The companies involved, their business and the eBusiness network
"The heart of the NNS pilot beats at NOTA S.A, a pure SME company in the textile /clothing sector with
real data exchange needs in order to harmonize its e-business processes with the support of ebusiness
technologies and standards. NOTA was the perfect candidate for our project since, unlike
the majority of SMEs in the industry, it has a very good record on data exchange and interoperability
issues. NOTA was the first Greek company to implement –back in 1994- a full scale EDI project based
on EDITEX and up to today, has been actively involved in a significant number of European R&D
projects. In addition, NOTA presents a product offering (underwear / nightwear) that is significantly
different compared to standard apparel, thus significantly enhancing the eBIZ project coverage.
To cover the upstream scenarios, a NOTA key supplier was asked to join the pilot. Helkon Ruhaipari
Kft has a long and well-established business collaboration with NOTA. There is a strong business
case for electronic business among the two companies. Helkon, which is based in Hungary, also
reinforced the geographic coverage of the eBIZ TCF project.
To cover the downstream scenarios, the pilot project partnered with two retailers delivering NOTA’s
products to the final customers. NOTA’s owned stores are managed by a separate legal entity B&D
Masselos Senc, which provides the pilot with a good application test bed. Ch. Mavrommatis Ltd
operates two large and specialized lingerie retails stores in South Attica.
The four companies described above constitute the application test bed of the NNS pilot and are
complemented by NTUA SIMOR (pilot coordinator), which has an extensive experience in business
process reengineering and information systems integration in the apparel industry.
In the NNS pilot, a consulting company based in the Netherlands, Sonnenglanz Consulting, acted as
IT facilitator. This company has over six years experience in several very large scale ebXML
production projects and is actively involved in international e-business standardization. The company
previously collaborated with NTUA SIMOR in the area of electronic business in the home textiles
(interior textiles, textile floor coverings and curtains) industry."
The documents being exchanged
The NNS pilot adopted the eBIZ architecture and deployed a solution based on the eBIZ profile of Universal
Business Language (UBL, an XML standard), ebXML Messaging (ebMS, a robust messaging protocol for
electronic business) and the GLN and GTIN identification standards. The pilot involved deploying low-cost,
commercial-off-the-shelf ebXML messaging endpoints at the locations of the industry partners and configuring
them according to the business processes in the eBIZ architecture, using ebXML standards. UBL import and
export functionality was developed for the ERP systems used by the industry partners, and scripts were written to
integrate the communication product and the ERP systems.
"The pilot confirmed the applicability of the eBIZ architecture, and provided feedback to the eBIZ architects during the project.
The NNS pilot is all about e-business among small and medium-size companies. This means that any solution
must be low-cost and very easy to install, configure and use. It should support outsourced (remote) management,
and provide very simple and robust interfaces. In NNS, a simple UBL file drop and pick-up were used along with
content-based routing, providing a simple interface for SMEs that is even easier than email. The configuration is
robust, can handle intermittent connectivity and does not require a fixed IP address or URL.
Finally, the NNS pilot confirmed the economic benefits of electronic business. The pilot confirmed a strong
reduction in processing time for orders. Extrapolating from the limited exchanges in the pilot, NOTA could save up
to twenty thousand Euros annually by processing customer orders electronically."
Planned future activities
"The NNS pilot has been a small-scale project with a limited number of participants and a small number of documents exchanged. As the project has demonstrated the benefits of e-business, the industry
partners are looking into expanding the range of partners and documents exchanged.
Based on the results and experience of the NNS pilot, the IT partner is developing a service offering
for the textile and clothing industry, which aims to offer very low-cost, robust exchange of UBL
documents using ebXML messages.
The NNS partners strongly believe that the eBIZ findings can be replicated in other industries and that
initiatives and EU projects similar to eBIZ TFC could be set up to promote e-business in these
industries. The overall concepts and approach of the eBIZ project (e-business collaboration,
standardization, integration, interoperability, process automation) can be transferred to other industrial
sectors, provided that the particularities of the industry specific business and exchange models are
well documented and taken into account in e-business architectures for those industries."
Information about the NNS pilot is available from the project manager: Dr. Stavros T. Ponis, National Technical University of Athens
School of Mechanical Engineering, Section of Industrial Manager and Operational Research,
Industry Partner Contact
Mr. Vassilis Masselos, Managing DirectorNOTA Masselos SA, Athens, Greece
NNS Architecture Contact
Mr. Pim van der Eijk, Sonnenglanz Consulting, Maarn, Netherlands