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Customer-oriented and eco-friendly networks for healthy fashionable goods

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Low-cost custom-made goods

Groups of people with special needs like the elderly, diabetics and the obese often need custom-made footwear and clothes, which are usually expensive unstylish. An EU project helped European businesses to design and produce low-cost customised goods.

Industrial Technologies icon Industrial Technologies

Diabetics, elderly and obese as well as people with disabilities often have trouble finding garments, shoes and other goods that can be tailored to their needs at a reasonable price. European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) shall service the sizeable market for customisable goods. To deliver small quantities of goods in a cost-effective and eco-friendly way, European SMEs need new processes, technologies and other tools. Developing these was the goal of the 'Customer-oriented and eco-friendly networks for healthy fashionable goods' (CORENET) project. The 14-member EU-funded consortium ran for 36 months to May 2013, receiving EUR 3.5 million. Its aim was to develop new manufacturing methods, tools and technologies that allow profitable small-scale design and production of customised goods for consumers with health problems. The project's results include software and hardware, and four business development areas. The most important is the reference model, intended to help SMEs form and dynamically operate collaborative networks of suppliers that can serve these new target groups and enter the market. The processes devised were the cornerstone for the project's later successful development of numerous advanced software and other tools. The reference model provided the necessary framework for developing solutions to support different processes. They included market analysis for clustering target customers, searching for partners and developing collaborative planning tools, laser marking machines and digital printing. Project results were combined in four different business case studies where they were tested and validated. Product categories for study were footwear, sewed garments, knitted garments and textile production. Each focused on specific business processes addressing particular target groups, such as designing special shoes for diabetic or otherwise disabled individuals. The project's dissemination activities focused on certain target consumer and business groups. The latter included businesses in the textile, clothing and footwear industry, the manufacturing and engineering industry, and the enterprise software industry. Additionally, the project targeted relevant academic communities. CORENET successfully introduced new concepts and solutions to the SMEs in the target sector. These enabled participating SMEs to effectively address the needs of the various market niches that are expected to grow in the future, providing opportunities for small European businesses to enter new markets and to maintain a competitive position in the global arena. Watch the project’s video here.

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