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IK4-IDEKO improves the reliability of order deliveries

IK4-IDEKO improves the reliability of order deliveries


 The Machine Tools and other similar sectors are characterised by having a non-hierarchical network of customers and suppliers, where a lack of reliability in deliveries creates delays and additional costs that reduce company competitiveness.

Thanks to developments achieved in the European InTime project, from now on the customer will be able to determine the optimal bids or suppliers for their orders according to the overall cost (cost of material purchase + impact in case of delays), and the reliability of suppliers (level of supplier's reliability as regards the customer and other customers).

Companies that produce complex, non mass production line, products with high levels of customisation and complex supply chains, suffer daily from the consequences of unreliable delivery, which has a direct impact on their competiveness. The Machine Tools sector is an example of this problem.

This problem is tackled in the European InTime project (Project in the 7th Framework Programme) and solutions are offered that give greater transparency and flexibility in the order fulfilment process. The developments achieved have been implemented in MyOpenFactory, an order management platform that allows communication between different customer-supplier ERPs automatically.

Notable among the initiatives offered by the InTime project for the purchasing process are a tool that allows an estimation of the economic impact of delays at the customer's facilities (a tool to use during negotiation processes with suppliers), and a bid evaluation tool that incorporates supplier reliability in the decision process. Another important project milestone was the development of a CWA standard (CEN Workshop Agreement) for the simplification and standardisation of EDI communications in the management of orders between companies (principally SMEs).

The main improvements that companies obtain through InTime are: (1) an increase in reliability of lead-times, (2) a reduction in production costs as a result of better communication during order fulfilment and improved internal order management, (3) improved coordination and, finally, (4) improved allocation of resources through selection of suppliers for orders that is not solely based on price. The result of which is an increase in competiveness.

Danobat, the IK4-Ideko technological centre and AFM have participated in this project, led by the German RWTH-WZL centre. Its main activity has focussed on the definition, development and implementation of the model and tools for the evaluation of the economic impact of late deliveries to companies (research and development activity led by the research line of IK4-IDEKO's Production Management).

The consortium involving 3 European countries (Germany, Italy and Spain) consists of 4 centres (WZL, FIR, IK4-Ideko and the Milan Technical College), 3 companies from the Machine Tool and Industrial Equipment sector (Estarta, Fidia, Otto Junker), 2 ICT companies (Fujitsu and SAP) and 2 Machine Tool associations (AFM and UCIMU).

InTime will finish in November 2012 and has a budget of 4.9 million euros.