Business models for flexible and sustainable manufacturing

European manufacturers need an efficient and sustainable production of high value-added goods in order to stay in business. To achieve this, more organised and interlinked supply chains need to be developed. New business models are required to create more flexible and sustainable manufacturing value chains. The Horizon 2020-funded INSPIRE project aims to develop these new innovative business models.


INSPIRE aims to develop innovative business models.

Overview of the INSPIRE project

INSPIRE aims to develop innovative business models, which will create flexible networks based on intensified processing. The project devotes special attention to the needs of SMEs as partners in value chains. Innovative business models will be most likely be developed for a selection of sectors where new business solutions and supply chain configurations are emerging (like 3D printing, additive manufacturing or bio-based materials and chemicals). The project will furthermore outline research needs and deployment routes (roadmap) and provide a guideline to measure and assess the performance of novel business models under different scenarios. The project is expected to provide guidelines as to how more local business opportunities in Europe could be created and how the environmental impact could be reduced in a cost effective and sustainable manner, continuously taking customer needs into account.

Objectives of the project: develop business models for sustainable manufacturing

  • Understanding the major drivers and requirements for more flexible and demand-driven sustainable manufacturing and processing. This is done through examination of the present landscape and evaluation of best practices and use cases. We will examine a limited but complementary and representative selection of manufacturing and process industries with great potential for implementing a customer-driven model (automotive, steel, chemicals, bio-based economy).
  • Deriving how these drivers and requirements for more flexible, demand-driven and sustainable operations and intensified processing will shape the future manufacturing and process industries. And to see what kind of business models that would necessitate.
  • Define the research needs and formulate an industry-supported roadmap that will support the transition of the industry toward the proposed business model solutions for flexible operations in the process industry. This will lead to increased throughput, while maintaining high levels of customization. And it will create customer-driven supply chains, optimize resources use and optimize sharing across industries. As a consequence, production will return to Europe.
  • Develop replication strategies and KPI-based methodology to stimulate evaluation and benefits of taking up new developed business models. This also means proposing research directions on how business models, developed from a regional system perspective, can be replicated and scaled up for use elsewhere.

Our involvement in the INSPIRE project

We have various responsibilities within the project: