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Strengthening competitiveness through production networks - A perspective from European ICT research projects in the field of 'Enterprise Networking'

Funded under: FP6-IST


Today there is significant global overcapacity in most industries. In this environment of scarce demand customers are less forgiving of poor customer service and more demanding of customized products or services. As the competition continues to introduce new offerings tailored to the special needs of different segments of the market, companies have to respond by similar custom made and highly personalised offerings. The ensuring proliferation of product variety for multiple countries, customer segments and distribution outlets create headaches in forecasting, inventory management, production planning, and after sales service support (Lee, 2000). A key issue for many companies is thus managing the supply base - including sourcing, supplier integration and inbound parts management. In addition product life cycles are getting ever shorter and technology is evolving fast in many sectors.
Under the impact of information technology and the resulting globalisation of markets and production, new methods of combining activities into offerings are generating new opportunities. In such a change driven environment, a single company rarely provides everything on its own anymore. Rather the most attractive offerings involve customers and suppliers, allies and business partners in various combinations. Consequently companies do not really compete with one another anymore. Rather, it is offerings that compete for the time, attention and money of customers (Norman and Ramirez, 1993). The networked business can take different shapes ranging from integrated supply changes around a key player, to collaborative SME networks, strategic alliances, virtual organisations, extended enterprises, industrial districts, clusters, etc. Principally these enterprise networks can be divided into more focal, vertical networks with a supply chain topology and more equal co-operative business networks (Koeszegi, Gruber and Nöster, 2005).

Additional information

Authors: No author stated, European Commission, DG Information Society, Brussels (BE)
Bibliographic Reference: Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005. 117 pp, free of charge
Availability: (Catalogue Number: KK-69-05-303-EN-C)
ISBN: ISBN: 92-894-9924-9
Record Number: 200618749 / Last updated on: 2006-09-22
Original language: en
Available languages: en
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