Title Quality for SME
Project Number 2009-1-PL1-LEO05-05035
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
New approach for training in quality aspects is highly required. The project results are addressed directly to SME staff including SME management as a group which have significant influence on all quality aspects in company. The content of courses will cover rather wide range of aspects regarding quality in manufacturing SMEs. Moreover, applying advanced
eLearning solutions which are most flexible for trainees is, in some cases, the best and only way for vocational development of SME staff. Most trainings currently available on the market are focused on chosen, quite narrow topics and in connection with that it is not possible for SME employees to adopt general, main ideas of field of knowledge w.r.t. quality. Attending number of courses is a quite time consuming and is not economically reasonable.
Today’s situation on the European market, rising global competition along with the world economic crisis and the cost pressure resulting out of it, forces SMEs to put more efforts to increase their competitiveness. One of the possibilities is the improvement of the production process quality, which allows to manufacture products of the highest quality while keeping production costs on the competitive and reasonable level. Particularly advanced Ambiance Intelligence (AmI) technology offers excellent oportunities to improve process quality in SMEs. This would allow those companies not only to survive on the demanding market, but also to develop and build solid relations with customers and other companies which need sub-suppliers of the highest quality.
Therefore Q4SME is targeting at transfer an adaptation of existing innovative results to provide the large SME community with the modern courses about improvement of the production quality and all aspects of the quality control adapted especially to the specific needs of SMEs.
To realize the ambitious goal of transfer and adaptation of existing innovative results from previous projects, partnership containing institutions from different countries was set up. Project partners have required expertise and knowledge regarding production process quality and all aspects of the quality control, including AmI technology. Some of them have common experiences from former LdV projects. They will use and transfer certain achievements and results of pilot project ISAR, which was realized 2005-2007 and FP6 research project AMI-4-SME.
PIAP currently delivers to its industrial partners and customers quality control and production safety related trainings. PIAP employees are experienced with design and implementation of automated systems for production and production processes control. PIAP will be responsible for project management and for transfer and adaptation of existing course materials concerning technical aspects of quality control systems currently available on the market.
The aim of the project is to provide a cost-effective, comprehensive training system for SMEs covering technical, organizational and economical aspects of quality control and assurance. Elaborated training system will comprise eLearning solution, learning methodology, materials and instructions regarding preparation and providing of training.
The project impact will be to increase the knowledge of target groups (managers of SME, SME employees, trainers and consultants) about production quality management and control supported by modern technical and ICT solutions, such as AmI technology.
In 2009 the in the middle of the economical crisis the situation of many small and medium enterprises become dramatic. They faced hard reality in which their existence on the market was threatened. One of the possibilities to help them increase their competitiveness is to improve the production process quality, which allows to manufacture products of the highest quality while keeping production costs on the competitive and reasonable level. Particularly advanced Ambiance Intelligence (AmI) technology offers excellent opportunities to improve process quality in SMEs. This would allow those companies not only to survive on the demanding market, but also to develop and build solid relations with customers and other companies which need sub-suppliers of the highest quality.
The group of international institutions have seen the SME needs and risen the international consortium to elaborate the new vocational training system for overall SME quality improvement. An international research project was launched by four companies from Poland, Slovakia, Germany and Spain. The consortium has solid background, competency and experience regarding production process quality, quality control, including AmI technology and quality management to realise the ambitious goal of helping SME's in fighting with the crisis by delivering them appropriate and required knowledge. During the international project “Quality for SME” (acronym Q4SME) realisation the knowledge related to different aspects of quality in small and medium enterprises was gathered and reforged in new shape customised for three end user groups needs. The identified end users groups are SME managers, SME workers and trainers and consultants.
The vocational training system called Q4SME, according to project acronym in which it was elaborated, covers three areas where quality should be improved: quality management, production culture and quality control. This division look strange for experts from different science fields. For quality management experts the quality management systems cover all mentioned aspects but from the other side for quality control experts quality assurance and control should be kept from the first line on the drawing board. However such division reflects looking on the quality from three different point of view and reflects approach to the quality from three sides. Quality management comprises knowledge about ISO9001 norm and its implementation in SMEs. Production culture is more technical knowledge for automation and robotisation as well as for ambience intelligence. Quality control is presented in theory and practical approach.
Product Types website
The main project results are Q4SME training system and accompanying methodology. Both that products are prepared in five languages: English, Polish, German, Spanish and Slovak. All versions of the system are available on-line. However due it is still prototype and the commercialisation process is still in progress the Q4SME system does not have unique internet address. To reach the system one can use a link on the project information page.
The Q4SME learning system is targeted to three different target groups: SME managers, SME employees and trainers and consultants. Therefore, three courses were elaborated. Most complete set of lessons comprise the Course for Trainers and Consultants while this target group should have most complete knowledge in the area of quality in SME. For SME Managers the course contains lessons related to quality managements and control as well as basic lessons related to production culture. This course is more theoretical while course for SME employees is rather practical and contain basic informations from quality management and theory of quality control but extended, more technical lessons from production culture and quality control as well.
The visitor (learner) has possibility to chose the right course following the proper link on the system front page according to his profession profile and skill set. The front page contains also brief information about the system itself and its usage and links to other language versions.
The methodology elaborated in the Q4SME project comprises detailed instructions necessary to (1) adapt/create course content, (2) establish the ICT system and implement the content as well as (3) to organise and execute the course. It is divided into two main parts containing the guidelines related to courseware and system utilisation/administration.