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VALUEPOLE — Result In Brief

Project ID: 222218
Funded under: FP7-SME
Country: Ireland

Better production processes for SMEs

Development of a novel high-tech tool to help manufacturing businesses has shown great promise in doubling sales and improving production.
Better production processes for SMEs
The survival and competitiveness of European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) depend on their power to take advantage of the knowledge economy in order to streamline operations and innovate. Deciding which new products to develop or what opportunities an SME should embark on is no easy task, particularly if research and development budgets are limited.

With this in mind, the EU-funded project VALUEPOLE developed an information technology to facilitate the task for these businesses. The tool effectively identifies best value improvement opportunities among potential new products or process improvements.

More specifically, the project provided several mechanisms to promote efficiency and innovation. These include a market demand response model that helps SMEs pinpoint market needs for products, both now and in the future. Another key project achievement is the performance improvement project (PIP) model and optimisation tool to help SMEs maximise operational performance against a set of key performance indicators.

Overall, the information and communications technology (ICT) tool and accompanying methodology developed by the project team enable SME decision makers to enhance competitiveness with minimum investment. Member companies with the project consortium demonstrated phenomenal success in adopting the system, with one business doubling its sales and another tripling them in export markets.

VALUEPOLE can bring success to other European manufacturing SMEs in a similar manner, helping them to manage performance prediction and diagnostics in order to achieve operational, tactical and strategic objectives. Improved efficiency across the value chain could help meet 'better, cheaper, faster' competitive objectives, as well as 'greener, safer, securer' EU socio-technical policy objectives. The project has valiantly bridged the theory–practice gap in providing decision-support tools for manufacturing SMEs.

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