[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The effective creation and management of business networks is more and more an important contribution for the competitiveness and sustainability of European SMEs. In Non-hierarchical networks SMEs join their competencies and resources to grab profitable business opportunities. In these networks SMEs take the leading role and control the business instead of being subcontracted by large companies and traditional supply chains. This paper presents a conceptual framework, including methodological approach, best practices and reference processes aiming at supporting SMEs in creating and managing non-hierarchical networks for complex products design and manufacturing. The framework high level structure and the most specific processes are presented, including: capacity management, collaborative operations planning, risk and event management and performance management. The framework was validated in three pilot networks, from the textile, footwear and machine tools industries.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To successfully compete in the market, European SMEs will have to adopt new business models and establish dynamic and non-hierarchical networks, assuring quick response, fast time to market, differentiated offerings and competitive prices. Sustainability will be found in high-variety and low-volume businesses, related with complex products design and manufacturing. This paper presents a Methodology concept, developed by the European project Net-Challenge, supporting SMEs in building and operating non-hierarchical business networks for complex products manufacturing with Engineer-To-Order (ETO) or Assemble-To-Order (ATO) strategies.