The full list of success Factors can be viewed here.
The FIBREMAP project case (http://fibremap.eu/)
This case illustrates quite well the success factor 'Market aspects: The organisations that will commercialise the project results have been clearly identified'.
The key exploitation result of the Fibremap project is the “Inspection Robot”. The “Inspection Robot” is a robotic system for the automatic scanning of carbon fibre parts to obtain a dense mapping of fibre orientations on the whole part. The robotic system can be easily integrated with the production line, allowing 100% inspection. The programming of the inspection cycle is performed offline, automatically computing the inspection path starting from 3D CAD data of the product. The sensor (“FScan”) for fibre orientation measurement is mounted on a robot manipulator, increasing the flexibility to deal with different complex shaped parts within the same system.
How can our customer buy the FibreMap product(s)?
The main exploitable developments for the inspection robot have been made by 3 parties in the FibreMap project: IT+Robotics: coverage planning, motion planning, workcell simulation; Profactor: FScan sensor hardware, image acquisition, fibre angle measurement; UNIPD: synchronisation, fibre mapping. Buying the components from three different organisations is not very attractive for a system integrator, considering the many interfaces between the components and the fact that there is not a single point of contact for the FibreMap technologies. It could be necessary to have a single organisation that acts as the single point of contact, provides first level support to the customer and sells the products to the customer.
How do we address the market for the FibreMap product(s)?
While the system integrators will be the main customers, it cannot be expected that they will approach the consortium because they want to develop a robotic fibre angle measurement system. System integrators make developments for a specific end-user. Their developments are tailored to specific requirements and are done on the basis of projects (not products). It is also important to understand that the system integrator(s) will not act as the main sales force for the FibreMap technology.
Marketing obviously has to focus first on the end users to make sure that specifications defined by the end users can be met by the FibreMap technologies. Also during the sales process it will be important to stay in touch with the end user, even though we do not directly sell the whole system to the end user.
At the second level it might be important to disseminate the information about the FibreMap product among system integrators as widely as possible. In case they happen to receive a request for a fibre angle measurement system, they should be aware of FibreMap.
Which regional market can/should we address?
Even though the system will be built by a third party (system integrator), that sells it to the end user, some kind of support from the FibreMap partners will be needed. This will also include on-site support, especially during installation. To allow reasonable exploitation at least Europe has to be considered as a market. However, many of the European end-users will be large companies (automotive, aerospace), who are running production lines anywhere in the world. It has to be ensured that the partnership, including the system integrator, is able to support such installations worldwide.
Marketing, however, should initially focus on Europe.
Who should be the “face to the customer”?
A single point of contact will ideally be needed. This is also necessary to avoid situations that a customer or end-user is first contacted by organisation A and then handed over to organisation B during the sales process. This could be disturbing for the customer. Also, this single point of contact needs to be the main FibreMap sales force on the market, focussing particularly on selling the FibreMap results (in contrast to selling FibreMap as one product among others). It needs to be discussed which resources are needed for this purpose.
Most of these strategic aspects would suggest creating a start-up company that is taking care of the exploitation.
Issues that were considered in relation to whether a new company should be setup:
Finally, the decision was made by the consortium that an own company will only be launched as soon as sufficient customer interest is given and the current partnership cannot satisfy requests by the market. Exploitation will thus build upon the existing partnership where collaboration will be set up on the basis of customer projects.