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18 October 2022

Navigating a turbulent manufacturing landscape collaboratively at the Subcontracting fair in Tampere

On the second day of the Subcontracting Fair in Tampere, 28.9. we invited our friends and partners to join our discussion at the fair’s seminar center. Five speakers contributed their experiences on collaborative, resilient, and sustainable manufacturing. After Juha Päivike, chairman of MEX Finland, opened the event, Christian Sundman of Wärtsilä, started his presentation, Integrating transformation and performance, by laying out Wärtsilä’s transition away from siloed enterprises toward an extended enterprise mindset, a vision of open ecosystems where knowledge and expertise are shared, as in the OSME (Open Smart Manufacturing Ecosystems) initiative. The roles within the extended enterprise ecosystem are not static, organizations develop their capabilities and step into different positions that change dynamically with the challenges. Together, the ecosystem collaborators are forming a truly shared development roadmap that benefits all partners.

Pirita Ihamäki introduced us to Robocoast, the network that is accelerating SME roboticization. Robocoast is a European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIH) combining around 100 companies mainly in the Satakunta area and connecting them to other clusters and networks in Finland and Europe. One of the main goals is to boost operational efficiency and support the digital maturation of SMEs in manufacturing industries. Key technology competences are Cybersecurity, AI, Robotics, and Energy Technology.

Ari Alakiuttu of Fastems spoke about the challenges and importance of Improving situational awareness in manufacturing. Fastems is providing intelligent factory automation solutions around cutting machine tools. By assessing situational awareness, Fastems is trying to close the loops between connecting, visualizing, analyzing, collaborating, acting, and, finally, optimizing and improving operations. New capabilities in industrial analytics support providing visibility into productions and improving performance and resilience.

Toni Mattila, responsible for Business Finland’s sustainable manufacturing, spoke on Resilience and green transition in manufacturing industries. Sustainability is a short- to mid-term tangible opportunity for companies to drive value creation and to develop an international competitive edge. Including resilience thinking into sustainability is important for companies to be prepared to change and adaptation to challenges. Resilience can be increased by building scenarios and preparing plans, in-built flexibility wherever possible, and building trust internally as well as throughout the company’s extended ecosystem. Mattila referred to a Business Finland publication ‘Building Resilience for Sustainable Manufacturing’ for more information on the topic.

Johan Wallin, Managing Partner at Synocus, asked How MEX Finland should deal with the increased turbulence? At the beginning of the MEX Finland ecosystem, finding the right partners was key. Building trust while collaborating on projects has paid off now during times of uncertainty. Partners, collaborators, and people play an important part in building resilience and adding another dimension to co-creating excellence in MEX Finland.

The discussion that wound through all of the presentations contemplated the question of future-proof capabilities, education, and rising shortages of talents in the manufacturing industry. Finding or educating the right persons with a vision on the manufacturing industry as well as capabilities in new technologies is key to driving the digital transformation of the industry. For many SMEs, this is a cultural change that needs special attention on inter-personal levels, investing in new technologies without caring for the changing work culture may lead to disruptions.

Opening companies towards extended enterprise mindsets and ecosystem thinking on one side and caring for the resulting changes in work culture on the other side requires open dialogue and collaboration and co-learning. MEX Finland will continue on this path, and we will soon begin our next round of breakfast seminars.

For now, a very big thank you to all participants and visitors to our trade fair seminar in Tampere, thank you for a very inspiring discussion. We hope to continue this dialogue with you in the near future.