANET outputs. In doing this, formal and common procedures will be set up, with the purpose to a) provide industrial partners with common communication and assessment procedures (Methodological framework); b) ease and consolidate feedback from pilot sites (pilots running and reviews); c) process information and transfer them to R&D partners to continuously improve REMPLANET toolset (Pilot running and REMPLANET release).

The tools developed within the REMPLANET Project have been deeply assessed by the industrial partners, who provided hints and advices to research partners on how to refine tools, so that they would better suit their needs and those of industries in general. To do so, a methodology was described and all the consortium followed this methodology to ensure the achievement of good-quality implementations and results.

Objective 7 - Dissemination:

Activities will focus on disseminating of tools, methods, and guidelines from all domains inside the REMPLANET project to the widest possible community as well as encouraging active external participation inside the project. Results will continually be revealed and communicated through a periodic e-newsletter, and the project team will further organize and participate in conferences, workshops, and seminars in important events throughout Europe during and after the course of the project. The most relevant scientific results will be submitted for publication in international scientific journals.

Collaboration with other projects and initiatives beyond the consortium of REMPLANET partners will be encouraged to enrich the body of knowledge at the base of the project. Different dissemination actions will reach out to interested people from different countries, who will receive updated information about the of tools, methods, and guidelines results. The project will make wide use of Internet technologies to spread the knowledge including web logs, webinars, and the project website.

The results generated within the project have been and will be disseminated to the widest possible community using different channels as news in mass media, presentations in conferences and workshops, publication of scientific papers in journals, publication of chapter books. The REMPLANET Web portal has been and will be one of the most important resources to make the information related to the REMPLANET results available to the hugest audience, working also as a central gathering repository of REMPLANET dissemination actions. Moreover, REMPLANET Project has been part of the iNet-IMS initiative, encouraging the research and benefiting from the synergies of other FP7 NMP Projects.

Objective 8 - Exploitation:

The central objective of the exploitation stage is to establish and maintain continuous exploitation activities to make sure that, at any time during the project, the full commercial potential of the results can be realised and are available to project participants and other European SMEs.

The Project will ensure that appropriate knowledge sharing tools and reference documents are available to allow partners to carry out the required exploitation activities. In addition, it will ensure that the REMPLANET procedures are correctly used to identify and describe the intended use of results as they become available. REMPLANET strives to deliver a harmonised description of all project results within the consortium to reduce the “learning curve” of the machinery and equipment enterprises wishing to exploit project results.

A list of Exploitable Results (ERs) was created and the IPR and exploitation claims were defined. The different REMPLANET Consortium members specified their interest for exploitation and their commitment about future work prior exploitation with regard to the ERs list. Checklists were prepared for describing the various ERs, their potential applications and the required competences. WP8 work focused on the development of methodological tools for the assessment of future user feedbacks and the gathering of information about general perception of potential customers, both considering the importance of the issues that REMPLANET exploitation results contribute to solve and the nature of the developed methodologies/tools. Preliminary information about customer requirements that the ERs have to fulfil have been gathered, with a specific focus about the importance of customisation and the way of implementing it as well as the role of ICT solution for supporting efficient mass customisation deployment. Finally, a “promotional” video, quickly and easily explaining to companies and to the more general audience the benefits of the ERs was developed.

Project Results:
Various exploitable results have been developed in the context of the REMPLANET research project. The main goal of these tools is to support and ensure the success of resilient collaborative multi-plant manufacturing networks in current complex markets, caused by the growing globalization that implies higher competition and higher context volatility.

These solutions allow resilient multi-plant networks to succeed through the capacity to adapt rapidly and correctly to so complex and ever-changing scenarios. This is achieved by understanding the customers’ wishes as well as developing and nurturing the specific supply networks allowing to effectively and efficiently deliver value to customers, through an adequate and customized bundle of physical products and services. The REMPLANET results are summarized below.

Summary of the Exploitable Results of REMPLANET Project

Methodological Tools

Mass Customization Knowledge Network (MCKN)

MCKN is an online portal for collaboration of stakeholders in the field of Mass Customization. The platform offers an easy introduction into the topic of mass customization / customer co-creation. Furthermore, the portal has a broad repository of knowledge and e-learning offers. Moreover, the portal connects different stakeholders from different fields. Academia, manufacturers of individualized products and providers of enabling services for mass customization are brought together to form a community that will communicate and exchange information through the platform. Finally, it fosters knowledge exchange between practitioners. Problems on implementing or executing mass customization can be posted for open discussion with the help of forums or mailing lists; other stakeholders can then answer these "questions" and share their experiences. The MCKN has four main objectives (Figure 1).

Objective 1 – Learning opportunity: the online platform provides learning opportunities for mass customization and customer co-creation. Interested visitors can use the platform to learn about mass customization and find out how mass customization could relate to their business. Such learning opportunities have been provided with the help of a wiki.

Objective 2 – Knowledge repository: the core mission of the MCKN platform is to provide a broad knowledge repository in the field of mass customization. As this mass customization knowledge may be documented in highly diverse forms, different ways of accessing the knowledge database have been provided: Academic Papers, Case Studies, Presentations, Trade Journal Articles and Videos.

Objective 3 – Community building: another highly important aspect of the MCKN is building the community. The community keeps a platform alive and needs to be given maximum support. Thus, the platform has a social network character. Users can get in touch with one another. A profile, which contains basic information about a user and a profile picture, are required. Moreover, it is possible for platform members to get in touch by sending friendly requests and writing private messages. To support the scientific aspect of a mass customization community, a discussion forum has been included to enable members to exchange their experiences with like-minded people.

Objective 4 – Enterprise support: one of the foremost goals of the REMPLANET project is to support mass customization companies. The MCKN platform offers enterprise support to interested companies. This is achieved with a collection of worst or best practices, a database of potential service providers, or an audit tool which could help companies to evaluate their own mass customization capabilities. Furthermore, the REMPLANET toolbox, which was conceptualized in WP2, will be integrated into the MCKN platform in order to support mass customization companies.

Idea Management Process (IMP)

The IMP offers the necessary link between customers and mass customizing companies. The IMP targets the integration of customer ideas and innovations into the new product development process of a company. It is supposed to be an efficient and functional process, with which it is possible to evaluate a customer’s idea in every facet and from different points of view that is important for the customer and for the company. As this process has to be suitable for all kinds of customer‘s inputs and different industry settings, the process was designed to be as broadly and generic as possible. The IMP is divided into the phases, gates and stages of Figure 5.

Gate 1: Initial Screen
This gate allows a first estimation of the customer’s idea and gives information about whether the idea is expedient or not. The first gate can be seen as a kick-off for the following process. The idea the customer brings into the workshop is a so called “blue-sky idea”. Such an idea is characterized by having no barriers. Within the first gate, the idea is supposed to be defined in more detail and the participants should agree on the aim of the workshop. The initial screen decides about the direction the customer idea will take in the following. The first phase is supposed to take not more than one day.

The initial gate strongly depends on the customer’s idea itself. Thus, the gate cannot be defined very clearly, because a narrow definition of tasks would spoil the generic character of the IMP. From idea to idea the workshop will have different requirements and the decisions taken in gate one constitute the basis for the following steps. Everything that is decided along the day is based upon the key factors that are defined in this step. Therefore, it is very important that both parties totally agree to what is decided within gate one.

Stage 1: Understanding the customer / Gate 2: Fit to solution space
In stage one an initial understanding of the customer requirements should be established. This stage focuses mainly on the correct understanding of the respective customer needs. Therefore, two main questions need to be answered: “Do we understand the underlying problem of the customer?” and “Is there already an existing solution within this solution space that could be used to address this underlying problem of the customer?

After all parties have agreed on such an initial solution concept including a translation into technical specifications, the manufacturer should compare this result to the existing solution space. It is important for a company to know if such a solution already exists or if the customer might be satisfied with a modified solution out of the company’s existing product range. At the end of this stage, the team, especially the company’s members, need to know what kind of solution the customer wants and which technical aspects might be crucial.

Recommended methods and tools: Benchmarking, Check lists, conjoint analysis, Customer evaluation methods, Kano model, Point rating systems and Quality function deployment.

Stage one is very important for the following gates, but it is settled for only one day. Having passed the first Stage the results move on to gate two that answers the question, whether the concept fits into the company’s solution space or not. It becomes apparent, that the evaluation team has to be well aware of the existing portfolio of the company. If there is a solution, the team has to discuss if the solution can be modified to suit the customer’s idea. If there is no existing solution, the evaluation process has to be continued. The team has to evaluate questions such as “Are special technologies needed for this solution?” or “Is the technology needed totally different from what our company has developed so far or is it just supplementing out technological resources?” Depending on the individual case, the customer’s idea might be a suitable addition to the company’s solution space or not. If the solution should be too far away from the existing portfolio, the IMP has to be stopped at this point. Depending on how the questions above were answered, the process is further evaluated or not. If the results are negative, the customer still has the option to rethink his or her requirements. If the results are positive, the process can go to the next stage, in which the strategic aspects of the customer idea are further evaluated.

Stage 2: Strategic evaluation/ Gate 3: Strategic Fit
The strategic evaluation within stage two and the decision taken within gate three can hardly be divided in two parts. The separation into stages and gates becomes a theoretical necessity at this point of time: Having evaluated the strategic implications of the customer idea at hand, the question concerning the strategic fit of a solution is simply a yes-no-decision. There are several important factors that have to be considered before taking the next step. Relevant factors could be the following: Firstly, it is important to know whether the required solution could cause unintended rivalry. Secondly, it has to be discussed whether the solution fits the company’s core competencies or not. Thirdly, the solution should fit the company’s business area and last, but not least, the solution should support the company’s values and image.

Recommended methods and tools: Check lists, Market potential analysis, Point rating systems and SWOT-Analyse.

All of the issues above should be evaluated in this context. However, not all criteria have to be considered as knock-out criteria and would lead to an immediate abortion of the evaluation process, but the sum of all aspects will be relevant for the go/no-go-decision in this gate. Within gate three, the factors aforementioned should be weighted and summed up to see whether creating a solution would be beneficial or not. It is apparent that the decision within the gate is a yes/no decision. If the customer idea or innovation passes this gate the IMP can move on to phase two.

Stage 3: Idea Assessment
The second phase of the IMP delivers a detailed analysis of the customer idea or innovation. This second phase is limited to a maximum duration of five days, so that the whole evaluation can be completed within one week. The evaluation within phase 2 is an internal process and can be completed without customer interaction. However, after the final decision in gate 4 extensive feedback should be given to the customer.

Phase two mainly consist of stage three, which is a rather important stage that consists of multiple parts. It is the aim of this stage to come to a clear, transparent and fair decision whether the customer idea will be implemented or not. This is especially important for the customer, so he/she can understand the company’s decision. The idea assessment consists of a technical and a commercial assessment; both parts can be divided into three sub-categories again:

• Technical assessment: (i) Technical feasibility, (ii) Supply chain screening, (iii) Resource availability
• Commercial assessment: (i) Cost estimation, (ii) Market potential, (iii) Customer significance

The six assessment phases are interdependent. For this reason it is not possible to define a fixed order for their analysis. The order of analysis always depends on the customer’s requirements. If a customer requires a very cost sensitive solution, the commercial assessment would play a major role within stage 3. If the customer requires the use of a specific material, the assessment of the technological aspects will be of more importance. Subsequently, the customer requirements have to be evaluated at the beginning of stage 3 in order to determine in which order the individual phases of stage 3 will be handled.
Due to the interdependency of the individual assessment phases, it is not possible to implement fixed gates within stage 3. However, there are some aspects within the assessment of stage 3 that are of major importance and these aspects should be implemented as knock-out-criteria. This could be done in the form of mini-gates. Mini-Gates are gates that are not clearly defined within the process, but they can be set to simplify the process of evaluation. Whenever a mini-gate leads to a negative evaluation, the IMP comes to an immediate no-go-decision. For example, the assessment of the technical feasibility could lead to the conclusion that neither the manufacturer, nor any supplier has the technical competences to fulfill the customer requirements. At this point, the process could be stopped immediately, because further evaluation would not make any sense. In this case, feedback would be given to the customer and both parties could try to generate alternatives or agree to not pursue the idea any further.

Recommended methods and tools: Check lists, Point rating systems and Target costing.

Gate 4: Project decision
Gate 4 is the final gate of the idea management process. The six phases of the idea assessment deliver the necessary information for the decision that has to be made at this gate. All assessment results need to be summarized before a final decision can be made. The final go/no-go-decision could be made based on the individual characteristics of the customer idea and its evaluation process. However, this would be a very subjective approach and would not fulfil the requirements of the IMP that were stated above: the process was developed to allow a fair and transparent evaluation process. Therefore, it would be more useful to apply an evaluation method that treats each customer idea identically. Ideally this system would award points for certain characteristics of an innovative idea and these points just need to be summed up in the end. If the sum of points exceeds a certain pre-defined limit the project idea should be accepted; if the project does not score enough points the project idea has to be rejected.

Recommended methods and tools: Check lists and Point rating systems.

Customer feedback
Before the project starts or is rejected, the customer has to receive feedback, so that the assessment team can explain the evaluation results to the respective customer. As it is the most important goal of the IMP to guarantee a fair and transparent evaluation, this customer feedback is a very important aspect of the whole process. The customer should be able to comprehend every single step in the company’s evaluation. The customer should feel treated fairly by the company and needs to be satisfied with the valuation process. If this was not the case, the customer would be discouraged to submit more ideas.

Operational REMPLANET Model (ORM)

The Operational REMPLANET Model (ORM) aims to represent and integrate the main concepts and relationships to be considered in the strategic design of supply networks when they have to deal with demands of personalized products. The strategic character of this kind of decisions is closely linked to the corporate strategy. Involved decisions guide supply network policies from a design perspective and are made typically over a longer time horizon. This is the reason why the model provides approximate solutions for the supply network configuration.

The ORM includes a conceptual model, toolbox, and guidelines, for facilitating the alignment between products'-processes'-supply networks' configurations in order to respond to customized market demands at the lowest possible cost and time.

The ORM consists of five main components:

• ORM Problems
Nine ORM Problems related to strategic decisions that directly affect to supply networks’ design have been defined. This list of problems is the result of aggregating the twenty-seven research problems identified as a result of work done in REMPLANET Project. Two objectives were pursued with the preparation of this list:
(i) to reduce the large number of existing research problems for their easier addressing within the ORM and,
(ii) to provide industrial organizations with a structured and clear overview of problems from a more realistic viewpoint.

• ORM Concepts
Twenty-three ORM Concepts have been defined. Concepts defined in the PF-P&O-SN alignment model such as customer profiles, demand characterization, market strategies, mass customization typologies, generic product and process structures, supply network structures, matching and negotiation rules or network planning strategies constitute the main contents of this ORM component. Order fulfilment strategies and decoupling points are the two new concepts incorporated as a result of the research work performed in task T2.2.

• ORM Building Blocks
Five ORM Building Blocks make up the backbone of the Operational REMPLANET Model being ordered following the sequence of stages included in the order fulfilment process, that is: Order generation -> Order Instantiation -> Order Promising -> Order Planning -> Order Execution. ORM Concepts are sequentially incorporated through their corresponding ORM building block as the order advance through the process. Information of every order is used and evaluated by each concept joining new information until the process finishes. Depending on the characteristics of each ORM problem to consider, participation of ORM Building Blocks and ORM Concepts is variable.

• ORM Toolbox
Eight key major issues (Toolbox Research Issues –TRI) have been established based on a literature research. Through them, companies can get in a structured way up to fifty-five references to the literature with relevant information to address the ORM Problems. Additionally, a guideline with a set of relevant factors, application rules and recommendation practices for identifying the right order fulfilment strategy and the type and position of customer order decoupling point (CODP) within a supply network is available. Sixteen business scenarios are considered.

• ORM KPIs
Six ORM KPIs: (i) Manufacturing Lead Time, (ii) Delivery Time, (iii) Service Level, (iv) Resource Utilisation, (v) Stock level and (vi) Costs, have been introduced to measure the performance of the supply network as a result of the execution of the fulfilment process.
Moreover, a web-based tool has been developed to provide a proof of concept in order to check its validity and facilitate its comprehension and access by potential users. Therefore, this tool serves to navigate the proposed model, accessing its different items in a friendly way, allowing users to go from one concept to each other it has a relationship with.
The ORM web tool follows a qualitative approach that can be extended, and complemented, with a quantitative tool such as the DSS. The DSS allows simulating-optimizing the proposed solutions coming from the analysis over different key performance indicators of the company.

REMPLANET Workbook (RW)

The aim of the workbook is to support users with decision-making in collaborative supply chain networks by demonstrating how the effective execution of appropriate sales, production and supply chain policies within and between network partners can be used to support the efficiency of the processes associated with the management of product variety.

The workbook provides a diagnostic tool based on product behaviour, operations and strategic characteristics, and collaborative working practices, in order to classify users as one of eleven network types. These eleven networks were based on the network classification set developed and provide an extension to the 8 network types in Poulin et al’s., (2006) personalisation framework. Each network type in this guide has an associated template providing pertinent information on:
- Network design.
- Operational considerations.
- Key information flows.
- Collaborative initiatives.
- Customisation / variety enablers.
- Key performance indicators.

The template acts as a reference architecture which can be used to demonstrate how the characteristics and attributes of that particular network can be used in order to manage its commitment to the provision of product variety and customisation.
In addition, explanations are provided on how transitions can be made from one network type to another, and a series of cases demonstrates how the workbook has been used by a number of different manufacturing companies doing business in a range of different networks.

Software Tools

REMPLANET Simulation and Optimization Decision Support System (DSS)

Introducing the DSS
Due to the high level of interdependence between the supply network constituent elements, their inherent material-information feedback loop flows, non-linearities, and delays, supply networks have been recognized not only as systems but also as a complex adaptive system. It is difficult to understand complex systems and make changes to globally improve their performance without a model of the system, therefore, in order to make informed decisions, decision makers must have a holistic view of all the elements that affect the planning, design, production and delivery of their product. They must be able to understand, estimate, and project their business supply network performance.

The use of a modelling approach gives insights into both the behaviour of a supply network and the implications of product and process design changes. This can be used as an aid for managers as the basis of improved decision making. Along a literature research performed it was shown that simulation modelling provides the flexibility to model processes and events to the desired level of complexity, in a risk free, dynamic and stochastic environment. It provides the essential level of realism and utility required to model supply chain environments accurately. Therefore, simulation has been proved as a versatile and powerful tool for approaching the study of supply networks’ configurations, dynamic behaviour, and performance, in different conditions and environments.

DSS main agents and collaboration schema
The DSS is an agent based simulation-optimization tool, being its main agents the following ones:

- The SUPPLYCHAIN agent is the main agent that contains all the other network agents. These agents collaborate to enable the Supply Chain to execute the process from receipt of a customer order until the customized product is delivered to the customer. The SUPPLY CHAIN agent creates the network of agents and registers the response indicators in a KPI structure. The most significant KPIs are the response time and the sum of fixed and operating costs.
- The MARKET agent contains the market operating rules for market areas, customer types and sales percentages according to product requirements. This agent characterises the type of order.
- The SALES POINT agent is the point at which the product orders are created in accordance with the rules defined in the MARKET.
- The COORDINATOR agent decides when and how a Customer order will be responded to. It also supervises order execution from receipt of the order to customer delivery and updates the strategy indicators defined in the KPI-s structure (Customer service strategies used, etc.)
- The CUSTOMER ORDER agent is an internal agent of the COORDINATOR which executes the order in accordance with the network instance selected by the coordinator and, finally, supervises the customer order evolution.
- The set of PLANT NODES agents make up the production nodes (suppliers, fitters, manufacturers, warehouses) that produce the customized product for each customer order. The Coordinator is the agent that decides which Plant NODES will be involved in each customer order (selected network instance).
- The set of ITEMS agents simulate the functioning of the materials making up the product with regard to replenishment strategies.

Their dynamic collaboration schema can be briefly summarized in the following six steps:

1. The MARKET agent uses its market knowledge to suggest the customer orders to be created with a particular characterisation: market area, customer type and requirements of the desired product. The MARKET agent can work with order generation rules or sets of historical orders. On the basis of this data, the MARKET agent commands the SALES POINT agent to generate a customer order with the characteristics of the proposed order.
2. The SALES POINT agent generates the order from the data received from the MARKET agent and the SALES POINT’s own data, sets a response time and a target price and, lastly, sends the customer order to the network’s COORDINATOR agent.
3. The COORDINATOR agent determines when and how (supply network instance) the customer order will be responded to, on the basis of a list of pre-defined customer service strategies or by calling the Optimizer. When the network instance (Plant Nodes agents) that will produce this product has been decided, it calculates the launch date (according to the delivery date and the current network load) and, lastly, it places it in the launch queue. When it is time for it to be launched, it creates the CUSTOMER ORDER so that it can execute and follow up the customer order. The COORDINATOR agent will perform the overall follow-up on the basis of the data obtained from each CUSTOMER ORDER agent.
4. The CUSTOMER ORDER agent generates the sub-orders for each of the PLANT NODES involved in executing a customer order and sends these sub-orders to each of the nodes (suppliers, manufacturers, fitters, warehouses, etc.). The sub-Orders (Node Orders) contain data for the reference to produced by each plant node, and the destination Plant node that is to receive the product produced. The CUSTOMER ORDER agent also performs regular follow-up of the customer order execution on the basis of the data sent by each of the Plant Nodes (“Notify Node Order Status”).
5. The NODES PLANT agents produce and customize the customer’s end product and the last NODES PLANT sends the end product to the SALES POINT agent. Each of the NODES PLANTS, on completing their task, and the SALES POINT agent, on receiving the end product, inform the CUSTOMER ORDER agent of the execution status, indicating the completion date for each task.
6. On completion of the customer order, the CUSTOMER ORDER agent updates the KPIS-s associated with the customer order (delivery time and direct costs for a customer order). The COORDINATOR agent also receives the information on customer order evolution and updates the global KPIS-s in the network.

DSS management purpose
REMPLANET’s Simulation and Optimization Decision Support System, the DSS, is a tool to re-design and innovate a multi-plant network architectural and managerial design. This is done by conducting realistic what-if simulations/optimizations of the alignment between the triad products'-processes'-global supply networks' configurations, with regard to the characteristics of product orders.

For instance, based on different network conditions (e.g. capacity constraints, suppliers lead times, internal processes lead times, inventory levels, means of transport, supplier location, manufacturing units, distribution centres...) and customised demand scenarios, alternative and optimal global multi-plant network configurations, strategies and policies, can be identified in terms of response performance (cost and time).

The DSS is designed to deal in a quantitative manner with the following nine strategic and tactical interrelated issues:

1. Appraising demand scenarios for the current supply network.
2. Designing and configuring supply networks to provide customised products.
3. Evaluating alternatives for a new site location.
4. Setting strategies to deal with different customer behaviours resulting from market changes.
5. Setting criteria to balance the supply network capacity to meet demand variations.
6. Establishing inventories’ position and replenishment policies in the supply network.
7. Defining the planning period and number of planning points of the supply network.
8. Setting order fulfilment strategies for each family product.
9. Identifying and positioning the type of customer order decoupling point (CODP) in the supply network.

“The DSS tool helps us very much to identify optimal customer service strategies, i.e. alternative configurations of the supply network to supply each product family based on market specific requirements associated with each one. In the past we have managed this problem in an intuitive form, whereas with the DSS tool we can quantitatively understand the consequences of allocating each component of the product-process structure between the different elements of the supply network… giving sense to our decisions regards what suppliers should be selected to supply which product components, where to manufacture and assemble each product component and where to store finish products in the distribution centres” - BIMATEC-SORALUCE-

ColNet

Introducing ColNet
Companies being part of Resilient Networks require gaining access to reliable, secure and timely information, to share a minimal set of data to their partners and to properly react to external events raised by others network members. In achieving those goals, inter-organizational systems interoperability and integration becomes a critical issue. In this context, the ColNet Service Oriented Platform was implemented inside the REMPLANET Project.

ColNet combines service orientation and business process management capabilities in order to support operational requirements of Resilient Networks. In doing it so, ColNet is taking advantage of complementary developments carried out inside other REMPLANET workpackages.

The platform was designed mainly for operational purposes, supporting: a) the process of configuring a suitable network for managing orders coming from outside the network and, b) the coordination of the different participants involved in the production process of each accepted order.

Therefore, in this context, ColNet supports the operational model defined in WP2. This model, was in fact, an alignment model for the triad PF-P&O-SN (product families’ structure - processes and operations management strategies - supply network structure) with regard to the characteristics of product orders, i.e. volume, number of variants, uncertainty in demand, product life cycle length, lead-time accepted, etc, from a mass customization perspective. One of its main purposes was to address the characterization and analysis of companies and networks that decide to be involved in Mass Customization scenarios.

Moreover, this network configuration process was also based on the results of WP3, where an integrated framework of Strategic and Operational REMPLANET models was proposed. Then, ColNet enables configuring the most relevant network topologies used in Mass Customisation Scenarios defined in WP3.

ColNet Overview
ColNet is a service-oriented and business process management-based platform that supports a fully non-centralized decision making process, as is expected to be achieved in non-hierarchical manufacturing network. Complementary, this platform will enable dynamic and fast-responsive adaptation of IT-based organizational mechanisms needed to fully achieve the resilience structure that REMPLANET is proposing.

This platform will based on open standard tools and international standards will put a special emphasis in the collaborative business process modeling for Resilient Multi-Plant Networks of the manufacturing sector, and their corresponding translation to executable representations. Moreover, it will take advantage of interoperable services as a way of facilitating collaboration and coordination in the whole network context.

The main functional components of the ColNet platform are depicted in Figure 12.

ColNet will be composed by four main modules, which are:

? Resilient Network Configuration Module – This module supports the definition of networks, introducing network members and their related information about products, infrastructures and capacities which is necessary for establishing possible relationships among them.
? Order Management System Module – This system allows network members to handle and manage orders received from external clients, deciding which is the suitable configuration network for serving it.
? Open Source BPMS Engine Module – Through the BPMS, network members can coordinate their efforts working collaboratively at network process level. The processes here defined and deployed will serve for allowing members to work collaboratively in different production configurations.
? ColNet Thin Client – This client will be deployed on each enterprise and will allow network members to interact with the different services provided by the ColNet.

This architecture will enable networks of enterprises to react in a coordinated way when facing varying market needs, by adapting itself in the most suitable way for different production conditions.

REMPLANET Combination of Exploitable Results

These solutions can be used in a standalone way by network companies solving specific problems. But besides this possibility, these solutions have been designed and implemented with the aim to be complementary, in order to obtain significant synergies from their combined use providing to the manufacturing industries networks better user experiences and higher returns of investment.

Many different possible result combinations arise; some of them can be already implemented while others require further developments and the definition of specific new business models. Depending on the typology of tools a different degree of integration is required. The existence of a common glossary and of a comprehensive integrated strategy ensures the combined use of the methodological tools. On the other hand, the combined use of the software tools requires a stronger level of integration, for this reason a strong information exchange took place among the various software development teams in order to ensure their compatibility. Nevertheless, a full integration is beyond the scope of the REMPLANET project and will be achieved, if required only after the project end thanks to further development efforts. Whether a full integration will be reached depends on the identified exploitation strategies and in any case requires that both tools reach a higher maturity level.

Below some of the potential combined uses are highlighted, they have been selected thinking about the typical problems that companies being part of collaborative networks have to solve.

IMP + MCKN

The objective here is to understand Mass Customisation and applying its principles, exploiting the knowledge and expertise provided by the MCKN platform, in the definition of the product solution space also thanks to a stronger involvement of customers, achieved using the IMP. This combination based on the IMP and MCKN tools will lead to products and process designs that will better fit client requirements and will allow enterprises to be wholly aligned with the Mass Customisation paradigm.

The customers are integrated in a structured and transparent way into the enterprise innovation management process through IMP tool. During the product development phase both the manufacturing company and its customers can take inspiration from the knowledge made available by the MCKN in order to fully profit of Mass Customisation advantages. Moreover, the use of the MCKN platform ensures that the manufacturer and the customers share the same MC glossary and are aware about MC best practices. Thus, customers’ requirements can be considered from the very beginning in the innovation process while aligning the innovative process with mass customization approaches. Therefore, the resulting products can meet individual customer's needs while precious hints are also gathered about the associated manufacturing processes required for achieving near mass production efficiency.

ORM + RW

The RW support manufacturing network managers to take strategic decisions, such as to identify the most suitable type of MC and the relative reference network structure to be deployed. The knowledge and best practices of the RW, dealing with strategic decisions, are fully complementary with those of the ORM, which deals with operational aspects. The combined use of these tools allows to simultaneously tackle all management decision levels (strategic, tactical, operational) defining which is the best strategy to adopt and the associated network configuration for satisfying the requirements of customized markets as well as identifying which internal processes better support the selected strategy and better fit the current network configuration. This allows to qualitatively design resilient and efficient manufacturing networks.

IMP + MCKN + ORM + RW

The combination of all methodological and knowledge based tools of REMPLANET project will provide experts and manufacturing network managers with: a) knowledge to develop capacities for defining coherent strategies derived from reference models, b) methodologies for involving customers in the innovation process while considering their need from the very beginning, c) the alignment of its innovation and design process with mass customization approaches d) guidelines for configuring the manufacturing network in the most suitable way for better supporting the selected levels of product variety and product customisation when defining the network strategy and designing products.

This combination of the methodological and knowledge based REMPLANET tools allows the alignment of the strategy and the configuration of the manufacturing supply network taking into account the specificities of the MC product solution space, designed in collaboration with the customers using the open innovation processes provided by the IMP. Therefore, the resulting network strategy and configuration will better support the selected policies of product variety and product customisation obtained in the collaborative innovation process where also the customers are involved.

ORM + RW + DSS

The combined use of ORM and RW allows to define suitable manufacturing network structures and management rules as well as MC strategies. However, these suggestions are mainly qualitative and do not take explicitly into account the effects of variability and uncertainties. A step further in the design and validation of a suitable manufacturing network configuration can be achieved if it is also applied the DSS tool. The knowledge gathered by ORM and RW tools is used for modelling potential network configurations and describing the market scenarios in which they have to operate. The performance achieved by the various configurations is assessed analysing these quantitative models thanks to the DSS simulation and optimization tool. The use of ORM and RW for supporting the definition of MC strategies and manufacturing network configurations ensure the probability that only useful models are analysed using the DSS. Therefore, for network managers this becomes a really interesting combination for improving the quality of their simulations and optimizations for enhancing at last the overall process of decision taking. The DSS tool is particularly suitable for analysing non-hierarchical manufacturing networks, because it has been developed taking into account the specificities of such types of networks, both in terms of modelling framework and templates and of performance measurement.
Moreover, this combination of tools has two fold objectives. Academics can use the DSS to validate and refine their conclusions with regard to: a) decide which network configurations better support different policies of product variety and customisation, and b) determine the accuracy of the reference model and its proposed strategies for supporting mass customisation. Thanks to DSS industry can check the suitability of their possible strategies and network configurations before deploying them in their network allowing them to improve their decision-taking process.

ORM + RW + ColNet

ColNet solution incorporates concepts and approaches developed in the context of the ORM and RW results, supporting their deployment in real industrial applications. Therefore, network managers can apply and use the expertise obtained through the ORM and RW tools when configuring networks of enterprises and defining the associated extended business processes in ColNet. For this reason, a straightforward synergy arises among them.

ORM can be used by network managers for developing coherent strategies derived from reference models based on products'-processes'-supply networks' alignment that can later be implemented through the ColNet tool in order to respond to customized market demands at the lowest possible cost and time. Later, these strategies can be refined with the diagnostic RW tool which can help network managers to identify the network type in which they are currently operating and its suitability with regard to two factors: product variety and product customisation. Additionally, RW will aid network managers in the process of configuring their network, strategy and operations to better support the desired level of product variety and customisation.

Once strategic and operational decisions are identified applying ORM and RW, ColNet tool become a winning enabler for defining the network strategies and support them through the ColNet solution. This implies the creation of the network (involving various real companies), the assignment of roles, the definition of the management rules and the implementation of message/information exchange mechanism.

DSS + ColNet

These two ICT tools can work together in several ways in order to provide better approaches to configure and handle networks of enterprises. In fact, this collaboration can work in a bidirectional way:

? the DSS can provide information to the ColNet platform about the more suitable network configurations for each network of enterprises, using later this configuration for defining their internal business processes,

? and the ColNet platform can provide actual and updated information about process execution statistics to the DSS in order to improve the quality of the data used to perform its simulations and optimizations.

As it can be seen, these tools are very complementary, and the outputs of each one are very useful as inputs for the other tool.

In the former case, as aforementioned, the DSS can provide two different types of inputs to ColNet. On one hand, after a simulation and optimization process, it can provide some proposals of default network configuration to be used in ColNet when configuring a network of enterprises. The idea in this case is to configure the network in the most suitable way for standard conditions, default configuration, allowing the network to work in the most fruitful way and having some alternatives for special products. On the other hand, providing proposals of network configurations for manufacturing specific incoming orders to be served by the network. This approach should be used when the incoming orders present high deviations among them resulting in very different network configurations without the possibility of assuming the existing of a default configuration. Later, these network proposals can trigger a process of network instantiation in a per order basis. This instantiation process enables enterprises to decide in a descendent order of configuration suitability which is the first feasible network process configuration to adopt for serving the order.

In the second case, ColNet process execution, based on a defined network configuration, will generate data that can be used in order to monitor the quality of the established processes, perform process re-engineering and improve the accuracy of the data used in DSS simulation and optimization processes. Then DSS will be able to generate better network configuration proposals as long as the data inputs will come from real executions.

Thus, as it can be seen the cocktail based on DSS and ColNet is a powerful combination to improve the efficiency and efficacy of the manufacturing network.

Combination of all the REMPLANET Results

The combination of all REMPLANET tools is a very strong recipe for success as long as it covers all the edges required for supporting resilient multi-plant networks design and management. This covers from the innovation process which is opened to customer participation, aligning it with mass customisation approaches, going through the establishment of the network strategy and configuration arriving to the support for the associated manufacturing processes. In parallel, all decisions with regard to network configuration and processes can be simulated and optimized through DSS for ensuring that the best decisions are taken. Finally, these network configurations can be deployed in ColNet, which will later allow the execution of their processes guiding network members through the whole process. The REMPLANET integrated solution implies can be applied by companies thinking about radical modifications of their strategy that imply MC introduction. In this sense, these companies start from scratch, and thus need to:

? collect general information about MC (using the MCKN platform)
? involve their customers in the definition of the new product solution space (IMP)
? define their MC strategy (RW) and operational rules (ORM)
? identify suitable network configurations (DSS)
? create the network and managing it (ColNet)

Potential Impact:
In the previous section, the different exploitable results developed within REMPLANET Project have been described. These exploitable results were implemented in different industrial partners, members of the REMPLANET consortium in order to test the results obtained and with the objective to improve or redefine them. Moreover, the industrial partners analyzed the impact of the implementation of the different results.

Two different analyses were performed with regard the REMPLANET exploitable results:

- Qualitative analysis. The different industrial partners were interviewed and they expressed their impressions about the implementation of the REMPLANET Exploitable Results. With their contribution, a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis was performed in order to asses the potential impact of each REMPLANET Project output.

- Quantitative analysis. Three factors to be analyzed were defined: costs, quality and time. Depending on the exploitable result assessed, different metrics of the previous three factors were measured.

The results obtained through the qualitative analysis are shown in the following per exploitable result (more information in deliverable D8.3, REMPLANET-WP8-D8.3, 2012):

MCKN
MCKN makes easier for companies to understand MC principles and to implement MC structures. The result is important because it answers the company’s needs and it is seldom used. The tool answered the company needs.

Table 1: SWOT Analysis of MCKN

Strength
• A database is implemented on the platform, containing the latest articles, studies and best practices around MC topics.
• A communication platform is provided to experts from a research environment and from industry to go into open exchange.

Opportunity
• Create new networks for the company.
• Find strong partners regarding research and business activities.

Weakness
-

Threat
• The open character might be seen as a threat for companies who share their knowledge on the platform. Competitors may take advantages of this source.

IMP
The tool described is not a software. The Idea Management Process (IMP) is an evaluation toolkit embedded to a process.

Table 2: SWOT Analysis of IMP

Strength
• Standardized evaluation of ideas coming from customers.
• Standardized documentation of ideas, which are available in a database for later use.

Opportunity
• Close contact with the customer and the latest innovative topics on the specific market.
• Reduction of failed projects.

Weakness
• Strong standardization (checklists, idea database,…) may block creativity in idea development process.
• Strongly formalistic approach may lead to rejection of ideas with high potentials.

Threat
• Accidentally presenting much company internal knowledge to the outside.

ORM
ORM is a guided path to evaluate company’s network.

Table 3: SWOT Analysis of ORM

Strength
• It is very attractive as tool of consulting for the resolution of the different problems that appear in the company.
• Detailed description of both daily and strategic scenarios.
• It contains a lot of information on numerous topics that are of interest.
• It shows approaches that are relevant to particular problems.

Opportunity
• The utilization of these concepts and tools is not easy to copy for Asian competitors.
• Identification of potential and innovative situations to face and to meet customers’ needs.
• To find answers to problems facing the company.

Weakness
• A basic knowledge of mass customization concepts is needed.
• Academic language and approaches are sometimes difficult for companies to understand.
• Can take some time to find relevant information.

Threat
• Too theoretical approach.

RW
RW is a methodological book with some questionnaires that evaluates the results from a technological point of view.

Table 4: SWOT Analysis of RW

Strength
• Easy to understand and implement with limited help.
• It explains a lot of the academic terms.
• Improved customer service.
• Lower stock holdings.
• Improved product quality.

Opportunity
• It suggests ways companies can improve their operations and the way they work with partners.
• It shows how to monitor the performance of their network
• It expands product varieties without changing production processes or increasing stock levels.

Weakness
• When the industrial partners were looking at the guide, there was a lack of case studies; however their use of it became one of the case studies.
• More difficult production operation.

Threat
-

DSS
The result is important because it helps to change production scheduling and planning, but also design and production of some products. The competitiveness can be improved by the result because it reinforces the delivery dates reliability and order fulfilment.

Table 5: SWOT Analysis of DSS

Strength
• Possibility of simulating different scenarios and variables in a short time for strategic and tactical decisions.
• Very important to optimize production process and reduce costs.

Opportunity
• The utilization of this tool is not possible for the Asian competitors
• It ensures dialogue with company Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES).
• It ensures optimization to all company processes.

Weakness
• It is necessary a previous work of supply information to the system that it is very laborious and complex.
• Not fully integrated with company MES.

Threat
• It is not possible to use the tool for companies alone. They need the help of an expert (research partner).
• It needs to train operator.
It needs to take into account several processes to ensure overall optimisation.

ColNet
The result is important because it helps to change purchasing, suppliers’ selection, and comprehensive communication inside the supply network. The competitiveness can be improved by improving process efficiency.
With a daily use, ColNet answers the industrial needs.

Table 6: SWOT Analysis of ColNet

Strength
• A new way to trace technical information and offers, it makes the process, more efficient and effective.
• Faster Order Management Process, modern procedures.

Opportunity
• Higher transparency and comparability in suppliers offers.
Real time communication between nodes of the supply chain, computerized phases instead of circulation of sheets of paper.

Weakness
• Suppliers must be taught to use it, and most of the suppliers of one of the industrial partners are in China.
Alignment with the existing Information Systems (IS).

Threat
• If it needs to be adapted/updated this requires the help of a SW developer as partner.
Unavailability of some users (ex. customers).

In order to study the benefits of the REMPLANET Exploitable results in a more detailed way, a complete study was performed comparing the impact indicators initially defined in REMPLANET Annex I –Dow (2009) with the values obtained after the implementation of the REMPLANET results. This analysis is thoughtfully described in the Pilots’ Implementation deliverables:

- REMPLANET-WP6-D6.8, (2012).
- REMPLANET-WP6-D6.9, (2012).
- REMPLANET-WP6-D6.10, (2012).
- REMPLANET-WP6-D6.11, (2012).
- REMPLANET-WP6-D6.12, (2012).
- REMPLANET-WP6-D6.13, (2012).

The following sections show an overview of the evolution of the quantitative impact indicators before and after the implementation of the REMPLANET Results:

FESTO Implementation (MCKN + IMP)

The following table summarizes the progress beyond the impact indicators after the use of the MCKN and the implementation of IMP in FESTO:

Table 7: FESTO Impact Analysis

Cost
- Cost of failure due to many iterations in solution definition (trial-and-error)
o Reduction by 25% (target)
o -25% (March 2012)

Quality
- Number of orders not fulfilled (change of provider by customer) due to missing options in solution space
o Reduction of 10% (target)
o -10% (March 2012)
- Customer satisfaction (multi-dimensional measurement scale in place, including loyalty, retention, WTP, referral potential)
o Increase by 25%(target)
o +25% (March 2012)

Time
- Reduction in contract preparation and execution time
o NA(target)
o -20% (March 2012)

The Idea Management Process (IMP) has contributed to reduce the cost of failure due to the IMP evaluates every customers’ idea in the same way, so that the idea evaluation becomes fair and transparent for customers.

From a quality point of view the IMP reduces the number of orders not fulfilled since it supports practitioners in matching the respective process steps of the IMP with suitable methods and tools and moreover both results IMP and MCKN contribute to increase the customer satisfaction. The MCKN provides a collection of worst or best practices, a database of potential service providers, and an audit tool which will be very useful for the daily operation of the enterprises. MCKN provides added value because it increases the perceived satisfaction by the customers.

Finally, the time is also reduced since IMP is a very well defined methodology to integrate customer ideas and innovations into the business process and the MCKN provides an excellent way to support mass customization companies.

VL Idrodinamica Implementation (ORM + ColNet)

The following table summarizes the situation of the impact indicators after the implementation of ORM and ColNet in VL Idrodinamica:

Table 8: VL Impact Analysis

Cost: Effective management of increased products codes
o No. of new production lines (+30%) (Target)
o 10 production lines (March 2012)
o No. of new product patterns (+30%) (Target)
o 53 patterns of finished products (March 2012)

Quality: Evolution of back office activity
o Introduction of Supply chain management. (Target)
o Management of foreign suppliers. (March 2012)
o Cash flow management. (Target)
o Advanced tools allow efficient performances in the back office activities to support the production, the supply and the communication with external actors (March 2012)

Time: Time efficiency in orders fulfilment
o Improvement (target)
o Integration of advanced tools with the existing ones allow the faster and automatic procedures (March 2012)
o Time reduction in orders fulfilment (- 20%) (target)
o - 2,6 days/order (March 2012)

With regards to costs, the expected result, related both to new supply management competences developed through ORM and the use of a more advanced tool for order management (ColNet), is achieved through a higher capacity to manage a complex production scenario, with different options, production lines and finished products.

From a quality viewpoint, the evolution towards a process where communication with external actors and with the production lines is managed in a more efficient, automated way, has been accomplished. This is related basically to the implementation of the ColNet platform, and it is expected to represent the starting point of a progression that will involve the highest possible numbers of clients and partners in VL’s network.

Finally, with regard to time, effective, quicker and smoother order management procedures lead to shorter lead time. This is well explained in the improved figures with regard to lead time in order fulfilment, which decreased from 3,6 to 2,6 average days/order.

BIMATEC Implementation (ORM + DSS)

The following summarizes the situation of the impact indicators after the implementation of ORM and DSS in BIMATEC:

Table 9: Expected and achieved BIMATEC impacts within REMPLANET

Cost – Reduction
- Stocks level (Stock turnover)
o Ra= 4 (March 2009)
o Ra=3,5 (March 2012)
o -12,5% (Achievement)

- Logistics costs (% Logistic costs / Turnover)
o 2,56% (March 2009)
o 2,44% (March 2012)
o -0,11% (Achievement)

- Total supply network cost (2009 Cost = 100%)
o 100% (March 2009)
o 101% (March 2012)
o +1% (Achievement)

Quality – Improvement
- Delivery reliability (Customer survey)
o 69% (March 2009)
o 75% (March 2012)
o +6% (Achievement)

- Customer service level (Customer survey)
o 62% (March 2009)
o 73% (March 2012)
o +11% (Achievement)

Time – Reduction
- Production lead-time (Days)
o 210 (March 2009)
o 189 (March 2012)
o -10% (Achievement)

- Delivery time (Days)
o 119 (March 2009)
o 84 (March 2012)
o -29% (Achievement)

With regard to costs, both stock level and logistics costs decreased, as it was expected, also thanks to the improvements brought by the ORM web tool and the DSS tool. The modularity strategy implemented by BIMATEC, on the other hand, determined the need for a higher stock, thus partially reducing this benefit. From the total supply network cost viewpoint, an increase has been recorded, which, while being of minor entity, is somehow going against the expected project impact. The main reason for this effect has to be found in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rise by 6,2% in the last 3 years, an increase which seemingly compensated the reduction generated by a better management of BIMATEC supply network.

Quality has been assessed by observing the results of a Customer Survey taken every year at BIMATEC, which has shown improvements as expected both with regard to Delivery Reliability (+6%) and with regard to Customer Service level (+11%).

Finally, also the time dimension has shown the expected improvements. Reduction was estimated both with regard to production lead time and delivery time, and this punctually occurred, by 10% and 29% respectively. These effects can also be attributed to the improvement in supply chain and process management (i.e. more appropriate order fulfillment strategies) brought in by the ORM web tool and the use of the DSS tool to simulate scenario and support strategic decisions.

KING & FOWLER Implementation (ORM + RW)

The following table summarizes the situation of the impact indicators after the implementation of ORM and RW in KING & FOWLER:

Table 10: Expected and achieved K&F impacts within REMPLANET

Cost- Production Costs
o Reduced or maintained at their current levels while resource utilization is enhanced (target)
o Costs maintained at roughly the same level (Achievement)
Quality
- Throughput optimisation
o Development of a formal, collaborative co-manufacturing strategy (Target)
o No co-manufacturing strategy in place (March 2009)
o Agreements with customers and suppliers in place (March 2012)

- Customers service level adherence
o Pass 90% (Target)
o 86% core customers (March 2009)
o 90% core (March 2012)

- Productivity
o Superior to 3% (Target)
o 2.84 (March 2009)
o 3.12 (March 2012)

Costs have been maintained at the same level, whereas the resource utilization increased, thus ensuring a higher efficiency of K&F’s processes. A co-manufacturing strategy, based on transparency, KPIs and high visibility throughout the supply network, has been put in place.

This, in turn, has helped to improve two fundamental aspects of K&F competitiveness: customers service level adherence and productivity. For a supply chain integrator as K&F, these are indeed highly valuable results, and their attainment is highly evaluated at the company level.

NEWTON Implementation (RW + MCKN)

The following table shows a summary of the progress of the impact indicators after the implementation of RW and the use of MCKN in NEWTON:

Table 11: Expected and achieved NEWTON impacts within REMPLANET

Cost. Improving the efficiency with which upgrades and enhancements are made to those products:
o Mass Customization (MC) Implementation (Target)
o No MC skills (March 2009)
o MC Skills obtained through MCKN platform (March 2012)

Quality. Improving the customer-driven functionality of existing products:
o Customer driven functionality introduced (Target)
o Make to Order (March 2009)
o Assembly to Order (more efficient customization) (March 2012)

Time. Innovating the creation of new products
o New product development innovation (Target)
o Innovation driven by unstructured factors (March 2009)
o Innovation driven by structured collaboration with RTD centres (March 2012)

Firstly, MC implementation and competence building through MCKN allowed NEWTON to obtain a higher efficiency in its innovation capacity, and in the upgrades introduction to existing products.

Secondly, the process change, by speeding a smoothing customization of NEWTON solar panel, enabled the company to introduce customer driven functionality with much less effort than before.

Finally, the company innovativeness will surely be enhanced by an experience such as that of REMPLANET, where day to day work was carried out side by side with research centres. Thanks to this, NEWTON could touch by hands the benefits of university-industry collaboration, thus developing those tools which can make it more competitive and able to meet the contemporary competitive challenges.

GHEPI Implementation (DSS + ColNet)

The following table shows an overview of the evolution of the impact indicators after the implementation of DSS and ColNet in GHEPI:

Table 12: GHEPI Impact Analysis

Cost. Implementation of strategies addressing total ownership costs:
o Strategy-identification and implementation (Target)
o No strategy for total ownership costs (March 2009)
o Strategy defined and ready to be implemented (March 2012)

Quality
- Increase of number of customers involved in co-design strategies.
o From the current 5 customers to 8 (Target)
o 5 (March 2009)
o 7 (March 2012)

- Production compliances
o 20% reduction (Target)
o 6.16 % (March 2009)
o 3.49 % (March 2012)

Time. Lead time
o 2 weeks reduction (Target)
o 5 weeks (March 2009)
o 4 weeks (March 2012)

With regard to costs, the simulation and optimization work done with the DSS tool, helped GHEPI in the design of a strategy for total ownership costs that will allow the company to set the correct prices to their customers, ensuring that the actual production costs are fairly taken into account.

As for quality, GHEPI increased the number of customers involved in co-design strategies, a process which has surely been encouraged by the new tools developed in REMPLANET, in particular with regard to ColNet, where the collaboration at network level was strengthened and supported. On the other hand, production compliance decreased by almost 50%, showing that the company is greatly improving its capacity to manage complex orders and production strategies.

Finally, lead time was also reduced, and to this result certainly contributed the REMPLANET tools. In particular, the DSS tools smoothed internal procedures and supported the optimization of internal workloads, whereas the ColNet platform supported the quicker definition of order fulfilment strategies and supply chain.

After showing a very brief description of the quantitative analysis performed in each implementation of the REMPLANET Results at pilot’s sites, it is appropriate to define a framework to show how each results contribute to different aspects of the three main impact factors: costs, quality and time. This is shown in Table 13. The size of the bars shows the level of impact that each result has to each aspect analyzed with regard to the three factors studied.

In conclusion, the REMPLANET Exploitable results, in a standalone way or combined, impact directly in the performance of the enterprises reducing in general the total supply network cost, improving different quality customers drivers such as consistence with commitments, customization of products… and reducing the delivery lead times, as it has been shown through the qualitative and quantitative analysis.

List of Websites:
Moreover, it is important to highlight that the REMPLANET Project has a public website with different interesting information. The address of the project website is: www.remplanet.eu

The website will be maintained after the project finishes, offering the public deliverables, demonstrators, etc. The REMPLANET Website shows information related to the results generated within the project and moreover, it offers up-to-date information about events, project publications, etc. related to topics addressed in REMPLANET project. For this reason, if any party is interested in the REMPLANET Project results could contact the consortium via the REMPLANET website or through the following email address: info@remplanet.eu

In Annex I of this Final Report, a list of all beneficiaries with the corresponding contact information is attached.

More information related to the REMPLANET website can be found in the deliverable D7.4: Project Website and Portal (REMPLANET-WP7-D7.4_M30, 2011).
Moreover, a video has been developed and will be disseminated via Youtube. In the video, a fictitious but realistic context of use is described, where an automotive producer of new electric car prototype (UNO) decides to apply the Mass Customization approach and asks to its machine provider (MECHTECH) to provide new machineries for new flexible production. Also MECHTECH needs to analyse its network and production to reach an adaptive, resilient and flexible approach to the production.

This video assures to reach larger audience and to clearly explain, also to not experienced potential users, the concepts and results generated within the REMPLANET project. This video will be attached to this Final Report. Currently, a new version of the video is being developed in order to add some interviews with the industrial partners of the project showing the benefits they have obtained through the implementation of the REMPLANET Results. Moreover, interviews with the WPLeaders explaining the exploitable results of the REMPLANET project are also available on the REMPLANET website.

Related information

Contact

Jose-Antonio Perez-Garcia, (Financial Officer)
Tel.: +34-96-3877409
Fax: +34-96-3877949
E-mail

Subjects

Business aspects
Record Number: 196143 / Last updated on: 2017-03-22
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