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Business models and industrial strategies supporting novel supply chains for innovative product-services

Business models supporting the novel supply chains for innovative product-services would need to facilitate the flow of information on free utilisation capacity among service providers, which could be dedicated business set-ups for that kind of product-services, or just existing manufacturers with free production capacity at certain moments in time and business companies seeking short term solutions for their capacity shortages.

New equipment, internet, digital technologies and social media have the potential to support new supply chain models that are focused on business-to-business (B2B) as well as business-to-consumer (B2C) relationships, on improving the use of manufacturing capacity in Europe, e.g. by an innovative treatment of data flows on processes and products with the possible use of sectorial clouds.

Solutions should facilitate the flow of information on free manufacturing capacity among service providers (which could be dedicated businesses or existing manufacturers with spare capacity) as well as the flow and management of data in the context of the value chain.

The research activities should focus on all of the following areas:

  • New, adaptive business models, networks and configurations to optimise the integration of KETs in industrial contexts, in order to increase the leadership of EU industry in the global markets. The approaches to integrate KETs should lead to a new model for European industrial production and consumption, based on more sustainable and efficient production and consumption patterns, supporting increasingly customised sustainable products.
  • New business solutions for extended supply chains and the integrated sustainable European framework, which would take into account the needs of design, production, utilisation and end-of-life and overcome the risk of under-utilised capacity.
  • Solutions that would enable businesses in the supply chain to use new flexible production and processing systems tailored to their needs; to increase connectivity and inter-operability to rapidly coordinate; and to react to market demand as a whole system.
  • Solutions for local cooperation and supply, which can reduce the environmental footprint. These solutions should converge into high value-added production capable of responding dynamically to competing global economies demonstrating how the EU could benefit from international cooperation.

Project activities will focus on new concepts and methodologies for knowledge-based, specialised product-service, which can fulfil the requirements of fast changing markets for innovative product-services. The service could be supplemented by after-sale services and extended guarantees provided by any entity from the supply chain base on common agreement.

Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) elements should be considered, such as economics and business administration. In particular, proposals should address the role of consumers and users as active participants in the innovation process.

Activities are expected to focus on Technology Readiness Levels 4 to 6. This topic addresses cross-KET activities.

This topic is particularly suitable for SMEs.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 2 and 4 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

The current lack of stability in the markets does not create strong incentives for long-term investments in tangible fixed assets, and a quick response to market demand is crucial to market success. This calls for new business models to enable industry to adapt faster to market demand. At the same time, European industry needs to reap the full benefits of digitalisation, including a new generation of highly flexible production and process technologies and equipment, such as 3D-printing.

All European companies, especially SMEs, need to have access to technology infrastructure with appropriate manufacturing facilities to help them develop their innovative product-services from the early stage of feasibility assessment up to the fabrication of first series of prototype's products and purchasing is not always the best option.

It is also important to develop value systems that take into account the new extended supply chain from the early stage of the design process up to the end-of-life activities. In addition, the real production can nowadays take place anywhere in the world and leave Europe with unused or outdated production capacities. The current process does not take into account the economic, social and environmental benefits for Europe.

  • Innovative industrial business solutions taking full advantage of the potential provided by the digitisation of the European industry;
  • Decreased production costs in Europe, through a better use of the available manufacturing capacity;
  • Reduced environmental or carbon footprint compared to products produced in traditional value chains, by the use of local and regional product-services capacity;
  • Novel supply networks and solutions that could be applied across industries.

Proposals should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the Introduction to the LEIT part of this Work Programme.