Analysing Collaborative Demand and Supply Networks in a Global Economy



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.


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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Albino V, Kühtz S (2004) Enterprise input–output model for local sustainable development. The case of a tiles manufacturer in Italy. Resources Conserv Recycl 41:165–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Antoldi F (2006) Between local tradition and global competition: introduction to phenomenon of Italian industrial districts. In: Antoldi F (ed) Small Enterprises and Industrial Districts. Il Mulino, BolognaGoogle Scholar
  3. Asheim T (1994) Industrial districts, inter-firm co-operation and endogenous technological development: the experience of developed countries. In: The United Nations (ed) Technological Dynamism in Industrial Districts: An Alternative Approach to Industrialization in Developing Countries. The United Nations, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  4. Banca d’Italia (2004) New research of the Bank of Italy on Territorial Development (in Italian), RomeGoogle Scholar
  5. Becattini G (1987) Market and Local Forces: the Industrial District (in Italian). Il Mulino, BolognaGoogle Scholar
  6. Becattini G (1989) Sectors and/or districts: Some remarks on the conceptual foundations of industrial economics. In: Goodman E, Bamford J (eds) Small Firms and Industrial Districts in Italy. Routledge, London, pp. 123–135Google Scholar
  7. Becattini G (1990) The Marshallian ID as a socio-economic notion. In: Pyke F et al. (eds) IDs and inter-firms co-operation in Italy. International Institute for Labour Studies, Geneva, pp. 37–51Google Scholar
  8. Bergman EM, Feser JE (1999) Industrial and Regional Clusters: Concepts and Comparative Applications. In: Jackson RW (ed) Web Book of Regional Science. Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. Scholar
  9. Brenner T (2004) Local Industrial Cluster: Existence, Emergence and Evolution. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  10. Brusco S (1982) The Emilian model: productive decentralisation and social integration. Cambridge J Econ 6:167–184Google Scholar
  11. Bullinger HJ, Kuhner M, van Hoof A (2002) Analyzing supply chain performance using balanced measurement system. Int J Product Res 40(15):3533–3543CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Caunce S (2007) Revealing A New Northern England: Crossing the Rubicon with Daniel Defoe. Prose Studies 29(1):136–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Defoe D (1724) A Tour Thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain, 1971 edn. Penguin, London, p. 10Google Scholar
  14. Everitt A (1979) Country, County and Town: Patterns of Regional Evolution in England. Trans R Historical Soc 5th Ser 29:79–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. European Cluster Observatory October (2007) Innovation clusters: a statistical analysis and overview of the current policy support, Accessed 2007Google Scholar
  16. European Commission (2002) Regional Clusters in Europe, Observatory of European SMEs 3, Enterprise Publication, Brussels. Scholar
  17. European Commission (2003) SME and cooperation, Observatory of European SMEs 5, Enterprise Publication, Brussels. Scholar
  18. Fabiani S, Pellegrini G (1998) Un’analisi quantitativa delle imprese nei distretti industriali italiani: redditività, produttività e costo del lavoro. L’Industria, XIX (4):811–831Google Scholar
  19. Gaggio D (2007) In Gold We Trust: Social Capital and Economic Change in the Italian Jewellery Towns. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar
  20. Granovetter M (1985) Economic action and social structure: the problem of embeddedness. Am J Sociol 91:481–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Haddadi A (1995) Communication and cooperation in agent-systems: A pragmatic theory. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  22. INTEROP (2000–2008) Accessed 2007Google Scholar
  23. Lazzeretti L (2002) Co-evolution and financial relationships between the banking system and the local industrial community of Prato industrial districts (1936–1999): An ecological approach. In: Working Paper (Small Business) 13, University of Birmingham, BirminghamGoogle Scholar
  24. Lazzeretti L (2003) Density Dependent Dynamics in Arezzo Jewellery District (1947–2001): Focus on founding, presented in the Regional studies Association International conference Reinventing Regions in a Global Economy, Pisa, Italy 12–13 April 2003Google Scholar
  25. Love J, Roper S (2001) Location and network effects on innovation success: evidence for UK, German and Irish manufacturing plants. Res Policy 30:643–661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Marshall A (1950) Principles of Economics, 8th edn. MacMillan, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  27. Molina-Morales FX (2001) European industrial districts: Influence of geographic concentration on performance of the firm. J Int Manage 7:277–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nohria N, Eccles RG (eds) (1992) Networks and Organisations: Structure, Forms and Actions. Harvard Business School Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  29. Paniccia I (2002) Industrial districts: evolution and competitiveness (in Italian) firms. Elgar, CheltenhamGoogle Scholar
  30. Paniccia I (1999) The performance of IDs. Some insights from the Italian case. Human Systems Manage 18:141–159Google Scholar
  31. Picard PM, Toulemonde E (2003) Regional asymmetries: economies of agglomeration versus unizoned labor markets. Regional Sci Urban Econ 33:223–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rosenberg N (1983) Inside the Black Box: Technology and Economics. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  33. Rosenfeld S (1995) Industrial strength strategies: regional business clusters and public policy. Aspen Institute, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  34. Silijak DD (2007) Large-scale dynamic systems: stability and structure. Dover, Mineola, NYGoogle Scholar
  35. Villa A (2003) Some design criteria for a manufacturing virtual enterprise, Int J Auto Technol Manage 3:173–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Villa A, Antonelli D, Cassarino I (2005) Issues in the management of collaborative demand and supply networks. In: AAVV. Strengthening competitiveness through production networks. European Communities, Belgium, pp. 47–57Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer London 2009

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations