Punch Powertrain, Tenneco and Bosch have agreed to set up a ‘smart network’, in which they, all being suppliers to the automotive industry, will exchange knowledge and resources.
The network will mutually strengthen the partners and anchor South-Limburg region as the focal point of automotive industry.
Smart factory network
The main goal of the network is knowledge exchange around “lean & smart manufacturing”, to enable the next step in evolution of manufacturing – industry 4.0. For this purpose best practices on topics such as automation, digitalization, logistic flows and other organizational processes will be shared. As of today specific themes will be defined to be tackled by specialists of the partner companies as one team. In this way expertise and insights from different companies will be brought together in order to build an optimal scenario, from which all partners can benefit.
Cor Van Otterloo, CEO of Punch Powertrain, believes such a smart network holds great potential: “This pilot project demonstrates the power of cooperation and the importance of local strength in order to obtain global credibility”.
Higher competitiveness for partners and region
This project has been initiated by the city of Sint-Truiden, who has brought the partner companies together. For the region it’s important that its companies are anchored locally and maintain a steady growth curve. Together the partners employ approximately 2500 people in the region (of which Punch Powertrain employs 1300).
Also the partners have a positive view on the cooperation. Although the companies partially compete against each other in terms of attracting talent, the advantages of working together add much weight into the equation.
The smart factory network is unique project in Flanders. It’s supported by the technology federation Agoria and in setting up the processes of cooperation, the partners are guided by a specialized firm “Lean Lead”. In case of a positive outcome, the project can be further implemented by other producers. Future similar cooperation projects in the manufacturing industry could then be based on the model of this project.