Starting point: the Coronavirus pandemic reveals our economy's weak points
The COVID-19 pandemic affected all areas of society, and that included the economy: global value chains were often interrupted when one or more suppliers were unable to operate effectively. The crisis clearly showed how fragile and crisis-prone globalised supply chains in particular can be in extreme situations. Stakeholders in the Danube region who work in the middle or at the end of relevant value chains also suffered from the crisis.
There are basically two ways to make a supply chain more flexible and stable:
- Exchange of stakeholders within the supply chain and bringing in/engaging new stakeholders to make the entire chain more sustainable and more stable in case of sudden failure of a stakeholder
- Flexibility and the ability to act quickly within a supply chain can be increased with the help of digitisation
The Danube Alliance for SME Competitiveness aims to use both approaches to find ways to make supply chains in the Danube region more sustainable and resilient.
The Danube region
The Danube region includes all areas bordering the Danube and extends from the source of the Danube in the Black Forest to the Black Sea in Eastern Europe. The Danube passes through ten countries (Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and Ukraine) - more than any other river on earth.
With a total of 115 million people, the Danube region has huge potential to establish favourable production structures, which would help it to confront future crises in a more stable manner.
The project is funded by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of State and the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Tourism. The project comes under Priority Area 8 (PA8) of the European Danube Region strategy.
As part of the Danube Alliance for SME Competitiveness project, the first step (Lab 1), involves defining in greater detail important, individual value chains in the Danube region and identifying associated supply chains that have particularly high potential for optimisation with the involvement of Danube partners to help turn improvements into reality.
The second step (Lab 2) will provide potential smart services and sustainable supply chains for SMEs, allowing them to make their supply chains more flexible and adaptable.
Both 'Labs' will work closely together in a complementary way to achieve the goals together.
To this end, BIOPRO is working with its partners VDI/VDE-IT, Steinbeis 2i and Reutlingen University of Applied Sciences. BIOPRO will be able to contribute its many years of experience from other Danube projects such as GoDanuBio and DanuBioValNet to the new project.