The primary concept of this project is to research, develop, validate and valorise an architecture and set of tools, methodologies and structures which will assist European companies attain a competitive position in world markets in the mid to long term horizon. The target group is SMEs and specifically those from the 50 150 employee level. Within this target group, those organisations with high growth potential will be prioritised. The primary development focus will be on operation models which reflect the High Mix Low Volume (HMLV) manufacturing environment which companies must migrate towards in order to survive and compete.
The project will address competitiveness issues relating to European SMEs, the lack of take up of productivity methodologies such as Lean and Six Sigma and the changing nature of the business environment in which SMEs operate. A comprehensive response will be generated which will deliver and demonstrate solutions for SMEs in relation to strategic planning, cultural and structural issues preventing adoption of best practices, modified lean and six sigma tools tailored for SME businesses, virtual manufacturing and collaboration methods, value chain enhancement methods, process modelling and simulation tools, implementation methodologies within SME organisations, design for environment support tools and workflow process development tools for SMEs.
In addition, a special task will pilot and test how lean, six sigma and environmental philosophies can be integrated into school curricula in order to influence the mindset of future employees towards best practice business philosophies. The manufacturing model will be thoroughly tested through application in SMEs and other companies across a number of manufacturing sectors and also within several countries. Results will be disseminated widely across the EU and the outputs will be exploited for the benefit of SMEs across Europe.