The vision of L4MS (Logistics for Manufacturing SMEs) is to unleash the full innovation potential of European manufacturing industry, especially SMEs and Mid-Caps by addressing their intra-factory logistics challenges.
- Productivity challenge: The logistics account for up to 50% of total manufacturing cost of an item. In a typical factory the transport of parts and components accounts for 25% of employees, 55% of all factory space, and 87% of the production time. While the large manufacturers are aggressively investing in logistics automation to minimize the manufacturing costs, SMEs have struggled to benefit from these new advanced technologies due to the inflexibility of solutions, lack of in-house knowledge and need of large initial investment.
- Flexibility challenge: Shorter production cycles, more product individualization and customization require a high degree of flexibility on factory floor leaving the conventional linear chain production. Today technology can deliver fully automated, modular equipment that achieves both a high throughput and a consistently high quality, with a high degree of decisional autonomy to self-organize the production. However, lack of standards and the un-availability of low cost equipment represent critical constraints for SMEs and Mid-Caps to adopt this paradigm.
- Skills & competencies challenge: Transformation process of a conventional factory into a Smart Factory, embracing the ‘so called’ Industry 4.0. (referred in this proposal as Smartization process) requires establishing the right organisational design and enterprise architecture that embrace convergence of systems i.e. Robotics technologies (RT), Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT). It is more so for newly emerging ICT technologies such as logistics automation. This necessarily implies strategic thinking, simulation, planning and re-skilling, thus involving a kind of competences and knowledge that is scarce in the manufacturing SMEs and Mid-Caps.
- Investment challenge: Innovation always relies upon the combination of technical knowledge and access to finance. In a race of global competition of higher productivity, companies must invest continuously not only in innovative products but also innovative production processes. The adoption of robots and IT infrastructure for logistics automation requires access to finance which has been of greater concern for SMEs than to larger enterprises.
In such a context L4MS (Logistics for Manufacturing SMEs) aims to provide an integral, and pan-European ecosystem to address these challenges, to unleash the innovation potential of manufacturing industry especially SMEs and Mid-Caps across Europe.