The objectives of this project are:
- Specify and build up a prototype of an advanced information technology infrastructure that will support Quick and Accurate Response in consumable goods manufacturing industries;
- Develop an Accurate Response (AR) manufacturing model;
- Promote the benefits of adopting AR solutions among industry;
- Devise ways of using information and communication technologies to improve manufacturing business performance by providing an enhanced and proactive response to customer demands;
- Encourage and exploit the project results through running several workshops where benefits of adopting AR solutions may be presented;
- Generate specific recommendations to decrease the overall cycle from about 66 weeks to about 40 in the textile-clothing chain.
Textile and garment are key sectors to the European economy, presenting some desired characteristics for this project, namely high diversity of seasonal products with a short life cycle. Those sectors have been facing huge competitive pressures from non-European countries. These are already eroding the European manufacturers' market share and ultimately may reduce the consumers' base. Our proposal firmly sustains that the adoption of AR solutions by partnerships involving textile manufacturers, garment manufactureres and retailers has an important role in the answer that can be provided to face this competition. AR can even support pro-active strategies to beat competitiors in their local markets, and to take advantage of export opportunities presented by an increasing world population.
AR, an evolution of the Quick Response concept, is an important competitive strategy in an environment where business relations develop at a global dimension. It enables to consider the various competitive dimensions that go beyond time with a particular emphasis on the re-evaluation of business processes across the supply chain and in the use of proactive product design, forecasting, planning and production approaches. AR is also deeply related with the development of the Extended Enterprise, which demands an integrated approach considering mission, business objectives, manufacturing goals, technology, organisational structure, people issues, business and manufacturing processes and performance assessment mechanisms. These concepts have to be integrated and visualised in frameworks and models to keep the coherence among them and to enable a strategic alignment of the individual contributions towards an AR manufacturing practice. As an example, improving the flow of macroactivities carried out by the various actors of the textile-clothing chain is far more than optimising the single nodes. This is a starting point to understand the basic motivations to the proposal and perceive the main objectives depicted above.
AR is not just a technological challenge but also a management and organisational issue. The benefits that have been achieved by the use of electronic data interchange (EDI) systems, point of sales (POS), bar coding systems, computer networks, satellite and cellular communications may be further enhanced. So far, most of the focus has been on backward integration, mainly of data related with finished product stocks control and financial transactions. Up to date multimedia based technologies and advanced broadband communication systems, associated with the use of new management practices based on partnerships across the industry supply chain are critical success factors to compete globally.
The research will be focused in the manufacturing business processes with intense customer-supplier relationships: customer-order fulfillment, supply process, co-engineering and co-design. It was considered that these are key processes where significant performance gains may be achieved by the use of advanced IS/IT, within the appropriate management structures. Major expected impacts of the project to the textile and apparel sectors will be: cut lead times, eliminate paperwork, improve quality, slash inventory and reduce stock-outs. These issues justify the importance of AR solutions. Initiatives in this area also match the European Community objectives to foster the competitiveness of this important sector.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
41012 Carpi Modena
MK43 OAL Bedford
KT12 1DL Walton-on-thames
4481 Vila Do Condo