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Published by: terbaikdariladang on Aug 24, 2009
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TransiT - investigating SME co-operation across borders in EuropeOliver Stiemerling, Volker Wulf, Armin B.CremersUniversity of BonnChristine Buelens, Gert BoulliardUniversity of Leuven, METALogicMartin Maidhof, Ralph PetersFraunhofer IGD, DarmstadtClive BancroftUniversity of CoventryFrancis Fricker, Charles DurandADEBT: Belfort Economic DevelopmentAgency / University of Technology ofBelfort-MontbeliardAbstractTRANSIT investigates the current challenges andpotential of computer supported transnational cooperationof small and medium size engineering firms inEurope. The project is an international initiative supportedby the European Social Fund's ADAPT program andinvolves Universities and private companies in the UK,Belgium, and Germany. The partners from each countryare in turn involved in national ADAPT projects whichbenefit from the experiences made on the transnationallevel. The project started in January 98 and will end inDecember 99. In this article we describe the TRANSITapproach to the investigation of transnational SME-cooperationand present findings to date.IntroductionTo ensure survival in highly competitive global marketssmall and medium sized enterprises are actively seekinginnovative ways to do business, expand customer base andincrease profitability. Within Europe the common market,a trend towards a common currency and the need for evergreater profitability is encouraging small and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) into transnational trading andhence closer transnational co-operation. In the past allorganisations following this route of expansion wherefaced with the significant investment of setting up a localsupport agent in a foreign city or the frequent travelling ofa valued human resource to the specific country.Today the IT revolution has led to an alternative solutionfor conducting transnational business in an efficient andproductive way, computer supported tele-co-operation. Upto now tele-co-operation has been the domain of largeinternational organisations. However, the advent ofinexpensive mass-products in this area and the increasingavailability of standardised communication links and theIntemet have opened up the world of tele-co-operation toSMEs. Consequently, there is now a need to introduce thisnew technology along with its significant opportunitiesand challenges to SMEs and their employees. This is anobjective of the TRANSIT project.The TRANSIT project consortium is formed by threenational ADAPT funded projects. The ORGTECH project(University of Bonn, Fraunhofer IGD, and three otherpartners) is concerned with the introduction of a tele-cooperationsystem in two small engineering firms and one

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