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Access for SMEs to Advanced Manufacturing Support


Brussels, Belgium, 17 August 2017

GENERAL AND SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

EASME wishes to enter into a service contract.

The overall objective of this contract is to help create a competitive future for EU manufacturing companies, given the context of high costs, global competition and digitalisation, and to strengthen Europe's position as a leading and technology-driven manufacturing region. The contract will directly contribute to objective 3 of COSME programme23 "Business environment for enterprises, including the competitiveness of enterprises and sectors ".

The purpose of the contract is to establish and operate a virtual European Advanced Manufacturing Support Centre to help SMEs assess the possibility of adopting advanced manufacturing solutions and transforming their organisation towards next-generation factories with more competitive, modern and sustainable production24 .

The Centre will undertake the following tasks:

  • Development of a coherent methodology, on the basis of existing initiatives and good practices, on how to provide innovation support services to manufacturing SMEs in the most efficient and complete way. The methodology should include how to best help SMEs identify opportunities for transforming their organisation towards a factory of the future (including a' company scan' and the elaboration of a 'transformation plan') and how to coach companies during the implementation of their transformation plan. The methodology should also identify financing schemes & tools and include how to guide companies towards high tech applications labs or competence centres that can help with the technological transformations;

  • Execute a small-scale pilot action for accompanying and assisting manufacturing SMEs to test the EU methodology with a view to adapt the methodology where necessary (the scaling up of this small-scale pilot action will be foreseen as part of a future action to be launched under Horizon 2020);

  • Disseminate and promote the methodology towards national/regional innovation support organisations on how to assist companies transforming their organisation, and provide trainings where needed, with a view to further replicating the methodology in new specific (national or regional) initiatives;

  • Identify manufacturing companies across Europe that transformed their organisation towards a next-generation factory, on the basis of an assessment of existing methodologies and in cooperation with initiatives in different Member States;

  • Create European learning networks of next-generation manufacturing companies to further strengthen Europe's leading position with regard to advanced manufacturing, as well as, to become inspiring examples for other European companies (including the dissemination of breakthrough results of the next-generation factories, workshops and inspirational events in order to showcase good practices and award competition).

The Centre will become a reference point for interested companies, as well as, for private and public intermediaries, for assisting companies transforming their business towards a factory of the future.

Therefore, the development and the operation of the Centre will be performed by a contractor with proven track record in providing services directly to businesses in the area of advanced manufacturing and industrial transformation.

Tasks

The contractor will perform the three following Work Packages to establish and operate the Advanced Manufacturing Support Centre:

  • Work package 1 (WP1): Development and testing of a coherent EU methodology to help SMEs transform their organisation towards a factory of the future

  • Work package 2 (WP2): Promotion of the EU methodology through outreach to and training of innovation intermediaries, and setting up of learning networks of factories of the future champions

  • Work Package (3): Communication and promotion of the activities of the Advanced Manufacturing Support Centre

Expected results

It is expected that the Advanced Manufacturing Support Centre becomes a reference point at European level for interested companies, as well as, national and regional innovation intermediaries, with regard to assisting companies transforming towards a factory of the future.

The Centre should mobilise national and regional innovation intermediaries and liaise also with relevant technology centres and platforms. It is expected that it develops and promotes a coherent methodology, including tools, helping SMEs transform their organisation towards a factory of the future. The methodology will be replicated in new specific (national or regional) initiatives and facilitate the creation of a European network of actors helping companies to transform their organisation towards a factory of the future. In addition, the creation at EU level of learning networks of next-generation companies, which will become inspiring examples for other European manufacturing companies, is expected to strengthen Europe's position as a leading and technology-driven manufacturing region.

To measure the quality of the results at the end of the work, the key indicators include:

  • Quality of the methodology to help SMEs transform their organisation towards a factory of the future, including the company scan web tool;

  • Impact on SMEs assisted during the short-term and longer-term pilot actions;

  • Quality of the set of criteria to identify companies as factory of the future champions;

  • Quality of the communication and promotion activities and material;

  • Number of stakeholders engaged in the different activities undertaken by the Centre and satisfaction of participants (training sessions, learning networks, award, conference);

  • Number of follow-up initiatives at national and regional level.

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