Digital Process Innovation
The aim of the Digital Process Innovation offer is to incentivise and support companies to invest in the implementation of new or significantly improved digital production methods, digital service delivery or organisational methods that will increase their operational effectiveness, leading to greater productivity and competitiveness.
Under Ireland’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) (2021-2026), projects supporting the digital and climate transition of enterprise are being funded through the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility. This offer covers projects that will support the digital transition of the company, driving increased adoption and diffusion of digital technology or projects that will accelerate decarbonisation of the enterprise sector.
What is a Digital Process Innovation project?
An eligible Digital Process Innovation project will involve implementing a new way of working for the company that leads to an increase in quality, speed, dependability or flexibility of the company’s operations. This includes significant changes in techniques, equipment and/or software.
The project must be innovative and involve some risk of failure and must not be focused on routine operational changes or responding to changes in regulation.
Projects should include:
- the introduction of new or significantly enhanced digital or automation technology systems for company operations and/or,
- the introduction of new or significantly enhanced digital experience for customers (digital products or services), including new digital business models and/or,
- the implementation of new production methods for enhanced sustainability including significantly reduced waste, emissions or increased materials reuse in terms of circular economy practices.
The level of innovation is considered relative to the current state of the company rather than the state of the art in the industry. The aim is to support a step-change in the company capability and operational effectiveness.
Are there examples?
Examples of process innovation in manufacturing environments could include (but are not limited to) implementation of:
- new digital production, manufacturing or planning systems – e.g., Enterprise Resource Planning / Manufacturing Execution Systems / Supply chain / Sales & Order Planning
- new systems for automated or semi-automated data capture in order to improve operational effectiveness – e.g., machine data capture, sensors, touch-based operator panels
- new automated manufacturing or production processes – e.g., collaborative robots
- new systems for automated inspection or quality management – e.g., Artificial Intelligence based visual inspection
- new systems for faster changeover speeds to increase flexibility
- new processes to get the best out of equipment and systems – e.g., OEE, TPM practices
- new systems for materials handling – including circular economy projects
Examples of process innovation in non-manufacturing environments could include (but are not limited to) implementation of:
- significant automation of previously manual processes in order to scale – including robotic process automation
- implementation of new information management systems to inform and drive the business – including Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, advanced visualisation systems
- design and implementation of automation in digital customer service or support systems
Examples of the Implementation of new organisational methods could include:
- Implementation of digital innovation or continuous improvement or visual management systems across an organisation
- Implementation of new product or service development methods where there is Customer / Supplier / Partner co-design and co-creation
- Implementation of significantly new digital business models
A Digital Process Innovation project could include a combination of activities spanning any of the above examples.
Am I eligible?
Client companies of Enterprise Ireland are eligible to apply if they employ 10 or more full time staff at the time of application. Enterprise Ireland high potential start-up clients who employ 5 or more full time staff are also eligible to apply.
Client companies of the Local Enterprise Offices are eligible to apply if they employ 5 or more full time staff, are in business for 2 years or more and are trading internationally in manufacturing or in an eligible services industry.
Client companies of Údarás na Gaeltachta are eligible to apply if they employ 5 or more full time staff are in business for 2 years or more and are trading internationally in manufacturing or in an eligible services industry.
Client companies of IDA Ireland should contact their agency advisor.
Applicants must be able to show adequate cash resources to implement the proposed project.
Enterprise Ireland funding to support companies is provided against an agreed company growth plan. Please contact your Agency Adviser to discuss your project and see how Enterprise Ireland can work with you to ensure your company gets the most from any financial support.
What costs are eligible?
Costs that can be supported relate to the implementation of the new process, delivery or organisational method and may involve technical as well as non-technical staff. Eligible costs may include:
- Salary costs for the time staff are working on the project
- Overheads costs (calculated at 30% of the above salary costs)
- Reasonable external consultancy costs
- Materials costs for materials only used for the project
Note that the eligible costs do not include capital equipment. The primary costs supported are staff time for a core team to implement the new methods as well as external consultancy where required.
What activities are eligible?
Eligible activities can include:
- Staff time in design, specification, development, configuration or implementation of new production, delivery or organisational methods
- Consultancy time for design, specification or implementation of the process innovation(s)
- Specialised training where required for staff as part of the implementation (non-routine)
It is important that the team defined in the application are people who will dedicate a considerable proportion of their time to the project in order to implement what will be a significant step up for the company in terms of operational effectiveness.
The project must involve some level of innovation and risk and must not be focused on routine operational changes or responding to changes in regulation. Ineligible activities include:
- Sales or Business Development activities
- Routine business operations
- Outsourced IT installations – such as installing new accountancy systems
It is important that the company staff are a key part of the design and implementation of new processes or systems so that there is an increase in the capability of the company as a result of the project.
Some additional terms and conditions apply – for more information, please refer to the Digital Process Innovation Reference Document.
What is the maximum funding level?
The maximum grant rate for Digital Process Innovation is 50% of the eligible costs, up to a maximum grant of €150,000. These limits apply to both SMEs and Large companies. Note that support for Digital Process Innovation for Large companies is de minimis funding. Consult your agency advisor for more information.
How do I apply?
A Digital Process Innovation grant may be applied for through one of three different routes;
- as an Agile Innovation project (choose Digital Process Innovation in the application)
- as an RD&I project, (choose Digital Process Innovation in the application) or
- as part of the Operational Excellence Offer where the Digital Process Innovation project may be combined with Training support and/or Capital Investment support.
In order to be eligible for project support, the beneficiary MUST submit an application to Enterprise Ireland for support BEFORE any work on the project starts. Only expenditure incurred AFTER a valid application is submitted (or after the call close date in the case of RD&I projects) can be considered for funding support.
If you have been approved Funding, details on the Claims Process is available here
Clients of Enterprise Ireland and Údarás na Gaeltachta should contact their Agency Adviser. If you are not a client of Enterprise Ireland, please contact your local Enterprise Ireland regional office.