Dynamic Inter-organisational Co-operation Networks for the Maritime Industry

Project number: IST-1999-11780
Key Action II: New methods of work & electronic commerce
Action Line 2.3: Dynamic networked organisations
Project start: 01.01.2000
Project duration: 30 months
Total Costs: 2,2 MEURO
Commission funding: 1,1 MEURO


Key issues:

Development of IT technology for inter-organisational co-operations; Implementation of working environment for virtual enterprises; Adaptation of supply chain management methods; Configuration of dynamic networks for the maritime industry; Benchmarking of maritime supply chains.


Project main goal(s):

  1. definition of new models for co-operation in dynamic supply networked organisations;
  2. benchmarking of supplier/yard connections;
  3. implementation and utilisation of a Data Repository (DR) common platform for distributed design and procurement departments of yards and suppliers;
  4. development of an Virtual Enterprise System Integrator (VESI) as a "socket" to enable SME’s the access to VE platforms;
  5. development of electronic component catalogues for SME suppliers on web-sites to enable the integration of their product data (procurement and design information) via the dynamic network into the different application systems of the co-operating partners;
  6. building of integrated and secured EDI chains between the application systems (e.g. procurement and CAD systems) at the shipyards and at their suppliers.
  7. exchange of user experience gained from the implementation of showcases on DYCONET workshops.


Industrial problem area:

The maritime industry is following world wide a trend towards further outsourcing of processes and services to benefit from a better specialisation, lead time reduction and better cost performance of smaller and self-responsible companies. Specially in the maritime industry supply chains are characterised by the project orientation (new supplier structures are required for each ship type), the high amount of suppliers (60% of a container ship are supplier parts), heterogeneous structure of co-operation partners (sub-contractor, component supplier, material supplier, engineering offices, etc.) which leads to different requirements and a limited co-operation duration. In many cases the expanse for both sites (yards and suppliers) for organising the co-operation is extremely high in relation to the duration of the co-operation. This facts require the optimisation of supply chain management and the dynamic configuration of Virtual Enterprises respectively the inter-organisational information management.


Technical approach:

DYCONET is developing an working environment for Virtual Enterprises (VEs) to improve distributed co-operative design and procurement processes in the maritime industry and to prove the outstanding potential by using consequently VE supporting technologies. These technologies will be configured, enhanced and integrated according to the needs of maritime business processes; in particular needs of the procurement/supply chains and the co-operative planning and design chains. The project will introduce new ways of working in order to significantly reduce cost and product lead-time as well as to enable immediate response to customer requirements and market demands.

The technical basis for such a dynamic co-operative network will be a Data Repository (DR). This will be developed to manage the internal data administration for co-operation relevant data and the inter-organisational data exchange by using the Virtual Enterprise System Integrator (VESI). The VESI will be developed within DYCONET by considering the requirements for inter-organisational co-operations. It will be modular and dynamically configurable related to the requirements of the different network partners.

The EDI module of VESI will ensure the exchange of structured procurement messages (e.g. orders, order responses, delivery advices) and of technical data (e.g. CAD-files, CAD meta data). Via the EXTRANET module of VESI the supplier will get access to well defined customers data at the yard to enable e.g. co-operate planning and design. Data from Electronic Supplier Component Catalogues (located at the suppliers WEB site) can be loaded by the purchaser and/or designers of the yard via the WEB access and can be directly integrated into their in-house systems. The structure and content of the Electronic Component Catalogues (technical product data and procurement data) will be defined by DYCONET and existing electronic catalogues have to be adapted and partly new developed.

The project results of the prototype implementation will be presented and discussed with suppliers and yards and will be adopted and improved to their special needs. This procedures will ensure a high acceptance of dynamic linked virtual networks in the maritime world.


Expected achievements/impact:

The partners involved in the project expect an information and communication technology platform with multimedia presentations of supply components suitable not only for supporting the design and development of maritime systems but also to link into the procurement process. The expected result from the DYCONET project is a demonstrable prototype implementation of a renewed business process in an improved design and procurement chain between customers and suppliers for complex engineering systems.

At the end of the project it should be very easily possible for any kind of SME as well as for yards to become a member of the dynamic networked organisation and to be a partner of maritime virtual supplier networks. This will be assured by the "Guidelines for dynamic networks" DYCONET will offer at the end of the project.


Co-ordinator contact details:

Project co-ordinator's name: Dr. Reinhard Ahlers

E-mail: reinhard.ahlers@balance-bremen.de

Tel: +49-421-33517-0

Fax: +49-421-33517-11

Company name: BALance Technology Consulting