Project: Intelligent Supplier Relationship Management for Engineering-To-Order manufacturing

The operating style of Project-Oriented Manufacturing is very different than that used by traditional discrete and repetitive manufacturers. Prospecting, estimating, quoting, selling, engineering, purchasing and controlling Engineer-To-Order (ETO) projects is a very heavy and expensive task. Not only missing requirements traceability, people also only manage project deliverables and resources, but not project work nor project process. The efficient deployment of Business Process Management (BPM) techniques is hampered through the lake of:_x000D_1) simple user-friendly integration solutions between BPM and Workflow Management (WfM); and _x000D_2) solution combining simultaneously predefined corporate process models, project-specific operative tasks and ad-hoc tasks._x000D_These problems get even more critical when looking forward to involve suppliers in the product development processes. No generally accepted implementation paradigm is available today. Key RTD developments are needed for supporting flexible supplier relationships using collaborative, analytical and logical tools. Existing BI (Business Intelligence) tools usually provide experts with information they need to run their reasoning, but they don’t assist this reasoning process at all. Existing rules engines, or BRMS based on modeled professional rules (generally though decision tree) are typically only adapted to recurring mecanic and industrial-like processes. Having complementary objectives in the manufacturing IT market the three R&D performing SME participants initiated the market-driven ESTIMATE proposal. _x000D__x000D_The objective of this project is to develop an innovative Supplier Relationship Management solution to support dynamic decisions related to ETO manufacturer's interactions with their suppliers. This solution should be sold on the market by the beginning of 2011. _x000D__x000D_To this aim, ESTIMATE will first develop a framework combining three different applied research approaches: 1) enterprise modelling; 2) artificial intelligence et 3) Group Decision Support Systems (GDSS also called Groupware). The ESTIMATE framework will not be a simple decision-making model. It will assist all the cycle from reasoning to final decision and builds a generic component-based SRM Architecture that could be applied to the most ETO manufacturers ._x000D__x000D_The framework introducing innovative SRM decision modelling and methodological approaches will be applied to the existing groupware solution from CAS and the business directory from YellowMap while exploiting NORMIND artificial intelligence technology potential in order to build the new resulting ESTIMATE prototype. This prototype will address following SRM application areas:_x000D__x000D_1 - Collaborative product design, integrating procurement issues starting at the product design by involving suppliers through a collaborative development platform_x000D_2 - Sourcing targeting at identifying potential suppliers and mapping them according to prices, capacity, delivery delay and product quality. Then, the best suppliers could be requested to compete for selection._x000D_3 - Reverse auctions for the selection of the supplier by allowing to submit three types of request to suppliers: 1) A Request for Quotation (RFQ) to invite suppliers into a bidding process; 2) A Request for Information (RFI) to collect written information about the suppliers capabilities and 3) A Request for Proposal (RFP) inviting suppliers to submit a proposal on a specific commodity or service. _x000D_4 - The negociation process involving very sensitive steps like overall situation understanding, argumentation exchange, packaging of potential trades and reaching a final agreement. _x000D__x000D_The project involves 4 Ps from two member states (Germany and France) that are both key world-wide players in the IT area and in the manufacturing area:_x000D_1. Three R&D performing SMEs (NORMIND, CAS, YellowMap) are respectively providing core technologies in the Artificial Intelligence, Groupware and Electronic Business Directory areas to be further develop and adapted together._x000D_2. One academic research centre – IMS- is providing the needed expertise in enterprise modelling, supplier management processes and collaborative product design ._x000D__x000D_The consortium will work at the research, technological and experimentation levels while looking for a large business benefits for the SME participants. The project will start with the identification and specification of the manufacturers' requirements and then develop a SRM Decision-Making Model and Architecture for ETO manufacturers. After the finalization of methods supporting the customisation and on site sustainability of the SRM information system, the SRM prototype and the related connectors (for interoperability with existing business software) will developed. The prototype will be tested and validated in field thus leading to the preparation of a market validation phase beyond the project duration.

Acronym ESTIMATE (Reference Number: 4233)
Duration 01/09/2008 - 31/08/2010
Project Topic ESTIMATE will allow manufacturers to monitor, track and manage suppliers of Engineer-To-Order (ETO) projects. The SRM solution, while centralizing decision and communication processes, will increase negotiation leverage, make more effective outsourcing decisions and evaluation of suppliers.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
ESTIMATE has developed a modelling framework combining three different complementary approaches, namely:_x000D__x000D_1) Modeling_x000D_2) Artificial intelligence_x000D_3) Support systems for group decision._x000D__x000D_Our research laboratory has developed the first approach on modeling milestone of the project. On the one hand, modeling helps to create a set of specifications used to support future development and on the other hand, the modeling is used to clarify the process of ETO decision-making businesses.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 1

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
4 Laboratoire de l’Intégration du Matériau au Système Partner France
4 CAS Software AG Partner Germany
4 NORMIND SAS Coordinator France
4 YellowMap AG Partner Germany