eBIZ-TCF: ebXML in the textile, clothing and footwear sectors in Europe

Why the eBIZ project? Harmonising e-Business processes and data exchanges for SMEs in the textile/clothing and footwear sectors in the Single Market 

In an increasingly complex and fast-changing trade/economic environment, the fashion and footwear industries requires fast time-to-market reaction. Standards and agreed reference architectures allow suppliers, manufacturers and retailers to connect their businesses within the value chain. Despite lot of initiatives in the fashion industry, standardisation and widespread adoption by users is still lacking… 

The eBIZ-TCF project is a 2-year cooperation project launched in January 2008 by the European Commission to boost e-business processes in the Textile/Clothing and Footwear (TCF) Industries.  

The architecture that has been established is based on four different types of specifications:

· business processes (that will be represented using UML notation and ebBP templates)

· data models (document template specifications, based on XML but related to the pre-existing EDI specifications)

· communication protocols

· product classifications

The domain of application is based on three sub domains (see figure below): 

· manufacturing networks of textile/clothing industry

· manufacturing networks of footwear industry

· production to retail relationships

The production to retail relationship is characterised by:

· business processes and data models based on XML specifications: common contents, an OASIS UBL profile of use derived from CEN/ISSS Texweave and Cecmadeshoe results

· interoperability with EDIFACT legacy

· anonymous collaborations (large numbers).

It is to note that the UBL profile of use for the TCF sector will be the first large scale profile of use for UBL in a manufacturing sector in the world (the other large scale profile of use of UBL is NES, for the public procurement in North Europe countries).

It has the objective to implement

· fast and simple connection to hubs and retail,

· use of EAN coding for identification (GTN, GLN),

· focus on small & large retail (not huge international organisations).

The manufacturing networks are characterised by:

· business processes and data models based on XML specifications specific for business processes: derived from CEN/ISSS Texweave and Moda-ML for the textile clothing production processes; derived from CEN/ISSS EFNET and Shoenet for the footwear processes

· closed collaborations (small numbers; supported at logical level by ebXML CPPA specifications).

It is to note that there is a work to be done to harmonise the different ways to document and represent the specifications that, originally, are quite different and managed by different organisations.

It has the objective to

· create a favourable environment to setup a collaboration between manufacturers

· focus on manufacturing industry that has not completely outsorced its production.

The architecture related to communication protocols is only partially defined and is characterised by:

· a model of an European TCF logical Network of communication based on three main scenarios: Hub-Hub, Hub-Firm, Firm-Firm (being hub is an application connectivity service provider –like Edicomm, eGate, Intesa, Pranke GmbH and others-, not necessarily an integration service provider );

· alternative choice between existing EDIFACT and XML based paradigms;

· strong attention to the issues on security through the network (especially through the hubs of services that must guarantee the identification of the senders)

· protocols focused on SMTP, while Web Service are foressen for the future

· ebXML to model and publish the collaborative reference processes.

The objective is to make each participant able to can find a path to interoperate with any other, despite the service and solutions they adopt.

The activities related to product classification are still in progress.  


XML.org Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
OASIS sites: OASIS | Cover Pages | XML.org | AMQP | CGM Open | eGov | Emergency | IDtrust | LegalXML | Open CSA | OSLC | WS-I