Dorothy - Enabling Mass Customisation
European Shoe Manufacturing industry faces an intense and growing competitive pressure brought forth by developing countries, which are entering the global market offering low-cost workforce for the production of labor-intensive, low value added products. Moreover these countries are rapidly modernizing their production methods and enhancing their technological capacities (Manufuture, Strategic Research Agenda, p.8, 09/2006). DOROTHY aims at transforming the shoe industry and its related business model for strengthen Europe's ability to compete in terms of high added value for the customer (as cost-based competition is not compatible with the goal of maintaining the Community's social and sustainability standards). This transformation relies, on one hand, on the development of tools for the design of customer driven adding value shoes (service ranging from tailor made shoe to mass produced better fit shoe) and, on the other hand, on the realization of tools for the design, configuration and reconfiguration of flexible multi-site multi-nation production factories, meant to manufacture those customer driven shoes. DOROTHY mission is to "design customer driven shoes everywhere, manufacture them intelligently anywhere" as a crucial challenge for shoe industry to gain competitiveness in the global markets, also through better cooperation (and not only to compete) with low-wage countries. The customer, anywhere in the world, steps in a DOROTHY shop and co-designs the EU style shoe, that is manufactured in the multi-site-nation factory, designed thanks to DOROTHY tools. By focusing on a specific industrial sector, footwear, DOROTHY design tools and innovative business model represent valuable foundations of the future collaborative, standardised, open and service-oriented European platform for manufacturing engineering. This represents the main focus of the future work of DOROTHY Consortium, once the project objectives are achieved, aiming at applying and extending the DOROTHY results along all European industrial sectors on a trans-sectorial dimension: the European Manufacturing Engineering.