The development and production of industrial products is currently often realised by a network of co-operating enterprises, together forming a Fast Reactive Extended Enterprise (FREE), each with their own specialisms and each performing a dedicated task in the total business process. By concentrating on its core-business each individual enterprise becomes more competitive. But the survival of specialised enterprise will depend strongly on the effectiveness of functioning within such a network. Main reason for this trend is their objective of time-to-market reduction and return to productivity. Currently, many enterprises already introduced the principles of concurrent engineering in which different disciplines do not work sequentially, but parallel in order to reduce development time. However, co-operation with suppliers currently still needs a sequential working method. Therefore, the next step is co-operative engineering of engineers, of suppliers (often SME) and of main manufacturers. This implies concurrent engineering across the borders of enterprises.
Together with this tendency, the interdependencies between companies grow and as a direct result the quality of the communication link between co-operating partners becomes crucial. Its not the process that should be optimised, but the input and output of each process in the FREE-environment that is to be managed. But in this area hardly any supporting management models, tools and metrics exist.
The FREE-project has the following objectives:
- To gain knowledge of human resources requirements in a fast reactive multi cultural/lingual environment; to develop measuring methods for different levels of maturity of specific FREE configurations; to develop management tools to increase in maturity and efficiency. Methodologies will be developed to optimise such a FREE environment. The industrial partners expect an overall reduction of about 5% to 20% of the operational cost if all the elements operate well, and to meet the time-to market required by the customer in today's market.
- Along the mainstreams of human resource management, business process descriptions, information technology the project will yield the following main results:
- A comprehensive model, with the most important communication parameters influencing the efficiency and the effectiveness of FREE environment, client oriented product development, one of a kind products and co-operative development routes
- The influence of human factors on the productivity of FREE environments.
- A methodology to integrate SMEs in FREEs
- A capability assessment tool and methodology for change for a company which will successfully join a FREE.
- A method to measure the performance of a FREE environment.
- Guidelines for a stepwise re-engineering of business processes towards a FREE environment.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
3500 GN Utrecht
5071 VM Udenhout
7500 AE Enschede