Creation of the competence network

As part of the Bavarian state government’s high-tech offensive, the district of Cham submitted a project for a mechatronics competence network in 1999. This was rated as one of the best projects by the renowned management consultancy Artuhr d’ Little.

One key to success was the company network. Working together in a network brings the companies in the region closer together and strengthens their ties to the region. The close cooperation between the entrepreneurs as well as the employees results in a very good exchange of experience that extends across all areas of a company. If there is a high level of trust between the partners, sensitive data (from balance sheet figures to development processes) may be exchanged.

The companies have saved considerable costs in the further training of their skilled workers thanks to the synergy effects of the network. Companies are also strengthened through cooperation and networking, thereby increasing their competitiveness. Especially in research-intensive and highly specialized industries, contact with potential cooperation partners, customers, suppliers, but also with students and qualified specialists plays an important role.

The project focuses on cooperation in the following areas – with mechatronics taking center stage in each case: qualification, research & development and marketing/service. As the network develops over time, various forms of cooperation should emerge, and the project is also open to individual company participation. New mechatronic products have been created and manufacturing technologies and production equipment have been improved. In addition, joint developments were carried out with universities or partners outside the region. The participating universities supported the project with their scientific experience and equipment. Furthermore, close links were established between interns and graduands and the companies in the network.

The universities were on hand with specialist professors as speakers in the field of training and further education. The number of mechatronic specialists has been significantly increased through training and further education. The training is provided by the vocational school, which also created an e-learning platform MOMEL for the trainees on the Internet, and the further training measures were coordinated or carried out by the adult education center.

Cooperation between individual companies, across industry and company boundaries, was intensified, thereby achieving a sustainable strengthening of the individual company. In addition to the exchange of experience in the field of education, cost-saving potentials and a reduction in development times were created. The network was integrated into regional marketing in the context of marketing and services. Visits to trade fairs were organized, contacts arranged, etc., thus achieving a decisive improvement in information about the field of mechatronics and the mechatronics competence network both regionally and nationally.

The companies determined the objectives of the project. They defined projects and individual measures in development, qualification and marketing. A promoter committee made up of representatives from the participating companies was formed for this purpose. Strategic meetings were held regularly. There was also a written confirmation of the company’s idealistic and financial contribution. The R&D projects were evaluated by one person each from the Economic Development Agency, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the University of Applied Sciences after consultation with and at the request of the companies, according to the degree of innovation and mechatronic relevance. Based on this evaluation, a division into categories was made, which was decisive for the allocation of funds. Furthermore, a report describing the progress of the R&D projects must be prepared every six months and is a prerequisite for the reimbursement of costs.