Title: Collaboration mechanisms in SME context: a case study in the footwear sector

Authors: Rosanna Fornasiero, Andrea Zangiacomi

Addresses: Institute of Industrial Technologies and Automation, National Research Council, Milan, Italy. ' Institute of Industrial Technologies and Automation, National Research Council, Milan, Italy

Abstract: This paper describes a case study and proposes two different services implemented in an Italian footwear district to support shoe producers in managing automatically their temporary partnerships with suppliers and customers through ICT applications. The approach used here is a roadmap, developed in an EU-funded project related to European SMEs, guiding different types of Virtual Enterprise (VE) through the process of improving network management, especially through designing cooperation process and implementing ICT tools. Even if the initial focus was on strengthening the relationships of the existing VE, the most important result was the creation of a set of tools to support and promote the extension of the VE to other partners both from suppliers and customers side stressing flexibility aspects.

Keywords: virtual enterprise; VE; collaboration platforms; collaborative networks; enterprise modelling; SMEs; small and medium enterprises; Italy; footwear industry; shoe production; collaborative design; network management; cooperation; ICT; information technology; communications; customer-supplier relationship.

DOI: 10.1504/IJNVO.2006.009533

International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, 2006 Vol.3 No.2, pp.172 - 184

Published online: 19 Apr 2006 *

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