At the beginning of May, study visits to Latvian and Estonian wooden house and furniture manufacturing companies took place where participated industry representatives from both countries. In addition to study visits to organisations of different scale, during the discussions, entrepreneurs agreed that there is a need for common network for all industry representatives.
In two-day experience exchange trips entrepreneurs visited Latvian wooden house manufacturers – Pavasars, Sia, “Dores Fabrika”, Sia and “Akords U”, Sia and Estonian furniture manufacturers – “Wermo”, AS, “Sisustuskoda”, OÜ, “Ensoform” and “Kapa Puit”, OÜ. During the visits, particular interest raised about companies marketing, human resources and outsourced services. A conclusion arose that companies experience vary from one to the other.
By sharing the impressions on the study visits, entrepreneurs pointed to a number of issues that industry members have in common, both – within their region and outside it. In general, entrepreneurs lack some regional coordination within the industry that would provide access to information about the resources, necessary contacts and promote the prestige and visibility of the industry as well.
Entrepreneurs expressed very concrete initiatives about the industry’s member needs. One of which – the creation of a specific database. It would help in situations when manufacturer faces a lack of capacity within the organisation when dealing with large orders or projects. The database would contain meaningful contacts allowing to find subcontractors or outsource services. It would also let to offer own services to other. The database could serve as a tool not only for communication within the industry in one region but also would create an opportunity for cross-border cooperation. Its concept needs to be developed through thoughtful work to understand the working principles of such database; however, its usefulness is pointed out.
Additionally, entrepreneurs pointed that the industry members would benefit individually, as well as the sector as a whole if developing the overall marketing of the industry. As a benefit of promoting the industry prestige can increase the opportunities to attract highly qualified and skilled employees as well to expand international trade options.
The conclusion made by project partners together with industry entrepreneurs after the design thinking workshop is actualised again. The cooperation between the various industry players, such as architects, designers, and producers, is essential for the development of the industry and the creation of added value products and innovations.
One of the study visit’s participants, the owner of the “Dizaina centrs”, SIA, Normunds Cercins, emphasised that this kind exchange of ideas between members of the industry is necessary, especially because it’s often not known what happens to companies in the very same city. “Formerly there were clubs where the larger companies came together; it feels that now is the time when the industry needs some form of information exchange.”
The study visits organised by Vidzeme Planning Region in coordination with Wood and furniture manufacturing centre in Estonia (Tsenter – Puidutöötlemise ja mööblitootmise kompetentsikeskus) – in project “Innovation and export of wood and furniture in Võru County and Vidzeme Planning Region”, within the framework of Latvian- Estonian cross-border cooperation programme.