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Innovative Networks of SMEs for the Production of Complex Products

INESC TEC leads a European project that aims to design and develop models, methodologies and tools to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the creation and management of networks of SMEs to design and manufacture complex products.

In order to succeed in competitive markets, SMEs need to increase the added value of their products and services, focusing their offer on complex and consumer-oriented products. In these environments, SMEs should adopt new business models and establish business networks which are dynamic and nonhierarchical in order to achieve a rapid, cost-competitive and differentiated supply. In hierarchical networks business, more traditional, smaller companies have to perform specific tasks, defined by larger companies, which limits their possibilities of differentiation and added value.

Thus, the project provides methods and tools to support SMEs in the creation and management of these business networks, including scientific and technological objectives as a methodology to help SMEs in qualifying prospective partners and in creating dynamic business networks, business processes and decision support tools including a platform for managing business communities, collaborative product definition, collaborative operations planning, risk management and performance management and events. With these results, INESC TEC aims to mobilise and allow SMEs to be able to differentiate, innovate and be sustainable.

The project has three case studies: the Portuguese case is developed in the textile sector and features partner firms Riopele and Riopele Fashion Solutions, complemented with a case in the footwear industry in Italy (with companies Synesis and Italian Concept) and one case in the machine tools industry in Spain (with companies ONA and RoboC).

Project Leader: INESC TEC


  • CENI - Center for Integration and Process Innovation (Portugal)
  • Foundation Fatronik (Spain)
  • Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
  • ITIA (Italy)
  • University of Vaasa (Finland)
  • TIE Nederlands B.V. (The Netherlands)
  • Wapice (Finland)
  • Tsinghua University (China)

Contacts: Luís Carneiro




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