Background and Aim
Designed and developed by a multi-level governance and sectoral transnational team, the overall vision of ERIP wass to increase innovative capacity and competitiveness of the manufacturing industry in the North Sea Region through the following central aims:
- Creation of a robust network structure with the capacity to deliver long-term sustainable change. This included increased employment in high-value added manufacturing, improved high-level skills in lean/agile and a reduction in the flow of manufacturing jobs to low cost economies.
- Innovative manufacturing and production techniques/practices (e.g. lean/agile processes) do not simply have potential to reduce manufacturing costs. The project would not just increase productivity capacity, but also improve innovative capability across the North Sea Region.
- Test and validate a methodology to embrace change from the ‘shop floor' to management (based on transnational best practice) using 24 SME testers.
- Joint evaluation and refinement of the methodology by project partners to produce a coherent approach and methodology for boosting innovative productivity (the application of lean/agile techniques and processes) in SMEs that is transferable across the North Sea Region.
As manufacturers in low cost economies extend their capacity and those in high cost economies become more innovative and their supply-chains more sophisticated (e.g. Japan), EU manufacturers are under increasing pressure to be leaner, more innovative and flexible.
The application of lean/agile techniques by SMEs remains largely constrained by their lack of resources and knowledge and is a significant economic failing undermining the competitiveness of supply-chains across the North Sea Region. This issue has not been adequately solved by any one Member State and thus requires a transnational approach to enable and deliver a transferable solution.
Through a strategic multi-dimensional partnership vehicle, ERIP established a network of Innovative Productivity Centres (IPCs) to develop and test lean/agile SME production techniques and devise a new SME focused lean change methodology, which will be transferable across the North Sea Region.