The vision of the project is to:
"Strengthen and improve the competitive mid-Norwegian
supplier industry towards a global maritime market"
Norway, in particular Mid-Norway, has in many years had a strong and important tradition for industry as a supplier of goods and services to the global maritime market. In the last decade, the competitiveness of this supplier industry has been tested due to the market movement eastwards and more intensive global competition. At the same time, new opportunities arise in international shipping of goods and the need for more advanced vessel and offshore technology, both in the North Sea and globally. To secure the competitiveness of mid-Norwegian supplier industry one has to further develop competence and solutions for efficient production processes in more integrated and responsive supply chains.
Kongsberg Maritime, Noca, Roxar and Fugro Oceanor have identified common future needs related to their supply chains, and will together with the NCEI Cluster (Norwegian Center of Expertise Instrumentation) and research partners SINTEF and HIST, realize a three year research project.
The project will develop integrated and responsive maritime supply chains with sustainable solutions for the announced demands of efficiency improvement in production processes, in maritime industry, through new organizational solutions. In specific, the project will focus on four important R&D areas of future maritime supply chains:
- Supplier collaboration and management
- Efficient and responsive production
- New business models for the after-sales market
- ICT integration in the entire supply chain
The four R&D areas are illustrated in the conceptual model below. From the present situation at the bottom in the “margin curve”, with a relatively low contribution from production, the industry may develop by 1) enhance integration with suppliers, 2) enhance the contribution from existing operations, 3) develop new business models for the after sales market and 4) realize better total integration of logistics and technical information throughout the supply chain.
The results in the project will first materialize in the form of new business models and improved production processes at the partnering companies. The experiences and results from the project will be further spread out to the industry through the clusters of NCEI in Trøndelag and NCEM in Møre og Romsdal (Norwegian Centre of Expertise Maritime). The results will also be used in education of students at NTNU (the Norwegian University of Science and Technology) both through lectures and student papers and guidance of these. Through publications at international conferences and in magazines, the results will be used to further develop the theoretical knowledge that is shaped.
The project's most important innovation is new models and solutions for efficient production in engineer-to-order supply chains, i.e. supply chains of products that is designed and developed according to the customer’s demands and which often is produced only one or a few numbers of. Development and production of maritime instruments are such supply chains. Within research on efficiency improvement in production and supply chains, industries like this have been neglected, instead focusing on industries of mass production of standard products as cars and food. Solutions for standard products are a good point of departure, but they have to be adjusted to the characteristics of a engineer-to-order supply chain. For instance, many of the existing models focus on inventory reduction, while the main focus of a engineer-to-order supply chain should be time and quality. With this idea, the project will embrace both production and upstream and downstream activities, in addition to developing methodology for effective use of ICT to support the activities.
The knowledge and solutions created in the project will hence have a high degree of newness both regionally, nationally and internationally. The knowledge is of high importance to the partnering companies and other companies in the NCEI Cluster, and also for other Norwegian producers of high technology products and international actors.
The initiative and funding is made by the businesses themselves, and in addition to this the MARGIN project receives funding from the Regional Research Council of Norway MIDT. This is a collaboration between the counties of Møre og Romsdal and Sør- og Nord-Trøndelag, with the intention of supporting promising research originating from companies, public activities and R&D institutions, to further enhance research and development in Mid-Norway.