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Approach to implement new collaboration patterns in the tooling industry

: Schüle, Stephan; Sturm, Flavius

Grenoble École de Management:
R&D Management Conference 2012. Proceedings : Creating and Capturing Value through R&D Management and Innovation, Grenoble, France, May 23-25, 2012
Grenoble, 2012
19 S.
R&D Management Conference <2012, Grenoble>
Fraunhofer IAO ()

The European tooling industry is characterized by predominantly small SMEs striving to collaborate intensively in the future within a complex value network developing and producing high-performance tools for their customers. Due to their limited experience but also due to restricted resources of the toolmakers, there is much unexploited optimization potential to streamline the value creation, to reduce iterations and to raise product quality. The objective of the research work was to understand and improve the mechanisms of value creation of SME networks in the tooling industry as well as to provide hands-on methods for SME networks in the tooling industry which are implemented insufficiently in toolmakers' value chains. The work's subject matter is the value chain of high-performance tools with embedded sensors and wear-resistant coatings. Both upcoming technologies are not wellestablished in the tooling industry which, on the one hand, bears the business-related risk for SME networks to fail and, on the other hand, is a typical example for innovative technologies that have to be implemented on product-side and process-side. Therefore, a three-step approach was used (analysis of existing collaboration patterns, definition of a generic value chain and synchronization points, determination of dedicated methods applied at each synchronization point). The three-step approach was developed in workshops and interviews with toolmakers, suppliers and one large end-user of injection molded parts. The analysis of existing collaboration patterns is based on four different dimensions (structure of the company network, company-specific process chain, resources in the sense of available capabilities and existing know-how, existing value proposition and expected changes in the future) derived from the Business Model Canvas of Osterwalder. The dimensions mirror building blocks related to organizational aspects of the Osterwalder template. The investigation reveals three main levers (communication, knowledge exchange and transfer, network coordination). According to the identified levers, a generic value chain with special emphasis on synchronization points in the value network was developed. The generic value chain describes the different activities necessary to develop and produce prototype tools as well as series production tools and differentiates the activities according to their nature (activities within the part design and production network, activities of the tool development and production network and project management activities of the coordinator of a network). Finally, practical methods like creativity methods, engineering methods or project management methods supporting conjointly the achievement of objectives were determined. These methods will support toolmakers at respective synchronization points of the network in the value creation. The paper will describe the three step approach and provide an insight into the method box developed in the European research project IC2.