What does European industry need to know about “time”? Although there is a wide-spread belief that low-cost-production companies will gain market share over more expensive competitors there are considerable opportunities for more expensive producers as long as they provide a certain value-added for their customers: customized products and at the same time much faster delivery. We are suggesting that improving our knowledge of how European factories can shorten their delivery lead times, and thus substantially increase their competitiveness, will not only help to keep European jobs in Europe but also contribute to the scientific field of Operations Management and Strategy. Recently, lead time reduction has considerably pushed mass customization because traditionally production and delivery of individualized products took too long. But lead time reduction methods can speed up any process in manufacturing as well as in service businesses. The goal of this project is to develop state of the art software that will further support lead time reductions in European industry and through these efforts provide a source of data for scientific publications in top journals. The software is built on queuing theory, using mathematical equations for its optimization procedures, which will make it run much faster than simulation programs currently available. Staff secondments between university and industry partners will enhance the software development process. The project teams intends to further enhance the cooperation among industry and universities because every company modeled with our software will increase the information in the database which universities use for further research. Therefore, a win-win situation among the two sectors is created which is the base for a sustainable and ongoing cooperation.
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