An Integrated Pilot Plant (IPP) for agile production of customized footwear is discussed. Such a system integrates all the functions of an advanced shoe manufacturing company, starting from ERP/PDM, CAD/CAM till job dispatching, factory automation, supply chain management. In particular the innovative job dispatching and monitoring functionalities and tools are here presented. Such an environment specializes on the production of extremely small production batches — usually in fact they are one-pair orders. Each order is directly received from the final consumer via an Internet based Point of Sales, launched into production as-soon-as-possible, and delivered directly to destination into a personalized box. Each order is potentially different from the preceding, so the fast and automatic set-up of each machine involved in the process is a mandatory requirement for an efficient and effective production. Such a workflow imposed innovative solutions for scheduling, job dispatching, and monitoring, based on a strong integration among the various layers of the architecture: ERP/PDM to organize production requests and technological data, CAD/CAM to guarantee the coherence of geometry among the various components of a shoe, SCM/MES to coordinate the dispatching of production and technological data, internal-logistics and line-control to coordinate job-advancement, SCADA and cell automation to actually apply the transported technological information.

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