LOG4SMEs: Improving the Logistics Performance of SMEs in the Automotive Sector

by Imre Czinege, Elisabeth Ilie-Zudor and András Pfeiffer

The LOG4SMEs project aims at improving the logistics performance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the automotive sector.

Small and medium-sized automotive businesses are threatened by a number of pressing issues, including saturation of the market, fierce competition and the reduction of entry-barriers. Among these problems are the identification of weaknesses in logistics and production processes and the finding of appropriate action lines or IT tools to overcome them. These issues do not depend exclusively on companies themselves, but are also heavily affected by the economic, logistical and social character of the regions in which the SMEs are located.

In January 2006, partners from three regions of the European Union launched the project Log4SMEs, a Regins project (see http://www.regins.org). The University of Bergamo from Lombardy Region (Italy) leads the consortium. Széchenyi István University represents West Pannonia (Hungary), while the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA) represents the region Baden Württemberg (Germany).

One of the project's goals is to enable SMEs to compare their individual current logistics performances with industry and regional averages as well as with the best performer. A second goal is to enable each company to identify its current performance gaps and to determine whether, disregarding the specific company's actions, there are regional factors that affect its logistical performance. Special emphasis is put on identification strategies that will allow the three regions to develop the location factors for their local automotive industries.

LOG4SMEs will provide companies with the ability to acknowledge the best practices in their region/industry and will encourage the exchange of good logistics practices among companies. From an extensive survey throughout the three regions, a Web service addressed to all registered companies will provide a unified database of logistical performance indicators and practices in the automotive sector. The project will directly involve SMEs operating in the automotive sector by the provision of a survey, as well as phone and direct interviews. The design of the survey is based on the internationally acknowledged standard SCOR-model and SCOR–indicators. The results will also be distributed to local industrial associations or industry clusters.

Through the project web site, automotive companies will be able to compare their logistics and production performance with other SME- and industry-specific indicators as well as to derive their strengths and weaknesses. Developing a catalogue of logistics practices for each identified cluster of companies and describing the main regional location factors that foster or inhibit their logistical strategies is also in the scope of Log4SMEs.

Please contact:
Imre Czinege, Széchenyi István University, Györ, Hungary
Tel: +36 96 613673
E-mail: czinege@sze.hu