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Analysing Collaborative Demand and Supply Networks in a Global Economy

Chapter

Abstract

In several European countries, interest in small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs), their importance in national industrial and economic systems as well as their effective impact on both local and Europe-wide markets, has been growing for several years. More recently, the globalization of markets has had dramatic effects on many small enterprises, mainly on those industrial bodies not characterized by either niche-products or by high-level technologies. In general, any type of small and mid-sized enterprise has suffered from low-price products flooding the market from emerging industrial powers. Since the end of the last century, the European Commission has promoted studies on the situation of SMEs with the goal of investigating how small industrial bodies, which are widely distributed in Europe, could reinforce their standing through aggregations, consortia agreements, collaborative networking and so on. This chapter describes the main characteristics as well as the most significant motivations of SME evolution from individual companies, too weak in an international highly competitive market, into clusters and networks. Analysis of the SME need for clustering and networking is given in Sect. 1.1. The analysis is presented not only in terms of industrial needs, due to the recent market enlargement, but also in terms of local and regional desire to make the labour markets, and not only the product markets, a better representation of local abilities and specializations. Examples of SME aggregation into networks are presented in Sect. 1.2 to illustrate how the SME evolution is continuing to this day. This evolution, and the main organizational problems which it is now forced to approach, is a key motivation of this research, as discussed in Sect. 1.3.

Keywords

Supply Chain Social Capital Global Economy Supply Network Industrial District 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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