The traditional supply chain is rapidly evolving into a network of strategic suppliers. The composition of this network and physical proximity are of increasing importance.

National and international OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) originally focused on developing and manufacturing semi-finished products and products for third parties. However, these companies have increasingly shifted their focus to other areas of the value chain. With far-reaching consequences as a result.

A worldwide network of leading players

High-tech brands and companies are more and more dependent on their suppliers when it comes to manufacturing products and systems. Furthermore, these strategic suppliers are involved in developing, designing and engineering new products at an ever earlier stage. So, in addition to physical proximity, access to a global network of leading players is of huge importance.

More complex manufacturing requires maximum flexibility

Both the time available to bring products to market and the product life-cycle continue to shorten. As a result, production runs are becoming increasingly smaller and more complex (high mix, low volume, high complexity). Moreover, progressively more demanding requirements apply in the area of sustainability and energy consumption. This combination of factors calls for increasing flexibility on the part of suppliers in the value chain. 

"High-tech companies involve strategic suppliers in developing, designing and engineering their new products at an increasingly early stage."

Collaborating to exploit opportunities

Technological and economic developments require innovative manufacturing solutions. They call for alternative ways of collaborating as effectively and efficiently as possible within the chain of suppliers. Because the rapid speed at which new developments emerge exceeds individual companies' ability to respond and most market players are unable to answer this agilely due to their size. So intensive collaboration is becoming increasingly important, which this in turn presents challenges and offers opportunities in the area of technology, markets, staffing and new forms of cooperation in particular.

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