Process industry and SMEs

The economy in the InterregNorth region is to a large extent based on natural resources and the refinement of these in process industries. In Finland and Sweden the main industry sectors are pulp and paper, mining, metal production and energy while Norway has additionally oil and gas production.

Process industry can be described as the trans-formation of raw material to products, often achieved in a continuous, complex and highly automated sequence of activities.

Due to the importance of process industries to the region, ProcessSME will specifically focus on how to improve its competitiveness.

In ProcessSME we shift the attention towards northern Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian small and medium sized companies (SMEs). Although many SMEs are highly competent and offer specialized products and services, they are regionally focused and too dependent on the regional large process industry companies.

Therefore, there is an increased need for process industry SMEs to re-evaluate their business logic and explore alternative ways to secure future competitiveness.

Recent industrial development indicates possibilities for new business opportunities and growth potential for SMEs which can combine their product components with service components in order to offer high value-adding advanced product-service offers. For example, the pay-per-service-unit model includes taking full responsibility for all life cycle services, but the customer pays based on extent of use. Another example can be offering functional results, which represent an offering where providers retain full ownership and guarantee a certain outcome to the customer, for example production volumes.

Transforming towards advanced product-services, also requires revising business models. This project will specifically investigate how SMEs can develop and implement advanced business models.