G-SCOP is a multidisciplinary laboratory which has been created to meet the scientific challenges imposed by the ongoing changes within the industrial world. The scope of the laboratory goes from the products conception to the production systems management and is based on strong skills in optimisation. The creation of the G-SCOP laboratory is, in Grenoble, the culmination point of a very long history of scientific breakthroughs and collaborations in the field of production systems, product design and operational research.
The industrial world is changing (relocation movements, services development, "products-services" systems, etc,.). We must stress the importance of the increasing notion of sustainable development. It is thus essential to consider the conditions for sustainable growth and to question the companies' places and levers of economic performance. This performance is based on the companies' ability to innovate in products and services but also on their ability to invent new industrial organisations (which would be reactive and flexible despite their complexity). These questions led us to identify the following scientific challenges.
Uncertainty and instability. The consumers' both demanding and versatile needs, as well as the unpredictability of competition are a good sign of the current industrial situation. This requires a new approach to face the scientific problems of optimisation and production systems management, but also products design problems.
Collaboration of scattered actors. More and more actors have to work together to meet the customers' needs. These actors, often geographically scattered, may have different industrial experiences and cultures. This situation raises new research issues on product design or management systems, issues arising from the complexity of the system depending on the number, distance and disparity of actors.
Knowledge engineering. The outsourcing of some of the companies' activities, their co-design development and their increased turnover lead them to question the establishment of a genuine knowledge engineering.
Upstream research on optimisation. When we talk about design and production systems optimised management, the addition of powerful mathematical tools seems obvious. All of these techniques of modeling, optimisation and performance evaluation of new problems, make the upstream work essential in order to help create powerful tools in optimisation.
These challenges have led us to propose a new step in research on design, product management and production systems. This new step requires dwelling on the research of each discipline. However, the emergence of new topics at the interface of disciplines also requires further strengthened collaborations between these disciplines.