Customer-oriented and eco-friendly networks for healthy fashionable goods
and components for new collaborative networking will be developed, enabling to stay as long as digital and to produce on-demand. This includes: a) consumer integrated collaborative eco-oriented design, and configuration of ”healthy”; wearables using web-enabled virtualisation and ”green”; materials, b) a
radical renewal of critical value creation steps by the adoption of Rapid Manufacturing technologies for optimised digital printing and laser engraving; and c) the overall integration and co-ordination of business processes
and information exchange by a set of new (web)services for network design and ad-hoc (re-)configuration, for real-time planning, forecasting and replenishment, and for tracking and tracing of ecology and quality. Within COReNet framework, all partners of the value creating sectors will become able to co-ordinate value creation processes, with the end consumer as driving actor. CoReNet will be collaboratively tested and demonstrated within industrial plants, thus showing the full potential of the new sustainable collaborative cross-sector networking approach
TXT E-SOLUTIONS SPA
Via Frigia 27
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
€ 445 000
Eva Coscia (Ms.)
Sort by EU Contribution
CONSIGLIO NAZIONALE DELLE RICERCHE
€ 473 410
INESC TEC - INSTITUTO DE ENGENHARIA DE SISTEMAS E COMPUTADORES, TECNOLOGIA E CIENCIA
€ 277 500
DEUTSCHE INSTITUTE FUR TEXTIL- UND FASERFORSCHUNG DENKENDORF
€ 490 000
€ 185 000
€ 115 167
€ 210 156
PEPPERMINT HOLDING GMBH
€ 192 500
€ 195 000
FRATELLI PIACENZA S.P.A.
€ 184 844
SYNESIS-SOCIETA CONSORTILE A RESPONSABILITA LIMITATA
€ 306 589
€ 200 000
TOMORROW OPTIONS MICROELECTRONICS S.A.
€ 160 000
OFFICINA ORTOPEDICA MICHELOTTI SRL
€ 67 333
Grant agreement ID: 260169
1 June 2010
31 May 2013
€ 5 133 189
€ 3 502 499
TXT E-SOLUTIONS SPA
This project is featured in...
Low-cost custom-made goods
Grant agreement ID: 260169
1 June 2010
31 May 2013
€ 5 133 189
€ 3 502 499
TXT E-SOLUTIONS SPA
This project is featured in...
Discover other articles in the same domain of application
Final Report Summary - CORENET (Customer-oriented and eco-friendly networks for healthy fashionable goods)
How people from specific target groups – such as elderly, obese, disabled, or diabetic – can personalize and buy at affordable cost high quality and fashionable footwear and clothes, which are also healthy and compliant with the desired functional properties?
How can fashion SMEs be enabled to design and produce dedicated collections and personalized products for these target groups?
The compromise that fashion products cannot be easily customized for people with specific (healthy and functional) requirements and that products conceived for people with specific requirements may not be fashionable is not going to be accepted anymore by a changing society with increasing needs and expectations.
The CoReNet solution supports SMEs of the footwear and clothing/textile sectors to change their business processes by increasing the focus on small series production, and enabling a close collaboration and coordination among all the actors of the supply chain.
Following a customer-oriented approach for value creation, the final expected result is to make SMEs able to easily collect and combine consumers functional requirements and aesthetical preferences (in terms of colours, patterns, materials, personalized components) to have the customized item produced in an efficient (in terms of time and price) and sustainable way.
CoReNet offers solutions to consumers for both online and traditional shopping experiences, augmented with tools for the virtualization and customization of the selected products.
The results are, in the case of footwear products:
• a 3D tool for configuration, based on specific features for the target groups, allowing consumers to preview the shoe and to make choices within the customization space;
• a web based tool for foot and consumer profiling that provides data to the manufacturer, for producing highly customized shoes.
In the clothing case:
• A virtualization tool allowing consumers to preview fabrics on avatars created on specific morphotypes (such as morphotypes for obese people)
• Online shopping available in a virtual space where measurements and item customization operations are conceived for the specific target groups (mainly obese people)
SMEs are supported with a set of tools that covers relevant business processes, formalized in the CoReNet reference model, from the analysis of the market trends and expectations of these target groups, to the design of specific collections, to the production and delivery phases.
The most important results provided to the SMEs are:
• A knowledge based tool for the market trends and customer expectations analysis, used to support the design phase;
• Tools for eco-oriented and collaborative design of collections specific for the target groups, enabled by virtualisation features;
• A set of new services for the overall integration and co-ordination of companies along the supply networks supporting the design and ad-hoc configuration of the partner network, the selection and control of suppliers, the collaborative planning and the overall monitoring of the quality of products and processes;
• Rapid Manufacturing technologies for optimized digital printing and laser engraving,; that allow low cost, flexible and customized manufacturing of small lots or single products.
The project started in June 2010 for a 36 months duration.
The consortium is in the position to provide all the necessary expertise, as it encompasses representatives from the scientific (CNR ITIA – Italy, DITF –Germany) and technological side (TXT e-solutions – Italy, INESC porto and Tomorrow Options – Portugal, Strategies – France, Assyst – Germany, Synesis – Italy, ErgoSoft - Switzerland), able to design, to implement, and to validate methodological and technical solutions. The necessary experience on the design and production of fashion items is provided by SMEs operating in the TCFI sectors either as component&material suppliers (CTX – Germany)or s manufactures (Bivolino – Belgium, Fratelli Piacenza – Italy, Manas – Italy).
The final prototypes have been released by September 2012, and all the CoReNet results have been validated in four industrial settings until May 2013, demonstrating the full potential of this approach, which is based on sustainable collaborative networking.
Interested users and industries can learn more about the project results by visiting the website (http://www.corenet-project.eu) and the online Collaboration Portal (http://demos.txt.it) where they can find information on product and results, access videos and demo versions of the tools. Further information can be requested by email to the coordinator (email@example.com).
Project Context and Objectives:
The objective of CoReNet is to address consumer needs and expectations of a wide range of European citizens as well as specific target groups - such as elderly, obese, disabled, or diabetic persons -by supplying small series of functional and fashionable clothes and footwear of high quality, affordable price and eco-compatible.
Therefore the European Textile, Clothing and Footwear Industry are enabled to provide customised health fashionable goods for relevant social niches, so improving its market shares. In order to design, develop, produce and distribute the related small order quantities in a cost- and eco-efficient way, a new framework and a set of components for new collaborative networking have been developed, enabling to stay as long as digital and to produce on-demand.
This set includes solutions for:
a) consumer integrated collaborative eco-oriented design, and configuration of healthy wearables using web-enabled virtualisation and green materials,
b) a radical renewal of critical value creation steps by the adoption of Rapid Manufacturing technologies for optimised digital printing and laser engraving; and
c) the overall integration and co-ordination of business processes and information exchange by a set of new (web)services for network design and ad-hoc (re-)configuration, for information checking and exchange, and for tracking and tracing of ecology and quality.
Within CoReNet framework, all partners of the value creating sectors become able to co-ordinate value creation processes, with the end consumer as driving actor.
CoReNet has been collaboratively tested and demonstrated within industrial plants, thus showing the full potential of the new sustainable collaborative cross-sector networking approach.
Eva Coscia, TXT e-Solutions, Italy, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rosanna Fornaserio, CNR-ITIA, Italy, email@example.com
Dieter Stellmach, DITF-MR, Germany, firstname.lastname@example.org
Target groups needs
The Corenet project addresses four different target groups represented by obese, diabetics, elderly and disabled people, each one characterised by specific requirements and needs for what concerns goods they wear like clothes and shoes. These target groups represent a large share of European citizens: there are more than 32 million EU citizens living with diabetes, which amounts to 8.1% of the adult population. This figure is set to rise to 50 million – 10% of the EU population – by 2025. Moreover Europe has the highest numbers of children with Type 1 diabetes. Each year, diabetes and related complications claim the lives of 325,000 EU citizens . For what concerns elder people, in 2010 the population aged 65 years or over accounted for 17.4%. By 2050, the number of people in the EU aged 65 and above is expected to grow by 70% and the number of people aged over 80 by 170% . Obesity is one the major health challenges worldwide and has become an epidemic over the last decades. The number of obese people has in fact tripled over the last 20 years in the Europe, and according to the WHO  today over 130 million people are obese in Europe and 400 million people are overweight. Moreover there are 80 million Europeans with disabilities. This is over 15% of the whole population. One in four Europeans has a family member with a disability . From figures and statistics available on the population health, the four target groups can’t be considered “separated” both in terms of physical diseases (most of the people with diabetes II are in the category of elderly and most of the time obesity can degenerate to diabetic) and functional needs in terms of products. Unfortunately there are not many statistic data comparable at European level expecially for what concerns intersection among the four groups, detailed information are available mainly for specific countries.
For the above mentioned reasons, durign the initial phases of the project the needs of these target groups have been analysed using existing medical literature, interviews with people and experts, collaboration with other projects on similar topics. The performed analysis found some intersections among the needs that have been collected: elderly people characteristics overlap with the disabled ones: difficulties in movements and delicate skin are two examples. As previously underlined many diabetics are elderly people and their needs about footwear are the same of disabled people with no sensibility on feet. Link between diabetes and obesity is proved and besides the needs of obese about garments, the shoes must assure them good stability. Moreover, for example both for diabetics and disables on wheelchairs, the shoe must comfortably adapt to foot variations assumed by feet during the day and this is a requirement valid also for most of obese people. A similar overlap can be underlined for what concerns perspiration and anti-allergic characteristics of materials that is necessary both for diabetics and obese people, even if for different reasons.
An example of the product requirements collected from the TGs that can be covered by TCFI companies with the support of the Corenet results are described in the table below and have been used in the footwear pilot for the definition of the specific product to be developed. The table shows the relationship between the collected requirements (in the first column), the target category addressed by the requirement (second column), the product component affected by the requirement and the solution proposed and implemented. More details are given in the related documents accompaining the final demonstration activities.
See Table 1: Extract of the table with Product requirements for the footwear in Attachment 1
Industrial companies needs
Fashion companies willing to enter these new market niches need to change their approach to the market. For what concerns business requirements, (See Table 2: Industry requirements), they have been collected at the beginning of the project in D1.3 for the most important processes have been mapped with the CoReNet results.
One of the first step within the CoReNet project was to establish a reference model to help organisations (above all SMEs) to form and operate collaborative networks of suppliers, focusing on the dynamic aspects of collaboration. The CoReNet Model (CoRM) covers different levels of collaboration along the networks lifecycle (see in Table 4: The CoReNet Reference Model (CoRM) one of the graphical representation), from product configuration or design processes, to production management aiming to provide a complete guide in the implementation of collaborative business processes and practices for networks of TCFI companies willing to enter niche markets addressing specific TGs requirements.
The description of the reference processes, which are part of the CoRM, represents the cornerstone to support the development of advanced software tools and collaborative networks that rely on them and in some cases have been specifically developed as part of CoReNet project. The CoRM formalization of processes represents also a guideline for SMEs willing to improve the management of their networks according to this paradigm and consistently execute activities with the support of the CoReNet tools. The High level of CoRM includes all high level processes and summarizes the main value creation steps, developed at the detailed level, highlighting all the different actors involved.
The CoRM can be applied specifically to fashion companies willing to customize collections and products. This Model complies in particular manufacturers of the TCFI sector and addresses their peculiarities which are not covered by existing models, as the need to work both at collection level (creation of a product platform) and the need to customize the product for specific needs of the consumers (TG; individuals or small series, even lot 1) according to the product variants defined.
The CoRM has been used for the analysis and re-engineering of the Business Processes of all industrial companies in the project and has been validated with other companies especially in the footwear sector.
Configurable User Interface for sales processes
Through the direct experience of Bivolino, a SME partner of the CoReNet consortium producing customized shirts/blouses for men, women and children with a fully automated production fulfillment system, an extended and powerful configurable User Interface (cUI) has been developed within the project, to support sales processes for Target Groups needs.
In particular, the aim of this innovative tool is to implement an online service that offers appropriate and renewed shirt and blouse collections for obese and tall people (see Figure 2: Online configuration of garments (cUI)). These collections meet the needs of this target group by providing them a good fit, comfortable fabrics and a fashionable look. As consumer preferences change and vary from country to country, the service is capable to be flexibly adapted by integrating new market information through consumers, retailers, designers and suppliers interactions. The system, by a valuable integration with other project results (i.e. KMT), uses in fact Business Intelligence (data warehouse, OLAP, dashboards) and Data Mining (clustering (see figure on page before), association rules) technologies for trends evaluation and profile identification.
Having collected data of big and tall consumers, the system was used in order to identify obese consumer trends for fabrics and sizing.
This tool has been used within the Sewed and Knitted Garments Pilots for Bivolino and Piacenza to set-up a new product configuration both for e-commerce and in-shop scenarios.
Foot measurement platform
In order to close the loop between orthopedic shop and shoe and component manufacturers, this platform includes a set of electronic devices and functionalities capable to manage via web data characterizing each specific customer needs (profiling).
The new service based platform has been developed offering a dedicated applet that allows the exchange of information between physicians (prescribers) and suppliers of therapeutic footwear for diabetic foot patients (technicians, manufacturers or specialised shops). The information can contain different types of data (see in Figure 3: Graphical User Interface of the FMS, a sample of screens): documents, exams performed on the patient, pictures, videos and other specific ones, as the in-shop foot pressure measures generated by the FMS system provided by Tomorrow Option. Considering that some of this data are dynamic, the applet is an efficient way to allow its visualization by the stakeholders that don’t possess the FMS system (as physicians), but need to have assessed the information for evaluating the intervention outcome or following-up the patient.
The applet also registers and manages all the interactions (chat feature and email exchange) between all the stakeholders involved in a patient intervention, assuring less unpaid corrections and interventions on the prescribed footwear and a better outcome, saving time and money to all of them and generating a better and fast fitting to patient condition.
This kind of documentation organization and management beside saving time to all the stakeholders can also be used to demonstrate what was done and why during the reimbursement phase. Manufacturers will benefit from getting a better knowledge of customer needs and measurers, to better adapt their offer.
This platform has been used within the Footwear Pilot for getting and sharing the consumer data (profiling data) achieved during the measurement session with the podiatrist or shop assistant.
Quality Monitor tool
The Quality Monitoring (QM) environment developed by Synesis is provided as a combination of a software application and a methodology to manage an heterogeneous set of information about products, consumer needs and involved manufacturers. The application is mainly targeted to the design domain.
The design process, in fact, requires a deep and wide investigation of the specific qualities of all the entities involved in the product creation: materials, components, requirements, etc. The QM offers the tools and a methodology to manage heterogeneous sets of information, to merge them in a consistent way and to consult them.
The Quality Monitor environment is composed by coordinated modules, each related to specific aspects of the architecture: RDF data repository, user interface, integration with Liferay, web services and Ontologies.
The Figure 4: Product Definition in the QM: some screenshots shows a simple example of the most general user interface. It describes a resource (a consumer profile in the example), by means of a list of attributes, collected through direct editing or import from external sources. Different views are provided for different types of data. In particular, each one is specialized on some of the prime concept managed in the CoReNet project: product, bill of components, production steps, components, raw materials, consumers, consumer requirements, companies, company assessments, LCA information.
One of the most relevant features of the QM tool is represented by its generality, meaning its applicability in different application contexts. This property derives in a very natural way from the underlying data model, based on RDF and therefore extremely adaptive.
This tool has been used within the Footwear Pilot for an extended product characterization including LCA aspects as well as material supplier data.
The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology finalised by ITIA-CNR is an comprehensive approach to assess the environmental burden of manufacturing activities with an holistic perspective. Within the CoReNet project the objectives have been:
• Development of new approaches to make reliable the exchange of environmental information within complex and flexible Manufacturing chains.
• Integration of environmental information in CAD/PDM to obtain effectiveness in environmental impact reduction since the design phase.
• Reuse of environmental information in different context and for different aims (certification, design performance evaluation, partners monitoring and evaluation, etc.)
The idea is to provide the product designer with a co-design tool, in which he can make use of materials and components libraries for reconstructing quickly the environmental burden of new products. It also provides means to the manufacturer and consumer assessment of the product environmental impact before the effective production.
A LCA tool has been realized (see a simplified schema in Figure 5: The LCA Periscope Tool) in order to measure the environmental impact of a factory through the value chain. New kind of complex assessment related to specific items has been developed in terms of elaboration of the same inventoried data to perform multiple environmental profiles of different products. Standard impact measurement has been carried out by using a combination of “firm specific” flow inventory and “supply chain” indicators in order to provide:
• A reliable assessment compliant with a bill-of-material approach in order to support end-of-pipe stakeholders assembling different products, aimed to the integration with new generation of CAD-PLM tools.
• A reliable assessment of firm environmental profile focused on process efficiency and background supply chain configuration
Information is collected on modular basis. The overall objective is to provide complete information for the end consumer about product quality. Such information includes value creation, ecological burden, information on design choices and information on functional properties.
Collaborative Design Environment for TCI
The objective concerning the clothing co-design environment developed by Assyst (see Figure 6 The Design of fabrics using the CDTC tool) is to establish a new process chain to design customised clothing (including fabrics) for small series runs. Customised clothing can be modified by the user in order to perform fit optimization, to configure a variant or even to make made-to-measure changes.
The result will be printed individually by Digital Textile Printing (DTP) technology. In order to reach the goal of a new process chain a twofold approach was followed. It includes:
1. Object acquisition and web-based data repository
The first point concerns the development of reliable methods for high quality/resolution digitizing of existing designs, prints, and leather and textile materials from real world. In order to be able to create a convincing virtual prototype of the final clothing, direct digital printing requires colour management for the complete process by creating colour profiles for the acquired data.
The second point is dealing with the development of new methods for the 3D prototyping of clothing, in order to remove the need of real prototypes which is a pre-condition for a flexible and fast response process chain.
In order to get the same colours in the virtual world as for the final product, new methods to support colour management inside the 3D rendering system have been developed by using colour profiles and high fidelity 3D visualization reproducing the look of the original fabrics. To address the different requirements of visualization and digital printing, different versions of acquired objects are maintained in order to optimize for the respective output media.
This tool has been used within the Design (product and fabrics) and Production phases of the Textile and Sewed Garments Pilots.
Collaborative Design Environment for Footwear
One of the project main goal was to customize products that have to meet specific requirements in terms of quality, comfort and aesthetics. For this purpose, through the tight collaboration with the Footwear partners, Strategies has developed a Web platform that, on one hand, helps to improve collaboration and interaction between engineers dealing with production aspects and footwear creation departments. On the other hand it allows customers (we refer here to consumers in general including people with special needs like elderly people, obese, disabled, etc. ...) to purchase the shoe models they like, permitting them to choose the configurations of textures –colours - design they prefer. To achieve this objective, four steps are necessary:
1. Mapping of multiple images on 3D Last (Figure 7: Footwear Product Design using the CDLF). This step involves the creation of complementary surfaces layers on the last initially created. A 2D image is super-imposed on each surface layer. Manual adjustments must be made to fit the good proportions/dimensions. 3D Scan Line module is launch and 2D surfaces are wraps onto surfaces.
2. Material selection according to physical characteristics (Figure 8: Colour selection and product configuration in CDLF). The materials used to manufacture footwear for people with specific needs must have very specific characteristics in order to satisfy functional or comfort requirements demanded by podologists. For this purpose, Strategies has adapted the standard version of RCS-DM that now allows the association of existing materials following a pre-defined dictionary of attributes and enables also to manage different types of data (text, date, integer, float…).
3. Colorize and colours manager (Figure 8: Colour selection and product configuration in CDLF). The Colorize feature incorporated in 3D and DM software modules links graphical and alphanumerical data. The design of a shoe model includes: variants configuration (colours and materials) and texture saving. After importing an image, the system detects automatically the Pantone colours and makes a pre-selection of materials from the existing database.
4. Web Client configurator (Figure 8: Colour selection and product configuration in CDLF). Co-design process means that external people (customers, retail employees, etc.) have the possibility to configure through Internet access an existing model defined in back office. Romans CAD Web Service developed within the CoReNet project provides customers with a web access to a selection of 3D shoe models. The configurator allows them to select characteristics from existing materials in terms of texture, colours, etc...) and to apply them to selected model. At the end, the system will display the customized model.
This tool has been used within the Footwear Pilot for the Product Design and Configuration (in-shop scenario) phases.
Knowledge Management Tool for market trends
The KMT - Knowledge Management Tool developed by Inesc for cross-sectorial trends definition is a toolset based on new market information model sourced from unstructured information from consumers (aesthetic, physical parameters, comfort and health requirements), retailers (sales status and customer preferences), designers and suppliers interaction (sectorial requests and provisions), and within social network environments, relying upon the use of semantic technologies for knowledge extraction and pattern matching for consumer trends identification.
The KMT application is composed of several tools and services integrated in the CoReNet innovative consumer-cooperative environment for product design (Figure 9: Data Analysis using the KMT tool). The components are:
KMT Fashion Intelligence (FI)
• Data mart with transactional data organized for reporting and exploratory data analysis;
• Data mart with data collected from comments made in social networks (Pinterest, in particular) about the products and part of the transactional data. These data are integrated and organized for reporting and exploratory data analysis;
• Demand characteristics and social network comments exploration using OLAP;
• Demand characteristics and social network comments reporting using reports and dashboards.
KMT Fashion Profiler (FP)
• Automatic segmentation customer demand using clustering algorithms;
• Visualization of customer demand profiles;
KMT Trends Analyst (TA)
• Automatic identification of demand and social network comment trends using association rules mining algorithms;
• Visualization of demand and social network comment trends
KMT has been used for the identification of the main features of product line (i.e. marketing strategy for product development) within the Footwear (internal database) and Sewed Garments Pilots (internal database and web data).
Partner Search module
The Partner Search module developed by TXT e-solutions is a web-based tool that allows a manufacturer to manage knowledge about its suppliers by creating and updating Partners Profiles (Figure 10: The Partner Profile data and search using the PS tool), a set of parameters describing competences and past performances, by visualizing these structured data and key performance indicators (KPIs) and by providing search features to identify the partners better matching the entered criteria.
Different typologies of indicators can be identified:
• Quantitative, based on historical data related to the previous and existing relationships of a manufacturer with its partners;
• Qualitative, based on subjective evaluation made by a partner.
The Partner Search can be used both after product design and before order collection. At these stages it is important to define the configuration of the supply chain for the targeted production season so that the best-suitable partner is activated on need (i.e. any time new orders are collected). In case it is not possible to extrapolate the adequate partner from the list of former ones, the system allows also an open advanced search on the Internet. The Partner Search can be used also after order collection in case there are specific needs of customization and personalization of the product. The system consists of three main blocks:
• Partner Registry Manager: this functional block is in charge of providing the functionalities to add new, or revise existing partners.
• Local Search Manager: this block provides all search capabilities on the profiles of partners with which the manufacturer has a past work history and for which, as a consequence, has KPIs.
• Internet Search Manager: this block, finally, is in charge of performing searches for potential partners on a set of Internet sites.
This tool has been used within the Knitted Garments Pilot for the identification of suitable suppliers capable to provide specific technical and planning features and in the footwear pilot.
Collaborative Planning module
The Collaborative Planning module (see a snapshot of the GUI in Figure 11: The Collaborative Planner GUI) developed by Inesc is oriented to address the demand planning and demand fulfilment activities.
The tool allows each partner to directly propose new delivery dates, lead times and costs, through a web-based planning graphical tool which is available and shared by all supply network partners.
The planning scheme is based on negotiations undertaken between all the core and potential partners. The main goal of this negotiation is to arrive to an optimized plan for the supply network, where all the required operations are characterized in terms of minimum and maximum lead times, minimum and maximum time overlaps and minimum cost and other relevant negotiation indicators defined at the beginning of the negotiation.
The implemented planning approach is based on the mechanisms presented in Figure 12: The Collaborative Process supported by the CP tool.
This approach provides several key benefits for manufacturers and suppliers of the TCFI sector that are looking for agile solutions for the order management and the production plan processes supporting the production of small series. The collaborative planning is:
• is easily accessible and easy to use, as the tool provide an advanced GUI and is available within a unique web portal (thus no installation is required);
• It supports the exchange and the automatic check of business information through well-known channels, like emails (hiding technical details about the internal format of the exchanged documents);
• It helps the selection of partners leveraging on information already owned by the manufacturer and provides an open collaborative environment in which it is possible to negotiate and agree on a shared production plan.
The proposed planning approach integrates the partner profiling and search services and fits the needs of customer-oriented supply networks in achieving flexibility and responsiveness to market demands. This tool has been used within the Footwear Pilot for the management of the supplier network on specific customized order (single or small lots).
Workflow Management Module
The Workflow Management solution developed by TXT e-solutions enables companies to create network flows and to communicate with partners efficiently and in an intuitive way. These issues are extremely important especially in the case of small series production, where the exchange of orders and business documents usually happens more frequently than for normal production and the time for producing and exchanging them might be very strict. Therefore it is necessary to have agile tools and services that allow SMEs to quickly react to orders and setup production.
In this context, it is very useful to define a set of basic workflow templates (Fig.13) because small series orders come very frequently and are very similar to each other. Such templates might be directly deployed with no need of further adjustments.
In addition, the Workflow Management solution allows companies to define rules that are applied to the exchanged business documents in order to check their format and content and possibly trigger actions, such as modifying the document content or routing. For example, specific rules can check specific values within a received order and refuse (by sending it back to the sender with a message) those that are not compliant with such rules.
Pilots: this tool has been used within the Knitted Garments Pilot for the automatic management of business documents related to sales and production processes for customized orders.
Laser marking machine
The laser engraving machine developed by ITIA-CNR and Synesis is a multi-purpose machine (see Figure 14: Laser Engraving machine), covering the area of laser cutting, marking and engraving, realized with an innovative architecture based on increased processing speed and the adoption of innovative laser technologies.
The Laser Engraving Machine provides an advanced control system for fast set-up and rapid working on leather, quick and easy customization of the single piece and integration and acquisition of data from the design environment.
Compared to traditional knife blade technology, the new laser system for cutting and marking fashion materials brings several benefits, from the small beam spot , allowing precise control independently from the cutting path, till the overall ease of use, as there is no need of powerful suction system for mounting the piece.
Currently, laser systems on the market for this kind of applications use almost exclusively CO2 laser sources, but the growing presence of diode and fiber laser technology on the industrial market enabled a more compact system without the heavy maintenance costs of the CO2 laser.
The new machine has been used integrated with the Design environment within the Footwear Pilot for the product customization.
Within the print-and-go workflow, an automated colour management process (Fig.15) finalised by Ergosoft is mandatory to guarantee best printing results concerning the topic ofreliable colour reproduction. In order to be able to apply a colour managed workflow, the software tools were configured with specific functionalities developed to enable an efficient inkjet production of fabrics for individualized garments.
The incorporation of an automatic marker system e.g. automarker.com from Assyst, into the virtual workflow leads to an automated marking setup. Using this tool, CAD files and cutting markers can be combined to optimize fabric consumption, reduce manual tasks and the risk of operator error:
• Developments and settings to simulate print-and-go process
• Set limit options for each piece or for the whole pattern
• Eliminate information and tags of the marker
• Calculate and report fabric usage
After all textures and applications are correctly placed and arranged, Vidya sends the production pattern geometry to automarker.com for optimal pattern placement. Before the data is sent to the web service for marker making, there are some possibilities to influence the layout result by, for example, changing the gap between the pattern pieces or separating the resulting PDF by the texture, see next figure.
After optimization the marker making service sends the arranged pattern back to Vidya. In parallel a transformation vector and a rotation matrix is calculated for the given garment and also sent back. Vidya uses this information to merge the simulation and the production pattern into a print-ready PDF file.
After completing all transformations, the .tif files from the original import are accessed for inclusion into the print-ready .pdf. If, for some reason, the .tif files are not available then Vidya adds the .jpg files instead.
Vidya combines the original textile design data with the arranged production pattern pieces, the user texture arrangement and added applications into one PDF-File. This guarantees that the pdf output contains the original .tif LAB images from the import and represents a correct visual and coloric representation of the textile design into the original 2D CAD production geometry.
This production environment has been validated for final production of single items or small series within the Textile and Sewed Garments Pilots.
Sustainable Digital Textile Printing
CTX, Ergosoft and DITF developed a collaborative inkjet printing environment capable of producing small amounts of high quality textile and leather based materials, within a sustainable environment prepared for ad-hoc scale-up (Fig.16).
In particular, inkjet printing and related pre- and after treatment technologies are key enablers for the setup of a sustainable inkjet production environment based on different technological and methodological elements that combine high quality inkjet printing technologies with technologies for fixation and washing, towards a sustainable infrastructure in digital textile printing, based on energy and resource efficiency, reduced water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Specific research points addressed have been the setup and the improvement of all processes for:
• Integration of DTP in a traditional textile printing plant,
• Optimised profiling process for new set-ups (printer, inks, substrates, ....)
• Development of a tolerance model for parallel inkjet production,
• Development of a media wedge/certification that the print job is within realistic tolerances
• Setup a quality management process for parallel production,
• Setup a stand-alone inkjet printing environment, including all processes, for small and medium sized jobs,
• Setup of a control structures for parallel inkjet production, measured by developing an ecological and health care profile for inkjet production, including all pre- and after treatment processes, and
• Environmentally responsible behaviour controlled by developing an ecological and economical profile for inkjet production, including raw materials and all pre- and after treatment processes.
Current research shows that best practices for digitally printed textiles could reduce the use of water in production by 50% or more and energy consumption by up to 75%, as well as significantly reducing textile waste as compared to rotational screen printing. DTP can also significantly reduce or eliminate many high-impact steps in the production of printed textiles, particularly in the test-print and prototyping phases of garment production and leads to a sustainable production model.
This environment has been validated within the Textile and Sewed Garments Pilots in order to produce fabrics and product components by an innovative and eco-sustainable printing process.
The CoReNet Collaboration Portal (http://demos.txt.it:8090/corenet/web/guest; see the home page in Figure 18: Collaboration Portal - Home ) is the virtual place where visitors and registered users can find information, support and easy access to most of the tools developed and customized within the CoReNet Project. The idea is to exploit the emerging social networking approach to provide a friendly and collaborative environment where people coming either from the Footwear or from the Clothing sector can find a community that shares a common interest on topics and on results related to the customization of TFCI products for specific niches of users (Figure 17: Communities for the CoReNet Pilots in the CP).
The portal hosts two open communities addressing the footwear and the clothing industries (accessible by any visitor, after registration) and other communities to be used for the validation of the CoReNet Pilots (accessible by project partners).
Each community is equipped with a range of CoReNet tools plus a set of common services for asking/sharing information and opinions about them. Community members can evaluate the CoReNet tools supported by rating systems, questionnaires, and a ticketing system to report a bug or request clarifications about the usage of a tool.
Piloting activities and business validation
The development of all the project results was finalized for demonstration and validation purposes through the set-up of 4 Project Pilots:
• Footwear pilot
• Sewed Garments pilot
• Knitted Garments pilot
• Textile pilot
The four pilots are focused on specific business processes addressing consumer Target Groups (TGs) to design and produce end products through renewed business and operational processes, such as designing shoes for diabetic and disabled people or developing and configuring different types of garments and fabrics for obese and elderly customers.
A summary of the four Pilot environments is provided in Table 5.
Each pilot has been conceived as a dedicated experimental test-bed including a set of project results (see Table 6: Tools deployed and validated in the four pilot environments) proving how they work in a realistic and integrated environment (integration among CoReNet solutions and with legacy systems).
In the following paragraphs each pilot is synthetically described. Additional information can be found trough the Collaboration Portal where a specific section has been dedicated to each of them. The Pilot Sections on the Collaboration Portal in fact have been conceived for both validation and demonstration purposes, so that the different software applications can be used with realistic data coming from the industrial partner domains. Expert users would be able to access and play with the tools following some suggested workflows provided by the examples but also freely exploring any other available functionality and tool.
KNITTED GARMENTS Pilot
In the Piacenza Pilot, CoReNet results have been integrated in order to provide a solution supporting the management of the flow of customised orders for Knitted garments (sweater and pullovers) from shop to production to suppliers. Orders can be acquired either on-line and then completed in the shop, or directly in the shop where an employee is required to complete it with some sensible information, such as consumer private data and pre-payment amount.
Then, thanks to the support of the CoReNet solutions the order is submitted to the Piacenza production department where it is processed and, with the support of the partner search tool, the most suitable partners for the production are selected. Production orders and other documents used to exchange business information along the supply chain are exchanged along the supply chain thanks to an advanced workflow manager.
The PIACENZA pilot flow is visible in Figure 21: The business process for the Knitted Garment Pilot and comprises the following steps:
1. The precondition is the catalogue preparation by which a part of the PIACENZA catalogue is exported and injected in the online configurator tool provided by the CoReNet partner Bivolino;
2. The real process start at the time the customer enters in the shop and, together with the shop assistant, selects in the online configurator tools the desired item and does the prepayment. The order is in the status “confirmed” only at the time the pre-payment is done and is under the control of the shop assistant. In this phase the users only inserts three measures and the online configurator generates all the needed measures for the customisation;
3. The confirmed order is received by the PIACENZA production where the right partner is found by using the Partner Search tool and engaged in the process and the production order is sent to it.
4. The production partner first of all confirms the order sending back the “order confirmation” indicating the forecasted data for the execution of the manufacturing. Then it produces the item. The item together with invoice and transport document is shipped physically (the item) and virtually (the digital documents) to PIACENZA production.
5. PIACENZA production executes a quality check and, after approval, the item is shipped to the shop.
6. The shop informs the customer that the desired item is available on the shop and, after the payment is delivered to the customer that can enjoy it.
The CoReNet solutions applied in this pilot are:
• Customized User Interface for OnLineshop (Configurator front-end); this module provides the on-line service that offers for obese and tall people appropriate and renewed sweater and pullover collections.
• Partner Search: the Partner Search engine supports the identification and selection of potential partners required for the development of new or customized products with special needs. Partners can be selected by enabling the user with a set of data management tools for sorting and filtering partners identified by setting queries based on a wide variety of customizable attributes (quantitative and qualitative). In case it is not possible to extrapolate the adequate partner from the list of registered ones, the system allows also an open advanced search on the Internet. Moreover during the operational phase companies should find and engage production partners quickly. The choice is based on performance historical KPIs and the availability of production slots on specific machineries needed to perform small series productions. This tool extends the Partner Search tool providing the possibility to track the availability of production slots for each machine of the partners.
• Workflow Manager: this software module enables IT managers to define and implement appropriate document management rules. These rules can be used for the automatic processing steps on the business documents exchanged within the order management process. In particular, the rules are referred to the characterization of production orders as well as transport documents and invoices with data related to the ordered product and to some general info such as delivery address, due date, etc.. achieved through the customer order that starts the sales and production&delivery processes.
• Customized Order Management (Shop and Production): This tool is an extension of the Piacenza ERP tool that allows working and tracing customized order in both shop and production environment. The tool allows to manage different business document of the MODA-ML standard (created in collaboration with the CORENET project) managing customized configuration of garments, namely: order, order confirmation, transport document and invoice
Business Validation by Piacenza
The Pilot deployed and validated in the Piacenza industrial scenario is focused on the usage of the CoReNet tools to support the generation and management of orders for customised items from the selection and customisation of the items performed in the shop by an obese customer, to the actual production and delivery of the final product back to the Piacenza shop.
The exchange of the information has been performed using a set of standard business documents; thanks to the cooperation with the eBIZ standardisation initiative, the specific information necessary to deal with customisation of knitted garments have been introduced.
The major impact is on the reduction of time and costs thanks to the improved integration of the actors in the chain (from customer and shop assistant, to third party in charge of the actual knitting of the sweater) and to the strong reduction of errors in data entry and document dispatching.
Four obese people representing the most common obese morphotypes have been invited in the Piacenza shop to validate the process and the product (see Figure 20: CoReNet Tools used in the Piacenza Shop). From their feedback emerges that the system is able to satisfy two main expectations from the obese people: providing a non-invasive and not embarrassing customisation phase, where only the collar measure is taken and ensuring a reasonable delivery time. The only main important drawback detected is related to the final price (increase of about +30% on standard).
The solution developed for Piacenza can be extended and replicated to other companies producing different types of clothes, provided that a specific set of eBIZ standard documents is identified and extended to allow dealing with customisation information and then adopted in the system. The Partner Search allows managing different sets of KPIs, thus also those relevant for other sectors.
The positive feedback from consumers and production operators give evidence of the concrete possibility for fashion companies to enter a new market using CoReNet tools.
SEWED GARMENTS Pilot
The aim for the Pilot was to extend the existing e-platform for garments for men and women to obese and tall people, allowing also a possible extension to other target groups (e.g. elderly and disabled people). To do this, Bivolino developed a new kind of "configurator customizer", built with a modular configuration, being able to be easily adapted to any special target group, updating its configuration following the needs of the specific target group chosen and of the business partner.
The e-platform will allow obese people to purchase, both using online shops (B2C) or going to their preferred Big & Tall shop (B2B2C), the Made-To-Measure shirts from Bivolino. The in-shop purchase allows a more precise measuring system, especially for customers with special morphological characteristics, because the in-shop assistant will take nine measures from the customer. The online system is a quick body measurement based on four dimensions from which the proprietary algorithm extracts the other necessary measures for the Made-to-Measure shirt.
The shirts and blouses produced (see some examples in Figure 22: Samples of products for Big&Tall consumers) must meet the needs offering a good fit, comfortable fabrics, fresh and with a good perspiration, and also with a fashionable look.
The in-shop purchasing process allows a more precise measuring system, especially for customers with special morphological characteristics, because the in-shop assistant will take nine measures from the customer and report them in the in-shop configurator. Before the project, the in-store selling was not managed by Bivolino and it was suggested by their partner High and Mighty (H&M), to produce shirts that can fit better to the obese customers buying in the shop.
The online shopping was further reinforced thanks to the extension of the algorithm which are further improved for the specific TG during the project and was tested with Bivolino customers.
The shirts and blouses produced for these TGs have been redesigned to meet the needs of the customers, offering a good fit, comfortable fabrics, fresh and with a good perspiration, and also with a fashionable look.
As depicted in Figure 23: Business Process for the Sewed Garment Pilo, the flow starts with the KMT tool for the market analysis, and according to the output generated by this tool. the Product Configurator tool is developed. Using this tool, customers can choose their preferred shirt, customize and order it. They can do it both in shop, with the help of the shop assistant, or at home, doing everything alone online. The customer order is delivered to Bivolino, the MTM production tool will produce the CAD-CAM of the order and will manage the order, sending the required information to the supplier. Finally, the produced shirt will be delivered to Bivolino's distribution centre and from there it will be developed at customer's home (if ordered online) or at the shop where the customer can withdraw it (if ordered in shop).
The CoReNet tools validated in the pilot are:
- Customized User Interface for OnLineshop (Configurator front-end); this module provides the on-line service that offers for obese and tall people appropriate and renewed shirt and blouse collections.
- KMT for market analysis provides by Business Intelligence (data warehouse, OLAP, dashboards) and data mining (clustering, association rules) technologies trends evaluation and clustering market niches. Having collected data of big and tall consumers (sizing and fabrics), the KMT prototype was used in order to identify obese consumer trends for fabrics and sizing namely supporting the definition of the new collections.
- Customized User Interface for OnLineshop (Configurator back-end); this module allows the preparation and the development of the configurable product models to be offered through the on-line shop.
Business validation in Bivolino
The activities in this pilot allowed Bivolino to test how to extend its business to a new market niche, that before were totally ignored by the brand because of its particular measures and needs, by mean of new solutions and reinforce its position especially towards downstream supply chain. Bivolino developed and validated new solutions to better understand the market of obese customers in terms of obesity type distributions and obese preferences and needs (thanks to KMT tools), to support retailers in sales, and to support customers during direct purchasing.
Bivolino has worked mostly in the downstream value chain, reinforcing the relationship both towards the final customer and towards retailers proposing solutions to improve the capability of a customer to express its needs.
Thanks to the activities held with known brands that already are in the market of obese people (like High&Mighty), interested in extending the offer of Made-to-Measure products, Bivolino could reach a large amount of customers receiving feedback from them to improve both the products and the service provided with the configuration platform. Moreover this experience was useful for Bivolino to understand the importance of selling also in-store, especially for some particular categories of customers (e.g. obese), offering a precise measuring system. The modular Product Configurator, that can be easily adapted to the particular needs of a specific Target Group, can help to reach new categories of customers without building a totally new Configurator.
The cooperation with CTX showed to Bivolino how choosing the appropriate fabric can really enhance the value of the product which is not only based on aesthetic but also on functional features.
The goal of this pilot is to improve the CTX development process of textile designs and garments for specific target groups and small lot sizes, whose main steps are depicted in Figure 24: Main process steps for the Textile Design and Printing. Therefore a digital development and configuration development was developed including simulation for product visualization. Seamless integration of this “Virtual Prototyping Environment” in production and optimization of production ready files with respect to material consumption and process capability takes the necessity of rapid interaction between development and production for small series into account. Taking the requirements imposed by production of small series into account production solutions are part of the demonstrator that support process planning as well as reduce sample production and set up time (see as well „Simulate Print and Go Services for Optimised Digital Printing”).
A representative set of avatars of obese people was chosen as well as suitable patterns were developed (configuration space) as precondition to enter the target group specific textile design process. This forms the basis to enable target group specific design.
For this configuration space either a subset of customizable textile designs is developed or on demand textile design development can be performed. As next step, these designs can be visualized and, if they fulfill the customer´s request an optimized pattern using the textile designs will be created and provided in a print ready manner.
In detail, as shown in Fig.8 this flow implies:
• The solution of color management issues: Preserving the original color information within the virtual development environment and providing color managed print-ready files for production is a crucial requirement for highest quality production solved in CoReNet.
• The handling of resolution. This is important to process highest resolution files in order to enable highest quality production if necessary and enable fast simulation and visualization. Therefore instances of the high resolution files for simulation are created but the original files are used to generate the print-ready files.
• The seamless integration of the virtual development environment in production by provision of print-ready files is the last dimension to enable collaborative fabric design in order to provide a solution for instant (sample) production out of development environment.
The CoReNet solutions applied in this pilot are the following:
Collaborative Fabric Design: The process chain to produce custom clothing involves several software applications used by different partners for specific target groups, e.g. obese people. For the Textile Pilot the "Simulate Print and Cut" process was developed. In this process all software components involved in the development and design process for individualized garments were seamlessly integrated beginning with Vidya. CAD for pattern development, Vidya for Simulation, interactive design choice and proof of fit, the automarker.com interface for pattern optimization and generation of print- and cut ready files. This last step also foresees the seamless integration in production.
Marking and Digital Printing: A core result of CoReNet is the seamless integration of a development environment that comprises simulation and visualization functionalities in production. Result of this integration is the provision of print ready files out of the development environment, that are color matched, optimized with respect to material consumption and consist of pattern lines as well as texture information in the pattern lines. Involved partners were Assyst for the virtual development environment, Ergosoft for the RIP solutions and color management issues, Color Textil for production and application and DITF-MR for conceptional development and guidance.
Business validation in CTX
The textile pilot helped to radically improve the business processes of CTX. Thanks to CoReNet, the development of textile design can be done on a context-specific and in a lean and effective way without the necessity of physical sampling and the flow from design to printing is fully integrated and fasten. Secondly the way of presenting and selling textile design, which is the core business of CTX, enables to instantly visualize on garments the traditional fabric samples that have the shape of quarters or rectangular.
Being CTX a B2B company the external validation was held with companies which are their customers or potentially can be their customers. These companies have been involved during fairs for a trial of the new design system. Customers significantly profit from this way of presenting and selling design because they mostly search textile design for a certain type of garments and a dedicated target group. As the virtual developing and presenting of garments and fabric design modifies traditional procedures, involved employees, as designers and developers as well of sales agents, have to be trained comprehensively. Paying attention to these points will ensure smooth adaption of CoReNet solutions and improve existing design and development processes. Replication of CoReNet results is explicitly foreseen according to the generic shape of software solutions and integration of network data repositories to enable collaborative co-design.
The footwear pilot (see Figure 26: Footwear Products and Processes) aims to realize men and women shoes for diabetic customers matching aesthetical personalization options with technical features able to offer support in preventing foot pathologies. The business model considered includes both B2B or B2C and customers of this scenario can be both retailers interested in the realization of small series of shoe and consumers with specific needs wishing to by a customized product (one lot production).
The process flow of the pilot is composed of seven main phases: Marketing, design, network configuration, customization, planning and production and validation, which are done by the following actors:
• Manas – shoe producer of fashion shoes, being responsible for trend sales, design, who defines specifications and participates in production;
• Michelotti – orthopaedic expert, being involved in data collection, definition of (functional) requirements and product specifications;
• IPP lab – integrated production plant of a research institute, being in charge for technical design, engineering of the shoe and production (incl. laser engraving).
The process flow of the pilot is composed of seven main phases (see Figure 27: Seven main phases of the Footwear Pilot process):
1. Starting with the definition of the small series for target group, the first step is represented by the market analysis executed by Manas and Michelotti to know market trends and is supported by the KMT.
2. In the second step, Manas, Michelotti and IPP Lab collaborate together to define the new shoe collection and design all the models and variants creating technical models and industrializing them.
3. The third step is the Network Configuration and planning the production of the small series. During this phase the three partners collaborate to create the production network necessary for the small series selecting the most appropriate partners to realize the product and define preliminary agreements with them making a general plan for the season but keeping some time windows open for further refinements of planning when collecting the customer orders.
4. The fourth step is the selling phase, and it takes place when customers go to Michelotti shop to buy a new pair of shoes and are guided in the configuration and customization of the model chosen according to their preferences after measurement and analysis of functional and aesthetical needs.
5. The fifth step is the customization. This step is realized by IPPlab for what concerns adaptation of the technical model of the shoe, including information for the decoration profile to be realized with the laser engraving, and by Michelotti for the modification of the personalized footbed profile according to information collected in the order.
6. The sixth step is Schedule and Production and deals with collaborative refinement of production planning already defined in step 3 (in case partners need to change some of the planning) and final assignment of production orders to suppliers. Moreover this phase includes the realization of shoes and footbeds by IPPlab and Michelotti including the laser engraving operation on the leather.
7. The seventh and last step is the Validation and consists in a final trial of the shoe with the customer in the shop before product pick up in order to check if footbed pressure is coherent with foreseen values.
The CoReNet tools validated during the activities of the Footwear pilots are:
• Foot Measurement Platform is based on measurement session carried out by a podiatrist and is based on the use of electronic devices (WalkinSense) able to detect plantar pressures in different conditions (static-dynamic). Once the measurement session has been completed, it is possible to store and distribute customer data to authorized users by using a simple web application. In this way, podiatrist prescriptions including measures and any other relevant data can be provided for example to insole manufacturers (Michelotti), in order to allow the design and production of the customized items. After the production and any definitive trials of the insoles, the sales&development cycle can be closed and relevant customer data can be stored on a secured file for further utilizations.
• In-Shop Shoe Customization Front-End is based on a 3D graphical and dynamic representation of the models allowing some levels of configuration (materials, colors, etc..) for a real-time evaluation of the new models created. Once the configuration process has been completed, customer order can be entered and the configured shoes processed according to the integrated set of order management applications for production and delivery activities (Footwear models and database provided by Manas).
• Knowledge Management Tool is based on Business Intelligence market analysis, trends evaluation and customer profiling. The software module uses Business Intelligence (data warehouse, OLAP, dashboards) and data mining (clustering, association rules) technologies for trends evaluation and profile identification. Having collected data of diabetic and disables consumers (pathologies and preferences), the KMT prototype can be used in order to identify consumer trends for shoe types fabric and component/material features.
• Quality Manager Tool: this tools provides an intuitive UI for extending product characterization with interoperable data , by enabling user to the generation of extended product features related to any additional field such as : quality, sustainability, wearability, etc.
• LCA allows companies to evaluate the environmental impact of their products and their processes and allows using these information for the customer.
• Collaborative Design Back-End: this tool is the CAD back-end environment to be used for the definitive design and development of the customized shoes; this tool supports the development 3D/2D CAD of a real Manas shoe for diabetic., the configuration by the consumer using the RCS Web configurator and the automatic update of the back office CAD file and bill of material.
• Partner Search: the Partner Search engine, here deployed on the specific use case of Manas supports the identification and selection of potential partners required for the development of new or customized products with special needs. Partners can be selected by enabling the user with a set of data management tools for sorting and filtering partners identified by setting queries based on a wide variety of customizable attributes (quantitative and qualitative). In case it is not possible to extrapolate the adequate partner from the list of registered ones , the system allows also an open advanced search on the Internet.
• Collaboration Planning: this tool supports the shoemakers for a more reliable management of production plans that include activities assigned to external partners and suppliers. It is based on the collaborative definition of the plans based on negotiation process where criteria for quotation and negotiation are defined
• Laser Engraving Machine: this is an innovative multi-purpose machine with an advanced laser technology for engraving and cutting leather components according the requirements of the small series and single product business models.
Business validation for Manas and Michelotti
The CoReNet footwear products give the possibility to deal with customization at many different levels (upper, sole, footbed, etc.) and to adapt the product to the specific needs of the customers enabling to offer a better comfort. The product can cover different target groups due to its transversal characteristics able to answer not only to diabetic people needs but also to satisfy all those customers who search for a shoe which conjugates comfort and fashion aspects.
The challenge of CoReNet shoe exploitation for Manas and Michelotti is to make clear this message to the market and to understand customers’ needs which are still unsatisfied. A cultural change is necessary also at customer level who, in case of the orthopaedic market, is used to receive products reimbursed from the SSN without paying for it, in order to be available to pay an extra price to have a personalised footwear with functional features.
The development of the CoReNet footwear models in this pilot helped to understand and to identify some critical gaps which are present in the footwear networks, even if targeting healthy products. In fact, despite the strong and deep knowledge of the domain and the availability of well documented technology , the shoemaking value-chain is still characterized by an inadequate level of knowledge sharing among the actors, both in terms of product design and of production. The adoption of a common software platform for the supply-chain – the CoReNet portal and the related tools - , the availability of common data dictionaries and protocols for information sharing, as CoReNet started to develop, should help in improving these aspects toward a more cooperative industrial approach especially during product conception and network creation and management.
In the footwear pilot there was an extensive work for the re-definition of the product concept putting together the expertise of Manas, Michelotti and Ipp-Lab and also the contribution of other suppliers like sole supplier and producer of special material for lining. Different prototypes have been developed to tune up and arrive to the final product for the customers. The trials have been tested with the customers themselves involved by Michelotti. The conceptualization of the new products held to creation of awareness both in the project partners and in their external suppliers of the need to redefine product concept in a new way and using new tools to share information on the product.
With the support of the customers it was possible to test also the tools for improving the configuration capability of the companies and to change the approach when buying the product. Customers could experiment the possibility of collecting real time data with sensor system and to personalize the product with specific features.
External validation have involved also other shoe producers and suppliers of the footwear supply chain to which demos of the different solutions have been proposed and which expressed their appreciation for the developed tools and the approach.
POTENTIAL IMPACT of the CoReNet results
CoReNet introduced several new concepts and solutions influencing the organizational behaviour of the companies in the TCFI sector and thanks to the support of an innovative reference model they have the potential to radically change the cooperation attitude and effectiveness of actions, focussing on the provision of customizable products for specific market niches through a customer-centred approach.
The reference model allows re-engineering the business processes which have been mapped in the CoReNet collaboration portal where all the web-enabled solutions are accessible for each of the pilots and generally for creation of new communities. This approach was chosen to support SMEs in the creation of collaborative networks for design and manufacturing of customized product addressing target groups. The introduction of new collaboration processes, especially those related to market analysis, design and customization, process and production planning, brings decisive improvements in reducing the delivery time and costs and improving the innovation potential.
The usage of the CoReNet tools and the support of the collaborative portal were challenging for the all the industrial companies to re-focus their business to new market niches: the experience underlined the need of a cultural change to be introduced in the actual work habits and business values, which could bring to a renewed way to organize both the daily work and the long term strategy based on strengthening the relationships in the production chain (both upstream and downstream) towards a new collaboration model.
This change can in fact be realized only with the support of the companies already in these markets based on their skills and experience in facing specific aspects related to TG needs and product customization. A cultural change seems to be necessary also at customer level which is not used to find products answering both to aesthetic and functional requirements and need to be informed about the value of the new products and configuration process, as he/she is reluctant to pay additional money for a product whose cost is reimbursed by the social system.
The project demonstrated that the implementation of customization process should pass through different steps:
Increasing the capability to acquire specific data at market level - to collect information on specific needs to guide product definition –
Increasing the capability to acquire data from specific customer through a renewed profiling process, for product configuration during the shopping phase,
increasing the capability to communicate value of the new product in order to overcome also the problem of the extra price due to product personalization,
standardizing the process of exchanging business document on customized orders,
increasing trust among partners sharing information across networks.
Critical success factors derived from the implementation of the proposed Reference Model include the need to formalize collaboration processes and to implement sub-sequentially solutions where SMEs can automate some steps of the processes and share operational information and knowledge generated. Adoption of web-based solutions avoids SMEs to undertake complex and expensive installation and licensing systems. SMEs require in fact business solutions that are easy to use and may ensure confidentiality agreements according to specific needs.
The configuration, deployment and test activities presented in this document and its factsheet was of extreme importance also for the RTD partners as it was possible to find and fix some problems and to improve the tools. The achieved results proved to clearly enable improvement in the efficiency and effectiveness of TCFI SMEs.
Some general conclusions from the comparison of the experiences carried on in the validation phase of the four pilots can be outlined is summarised here below:
• All the companies in the four pilots experimented how to transfer their core competences and experience to cover new market niches represented by specific target groups addressed in the project but also extendable to other groups of customers. The approach can in fact be applied for the production of personalized products in small series even if targeting other groups of consumers.
• Implementation and test activities based on several iteration with the partners and their customers enabled to gather important feedbacks to improve the tools.
• The possibility to have a collaborative portal offers a unique entry point both for customers and companies where to easily work in network.
• Introduction of product customization need to be based on easy definition of customer profile and non-invasive body measure collection.
• New sales approach can be offered to the customers through online configuration tools and assisted configuration in shops.
• Network management should be based on the preparation of the partners before to start the collection of orders to have a certain capacity available for each production phase and for each product component using tools that allows to have a certain flexibility in the redefinition of the configuration according to specific needs.
Several of the ideas and tools introduced by the project have the potential to pave the way for the resolution of currently open problems like the interoperability between common business concepts and digital information, the efficient organization of collaborative processes, and the exploitation of the Internet as an effective mean to share opportunities, to organize work and to manage risks.
As a general comment, the support provided by the CoReNet Portal was found to be very promising to reduce the costs, the risks and the lead time in the tested environments. The proposed tools and the presented validation results can be used to easily underline the importance of the CoReNet approach when approaching other companies of the TCFI sector to form collaborative networks to address target groups and market niches with specific customizable solutions in order to jointly better compete on the market.
Industrial validation has also given evidence to the importance of timing in the business entry, which should be gradual and guided by a precise strategy, taking into proper account the present economic crisis.
Not to burn out the opportunities opened by the project it would be advisable to start from less expensive distribution channels, such as on line distribution and partnership with already established retailers in the focus market, while traditional retail is expected to experiment positive advantages in a medium term period.
DISSEMINATION MATERIAL and ACTIVITIES
As stated within the ANNEX 1 – DoW (Description of Work) the dissemination of project ideas, results and findings started from the very beginning of the project, and has been performed intensively, to ensure the establishment of high level of awareness and cooperation by industry.
The following target groups – in addition to the consumer target groups (obese, diabetics, etc.) – have been addressed within the project:
• Enterprises of the sectors of TCFI (including suppliers and related service providers)
• The Manufacturing Engineering industry (providing machines and systems).
• The (enterprise) software industry (for process control, MES, ERP).
• The scientific community for Supply Chain Management, Mass Customization, Network Theory, and for Manufacturing Engineering.
Dissemination has been carried through by using different channels - traditional and newer Internet based ones. A detailed dissemination plan is part of the project as deliverable D6.1 ‘Dissemination Plan’. The dissemination activities conducted during the project are listed in Section A of this Final Report.
The offline channels prosecuted within the project are: Fairs and Exhibitions, Conferences and seminars, Scientific and commercial journals and/or books, General presentations, Creation of an Industrial Interest Community (IIC), Implementation of relationships with existing projects-
The different dissemination material that has been used for the offline activities and the online activities includes:
• CoReNet leaflet/brochure (see Attachments)
• CoReNet standard PowerPoint presentation
• CoReNet wall-flag
• CoReNet roll-up
• CoReNet posters
• CoReNet transferred printed logos on garments, shoes & accessories
• CoReNet fact sheet
• CoReNet logo (see Attachments)
• CoReNet Newsletters (see Attachments).
Furthermore the online dissemination channels, includes:
• CoreNet Website
• CoReNet Collaboration Portal (described above, see also in Attachments)
• CoReNet Dissemination in Social Media
• CoReNet Dissemination Video (see Attachments)
The Table 7: CoReNet exploitable results, summarizes the results of the project. As it can be seen there are different kinds of results:
• General results supporting companies both from the organizational and the technical point of view in changing their business towards the production of small series for healthy and fashionable goods
• Technologies supporting design phase including solutions supporting market analysis, design and environmental assessment during design phase
• Technologies support network including solutions to support network creation and network management
• Technologies support production including a machine for engraving leather and a new production environment for textile
• Technologies supporting shop and product definition including 2 solutions for a new shopping experience.
Results can be both methodologies (as the CoReNet Reference Model), software solutions (either proprietary or web based) as well as machines.
An exploitation plan has been produced by the project, where the exploitation possibilities for each result have been analysed taking into account a set of factors, such as: innovation content of result, potential customers, potential competitors, benefits for the customers, expected delivery time in the market, costs to be uncured for re.engineering and productizing the result, expected range of price.
During the validation phase, companies had the possibility to test the CoReNet tools and services and to evaluate which could be the best way for them to exploit both the results they obtained in terms of product and in terms of process improvement. Each company defined a specific business plan which is inline with the work held during the project as well as with its own general business strategy. In some cases like the footwear one it was possible to define a collaborative business plan where more than one company are thinking to make business together out of the project results.
List of Websites:
The project website is reachable at: http://www.corenet-project.eu
Contact persons are:
Eva Coscia - coordinator (TXT e-solutions s.p.a.)
Rosanna Fornasiero (ITIA - CNR - Italy)
A short description of the consortium, the logos of the partners and information about other sources of information for the project (Website, Collaboration Portal,leaflet, newletters and Videos) are provided in the attached PDF files
Grant agreement ID: 260169
1 June 2010
31 May 2013
€ 5 133 189
€ 3 502 499
TXT E-SOLUTIONS SPA
This project is featured in...
Deliverables not available
Grant agreement ID: 260169
1 June 2010
31 May 2013
€ 5 133 189
€ 3 502 499
TXT E-SOLUTIONS SPA
This project is featured in...
Grant agreement ID: 260169
1 June 2010
31 May 2013
€ 5 133 189
€ 3 502 499
TXT E-SOLUTIONS SPA