Global Process Management with EU research project GloNet
GloNet aims at designing, developing, and deploying an agile virtual enterprise environment for networks of SMEs involved in highly customized and service-enhanced products through end-to-end collaboration with customers and local suppliers (co-creation). GloNet implements the glocal enterprise notion with value creation from global networked operations and involving global supply chain management, product-service linkage, and management of distributed manufacturing units.
There is a growing trend in manufacturing to move towards highly customized products, ultimately one-of-a-kind, which is reflected in the term mass customization. In fact, mass customization refers to a customer co-design process of products and services which meet the needs/choices of each individual customer with regard to the variety of different product features. Important challenges in such manufacturing contexts can be elicited from the requirements of complex technical infrastructures, like security infrastructures, alternative energy, or illumination systems in large public buildings or urban equipments, but also in more traditional complex products such as customized kitchens:
• These products typically require a variety of competencies and resources, hardly available in a single enterprise, which calls for collaboration among several companies and individuals.
• In many cases operations are performed within a fixed solution space, characterized by stable but still flexible and responsive processes, which can highly benefit from ICT support. As a result, the costs associated with customization allow for a price level that does not imply a switch in an upper market segment.
• A complex multi-supplier product with a high degree of customization would benefit from associated services (e.g. maintenance support, assistance wizard, etc.), which are more difficult to plan and arrange than with standardized mass products.
• Customization demands that the recipients of the customized goods transfer their specific needs and desires into a concrete product specification. This calls for customers’ integration into value creation to detailed defining, configuring, matching, and/or modifying an individual solution. Different from a do-it-yourself setting (i.e. autonomous creation activities by consumers), this is done in close interaction with the customer, who will contribute to co-creating the product/service with the manufacturer (or provider) responsible for providing the customized solution.
From a strategic management perspective, mass customization is a differentiated strategy. Customers gain from the customization of the increment of utility and variation of a good that better fits to their needs than the best standard product attainable. The larger the heterogeneity of all customers' preferences, the larger is this gain in utility and variation. From a managerial point of view, customization can be carried out with regard to fit, style, functionality, etc. Matching the level of customization offered by a manufacturer with the customers' needs becomes a major success factor. Providing European SMEs with adequate ICT support environments for mass customization therefore gives them a leading edge over other competitors from others regions that are more competitive in mass production of standardized products.
Overcoming the economic crisis requires companies to focus on exporting, namely to act in emerging markets such as the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China), which is difficult for SMEs to compete in, if working alone. In this context, many enterprises are struggling to survive in the currently turbulent markets, whilst some become leaders in gain¬ing new markets and effectiveness by targeting their future in terms of new products and services, or some other emerging technologies, having their focus already on technical innovation and strong customer-orientation. When focusing on customizable complex products, a domain where European companies might have an opportunity, it is important to be aware of the socio-economic, traditional, cultural, and perhaps even religious context surrounding the customer.
A collaborative network involving not only a network of European manufacturers, but also the customer and some local suppliers is thus beneficial and necessary. Since the main customers of complex products and technical infrastructures are public entities, it is even frequently the case that the collaboration with local suppliers is a contractual requirement. Development of the required support platforms interlinked with the development of adequate organizational and governance models to facilitate the rapid formation and effective operation of such partnerships as planned by GloNet will give European SMEs a high competitive advantage.
More information on GloNet can be found at:
The project brings together complementary expertise and capacities of leading partners in the main involved areas, namely collaborative networks, service oriented architectures and cloud computing, business processes and business modelling, knowledge management, and CRM. Also the project demonstrates a mix of partners from industry and research institutions, including a network of SMEs. Partners within GloNet are CAS Software AG Karlsruhe, Germany; UNINOVA – Instituto de Desenvolvimento de Novas Tecnologias, Portugal; UvA - Universiteit van Amsterdam, Netherlands; iPLON GmbH, Germany, Steinbeis MIT, Germany; SKILL Estrategia, Spain; Komix s.r.o., Czech Republic and Prolon, Denmark
The project is coordinated by CAS Software AG.
“Well Informed. Always and Everywhere.“ This motto reflects the philosophy of CAS Software AG. The company was founded in Karlsruhe, Germany, in 1986 by Martin Hubschneider and Ludwig Neer. CAS Software AG is the leading expert for customer relationship management (CRM) in the SME sector. Furthermore, the complete supplier for customer and information management also develops tailor-made sales support systems for customers like Daimler AG. CAS Software AG is aiming for European market leadership in costumer management for the SME sector by 2010.
Programs like the CRM system CAS genesisWorld and the intra/extra-net CAS teamWorks support small and midsize businesses in the establishment of profitable and long-term relationships. Company knowledge can be accessed anytime and employees work more efficiently. More than 150,000 users work with the products of CAS Software AG in their daily business.
The software experts from Karlsruhe are involved in many national and international research projects. For its innovative product suite and its commitment in the SME sector, the company has received many prizes, among those the “CRM Award” and the “European IT Prize”. In the innovation competition Top 100 it was awarded twice the special prize for “the best innovation climate” and received the “Innovator of the year” title in 2011. Four companies that work with the program CAS genesisWorld have received the “CRM Best Practice Award”.
CAS Software AG invests in companies which develop and sell basic technologies or services in the CRM sector. Among these companies are PTV Planung Transport Verkehr AG, YellowMap AG, LeserAuskunft GmbH and Varta-Führer GmbH.
CAS Software AG
Contact person: Dr. Bernhard Kölmel
Phone: +49 721 9638-0
Fax: +49 721 9638-299
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