DIGICOR develops novel collaboration concepts and implements an integrated platform that significantly reduce the burden to setup production networks and collaboration between SMEs. In particular the project addresses the integration of non-traditional, small but innovative companies or service providers into the complex supply chain of large OEMs. By providing relevant technology support at one place, the DIGICOR Collaboration Platform will shorten the time to jointly respond to business opportunities and simplify the management and control of the production and logistics networks.
Figure: Conceptual architecture of DIGICOR Platform
Large OEMs, such as Airbus, have streamlined their supply chains and reduced the number of 1st tier suppliers to a small number of large preferred suppliers (typically large companies such as Thales, Honeywell). Besides that, other constrains like extensive risk sharing requirements, complex procurement and collaboration procedures, contract formulation rules and IT systems, create strong barriers for SMEs to join supplier network of OEMs.
On the other side, highly customized products in the automotive and aviation industry require innovative solutions mainly developed and provided by small but innovative high-tech companies. The customer demands, e.g. for novel features, have to be developed and produced in very short time with close collaboration of OEMs and high-tech SMEs in an ad-hoc production / supply network. Both parties, the OEM and the innovative SMEs (organized in industrial clusters), need supportive infrastructure such as technical platforms, novel governance approaches, IPR framewok, coordination tools and services to simplify the setup and management of ad-hoc production networks.
The DIGICOR Platform will provide essential coordination support to suppliers and OEMs along the complete collaboration process by utilising a secured IT infrastructure and a set of software tools for planning and controlling the production across the production network. In addition clear governance rules and procedures (e.g. for IPR handling) will allow a quick and trustful setup of the ad-hoc collaboration.
The DIGICOR platform will be hosted and managed by the SME clusters as facilitator of the local SME/supplier community to connect the collaboration partners to the OEM supply chain and production management systems. The collaboration services and tools for planning and control of the production locally and across the network will be provided to the collaboration partners by the platform e.g. as SaaS. The seamless integration of CPS solutions for real-time data etc. is also envisaged.
Figure: Breakdown of DIGICOR work program into different work packages
The implementation of the DIGICOR platform involves the interplay of different streams of work that are organised in 9 work packages. These work packages specify, implement and validate the DIGICOR platform and its supporting elements, core tools & services and also the collaboration governance procedures.