CO-IMPROVE (Collaborative Improvement Tool for the Extended Manufacturing Enterprise) (network project)

  • Nielsen, Jacob S. (Project Participant)
  • Gertsen, Frank (Project Participant)
  • Kaltoft, Rasmus (Project Participant)
  • Boer, Harry (Project Participant)

    Project Details


    Where once industrial firms competed to best the production results of other single firms, competition seems to have shifted gradually to the level of production network, or Extended Manufacturing Enterprise (EME). This shift has magnified the need to find new methods to not only strengthen the ability of EMEs to produce results, but also to improve their results vis-à-vis other EMEs. That is, because of the functional, geographical and temporal divisions between partners in EMEs, traditional organizational and managerial means are inadequate to continuously improve EME-level performance. Moreover, the necessary information and communications technology to support improvement and learning between firms ? a difficult, time-consuming process even with appropriate support tools ? is not yet available. CO-IMPROVE is designed to fill that void, to develop a "business model" for collaborative improvement supported by a web-based software system. This system must be capable of strengthening, capturing, archiving, retrieving, transferring and proliferating the knowledge generated as an integral part of collaborative processes related to the improvement of product development and order flow management within the EME. In addition, it will be accompanied by an implementation guide to support situational adaptation as well as the implementation and continued development of collaborative improvement at the EME level. Together, the business model and software system are expected to produce the following results: - EMEs will demonstrate an ability to post improved product development and order flow management results. Firms involved in CO-IMPROVE have projected overall stock reductions of up to 50% and error reduction of at least 25% on top of delivery capacity improvements of up to 50%. - Small and medium-sized firms in production networks will strengthen their improvement competencies, thereby strengthening their competitiveness and attractiveness as partners in other contexts as well. - Staff development as well as the development of employee qualifications, labor market attractiveness and the overall quality of work life will be improved. - Time, material and energy waste will be reduced. The main phases of the project are: - Needs study: In this phase, a requirements survey is addressed to the participating EMEs. This survey is designed to test these firms? maturity with respect to continuous improvement activities. Indications of needs and ambitions culled from the analysis of this survey are then validated and supplemented through a series of workshops arranged with other firms. - Design phase: Based on the results of the needs study, a CO-IMPROVE business model and software system are developed. - Operation phase: In this phase, the firms begin to test the business model and software system in a learning process whose goal is to implement collaborative improvements. Action research conducted on-site by Ph.D. students and periodic workshops serve to generate experience, which is collected continuously throughout the process. - Revision and validation: Experiences are combined and applied to honing the software and business model. Finally, experience generated in each of these phases is gathered with the aim of generating the aforementioned implementation guide. Financed by the EU, CO-IMPROVE is a collaborative effort between: - Four universities: Aalborg University/Center for Industrial Production (project management), Twente University (Holland), Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) and Politecnico di Milano (Italy) - Three industrial firms, Sauer Danfoss (Denmark), Aermacchi (Italy) and Power Packer (Holland), and select groups of their suppliers - Two IT-firms, IFS (Sweden) and i2s (Greece) CIP Project group: Professor Harry Boer (project manager), Associate Professor Frank Gertsen, Ph.D. researchers Jacob Steendahl Nielsen and Rasmus Kaltoft Total project budget: 3 million Euros (DKK 23 million) Project duration: spring 2001 to spring 2004
    Effective start/end date31/12/200331/12/2003