The project identifies an increasing pressure on EU manufacturers to be more efficient and innovative in their processes. The cause of this pressure is identified by the project as increased production capacity in low-cost economies (LCE) and increased innovation and level of sophistication of supply chains in high-cost economies.
The main problems undermining the competitiveness of SMEs are limited knowledge of lean/agile techniques; limited understanding of regional governments; lack of knowledge transfer to SMEs and a lack of resources amongst SMEs. The method applied is to use a regional model to improve manufacturing efficiency as the initial core of the ERIP model, which is subsequently transferred across the NSR.
01/06/2008 - 31/12/2011
1 - Building on our Capacity for Innovation
Area of Intervention
1.1 Building the innovation capacity of businesses
Total Eligible Budget
Newcastle University Business School Kate Morris McKeague firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 191 222 58 23
SINTEF (Foundation for Scientific & Industrial Research)
Newcastle University Business School
University of Applied Science Osnabruck, Lingen (UAS Lingen)
Municipality of Ammerland
Swerea IVF AB
Background and Aim
Aim Designed & developed by a multi-level governance & sectoral transnational team, the overall vision of ERIP is to increase innovative capacity & competitiveness of manufacturing industry in the NSR through the following central aims:
Create a robust network structure with the capacity to deliver long-term sustainable change. This includes increased employment in high-value added manufacturing, improved high-level skills in lean/agile & a reduction in the flow of manufacturing jobs to LCEs.
Innovative manufacturing & production techniques/practices (e.g. lean/agile processes) do not simply have potential to reduce manufacturing costs. The project will not just increase productivity capacity but also improve innovative capability across the NSR.
To test and validate a ‘methodology' to embrace change from the ‘shop floor' to management (based on transnational best practice) using 24 SME testers.
Joint evaluation & refinement of the methodology by project partners to produce a coherent approach & methodology for boosting innovative productivity (the application of lean/agile techniques and processes) in SMEs that is transferable across the NSR.
Background As manufacturers in low cost economies (LCEs) extend their capacity & those in high cost economies become more innovative & their supply-chains more sophisticated (e.g. Japan), EU manufacturers are under increasing pressure to be leaner, more innovative & flexible.
The application of lean/agile techniques by SMEs remains largely constrained by their lack of resources & knowledge and is a significant economic failing undermining the competitiveness of supply-chains across the NSR. This issue has not been adequately solved by any one Member State & thus requires a transnational approach to enable & deliver a transferable solution.
Through a strategic multi-dimension partnership vehicle, ERIP will establish a network of Innovative Productivity Centres (IPCs) to develop & test lean/agile SME production techniques & devise a new SME focused lean change methodology which will be transferable across the NSR.
Performance Validation Index - Productivity improvements (quality, costs, delivery, lead-time, through put time, export & turnover),
Transnational network of Innovative Productivity Centres,
Develop and test a Lean Change Methodology for SMEs,
Development of joint long-term industrial strategic actions and clusters,
EU manufacturers will become more efficient and innovative in their manufacturing processes,
Influence regional & national policy agendas.
April - September 2011
The project is now entering the final stages of its work on how to introduce lean management techniques to SMEs around the North Sea. The lean change methodology radically changes how employees and management think and work in companies. Most importantly, it enables SMEs across the NSR to access a structure, network and financial capacity to apply lean techniques. ERIP has removed the barriers to entry that face SMEs and have kept them excluded from the productivity advances more easily accessed by larger companies and multi-national users of lean change methodologies. The project has established a network of regional centres offering lean advice. The centres have since been testing mean techniques in a range of SMEs and refining their methods. Final recommendations on how to introduce lean methods in SMEs should be available soon.
October 2010 - March 2011
ERIP has continued using a regional model to improve manufacturing efficiency and as a result of the model's application positive impacts have been recorded in some of the tester companies. For example, real improvements in maintenance and set-up have been achieved in a tester company's printing shop. In another SME, focus on quality improvements and problem solving has yielded a 50% 'right first time' improvement on their epoxy line. In a Swedish company, following the diagnostic workshop, the pre-press department has been singled out for improvements, including measures such as set-up time reduction according to the SMED-methodology.
A Network of 6 Innovative Productivity Centres (IPCs) in place and activities are ongoing to apply the ERIP method that is conducted with 22 companies. One ERIP partner founded a spin off in order to establish a sustainable Innovative Productivity Centre after the ERIP project ends. The spin off will work with companies to support productivity improvements and training on lean production methodology.
Visits to exemplar companies have been arranged for SMEs to help them understand the application of 'lean' and see good practice. This will help to fine tune and adapt the Lean Change Methodology in future.
The new joint university degree in "Operations Management and Supply Chain Management (Logistics)" between Groningen and Newcastle Universities has now been developed and designed.
April - September 2010
ERIP continued to introduce the Lean Change Methodology to SMEs. For example, the project is testing a new way of teaching lean production to SMEs, which had a significant impact on the SME involved in the test. It will contribute to innovation in processes and organization within that SME, and will spread to have impact on many more SMEs as the pilot project is underway.
Through seminars, the project has disseminated information and knowledge on lean and other innovative practices to a broad audience of SMEs. Through other ongoing R&D initiatives, information from ERIP has been used to inspire manufacturing companies' innovative practices both in planning and implementation of R&D activities.
In addition, the project partners Newcastle University and Groningen University are collaborating on a joint postgraduate programme in Operations Management and Logistics.
October 2009 - March 2010
The "Lean Change Methodology". has been built up through the partnership and defines the steps to undertake, the tools available for each of these steps and some measurement points. The first workshops have been held in the SME testers and a number of showcase events have been held across the regions, steered by specialists from the North East of England.
A Transnational Network of Innovative Productivity Centres (IPCs) has been developed and established in the six countries. This provides a platform for transfer of knowledge on Lean production and build capacity of SMEs to engage in innovation that will encourage and facilitate joint transnational collaboration as well as act as focal point for initiatives to lean manufacturing knowledge across the North Sea Region.
Information, transfer, training and consultation has been carried out for the promotion of innovation in SMEs by the application of Lean management methods and a stronger co-operation between SMEs, Universities and major industries. Through the showcases and other initiatives ERIP has endeavoured to inspire SMEs to use innovative practices to increase their productivity.
April - September 2009
In the past half year a main deliverable, the "Lean Change Methodology", has been agreed on and documented by the ERIP project with the help of communication between the partners via a Knowledge Exchange platform. Based on this first version of the methodology, ERIP will start testing it in the SME tester companies. Engaging and recruiting SMEs is in full progress in all of the partner regions and most partners now have an IPC in place, i.e. the implementation phase of the project is about to be ready to start.
The Productivity Needs Analysis (PNA), a comprehensive methodology for a lean transformation in regional SMEs, was already tested at four companies. By determining the focus area of productivity improvement in the tester companies, this has promoted innovation in companies. Additionally, it led to the selection of the first problem(s) to be dealt with in the implementation and test phase and will lead to process innovation in these companies during 2010.
Additionally, two joint postgraduate degree programmes have been established between the universities of Newcastle and Groningen. Graduates will be awarded a dual degree from the two universities.
Until March 2009
During the first project period, the primary focus of ERIP has been planning and building relationships between the project partners. The first steps of organising the IPCs (Innovative Productivity Centres) were set: the project identified and negotiated with potential regional exemplars and SMEs, and explored the existing networks for possible Lean knowledge sources.
Work on a business plan for the IPCs and the transnational IPC network has been initiated. Research has commenced and an assessment tool for SME companies was designed. An Academic Group Meeting was held which yielded an initial head start and framework for the method to be proposed.
The ERIP branding was developed and the project website was set up.