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5 May 2020

MEX Finland – Observations on ecosystem building

Planning the next phase of development

During the Spring 2020, Synocus has been in active contact with all MEX Finland members to form an ecosystem-wide status update which was then summarized as a report sent to all ecosystem members. In the discussions with the members the emphasis was on the company-specific status updates and suggestions for joint project ideas and next steps.

It was seen that the extraordinary situation due to the coronavirus required the next phase of development of MEX Finland to be openly discussed with all members, and that the updated roadmap for the future should be accepted by all parties. The ambition was to ensure MEX Finland evolution into a community promoting manufacturing excellence in Finland and internationally and evolve into a leading authority in this area.

Regarding new development ideas, it was seen that the implications of the coronavirus pandemic would impact the near-term development agenda, emphasizing digital services like e.g. remote maintenance applications. Industrial value chains will also be up for scrutiny. Subsequently, the Resilient Material Flows topic is one attracting interest among the members. Sustainable Manufacturing is also topical. It was also seen that increasing agility may require the initiation of smaller development initiatives, including perhaps 2-5 organizations, instead of looking for larger projects with up to 10 participants.

The envisaged next steps include a new, more ambitious attempt to proceed towards stronger cohesion and seeking issues that will unite the members in looking for longer-term common development initiatives. As the pandemic has educated the community towards remote work practices, an increasing amount of common activities can be handled through virtual communication and virtual meetings. Regarding the financing of the common activities, it was emphasized that the focus should be on securing the initiation of concrete projects. This should form the bulk of the financial incentives for the orchestrating party. Mobilizing the anchor organizations to commit to such common projects is the main short-term objective. No commitment, no action! Once there is commitment among the larger companies, the SMEs will follow.

Based on the discussions and the status report, the planning for the next phase of development has been initiated and will be jointly discussed in the spring meeting.

The development of MEX Finland – summarized

To summarize the development of MEX Finland thus far, we can conclude that the first stage, when the project was initiated by Sandvik in 2017, was characterized by a strong demand for Finnish mechanical engineering companies, and Sandvik Corporation’s decision to support a significant investment into the Tampere rock drills factory created a solid ground for the first IME (ÄVE) project. This decision in turn attracted seven SMEs to join Sandvik in the first Business Finland application. This enabled the structuring of the network in 2018 around common efforts to create significant joint development projects.

Based on the announcement by Business Finland to continue its support for ecosystem orchestration through the new Growth Engine process, a re-orientation took place in 2019, when the network was expanded, and the Adaptive Industrial Loops application was submitted and approved.