© fotolia.de/Sergey Nivens

News from the Ferdinand Steinbeis Institute

Projects aimed at promoting digitalization

The Ferdinand Steinbeis Institute (FSTI) is part of the Steinbeis Foundation and as a research faculty of Steinbeis University Berlin (SHB) it conducts research into digitalization. The experts at the FSTI are involved in a variety of projects revolving around digitalization, especially changes in industrial ecosystems and social structures. Three key projects have focused on these topics since last October.

Project: Mittelstand 4.0 – Kompetenzzentren Stuttgart
Duration: December 1, 2016 to November 30, 2019

This consortium project is backed by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and looks at the transfer of existing technologies, implementation options, and people’s experience with digital solutions introduced on a broad scale to business processes and value chains. The focus lies in small and medium-sized enterprises as well as manual trade companies. The experts at FSTI are working with bwcon on the project, mainly concentrating on two topics that affect a variety of areas: business models and service development.

The first phase involves workshops and interviews on the requirements of SMEs when it comes to digital business models. For further information on the competence center go to www.mittelstandkompetenzzentrum.de/servlet/is/66278/.

Project: Micro Testbeds in Commerce, Craft Industries, and Services
Duration: November 1, 2016 to October 31, 2017

Between four and six companies from different areas of industry and various stages of the value chain are joining forces to create a “micro testbed” with the aim of working together on a neutral, moderated platform run by the Ferdinand Steinbeis Institute. The companies’ aim is to fi nd ways to be a successful part of value creation, building on digital solutions and networks. As part of the project, four micro testbeds are being funded and these will be implemented in collaboration with the Steinbeis Digital Business Consortium. So far, four micro testbeds have been launched for the project and the fi rst workshops start in April 2017. The project is being sponsored by the Baden-Wuerttemberg Ministry for the Economy, Employment, and Housing.

Project: Resource effi ciency through additive manufacturing at SMEs (RAM-SME)
Duration: October 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016

The FSTI team has been working in collaboration with the chair of Information Systems 1 at University of Stuttgart and conducted a concept study on the topic of resource effi ciency through additive manufacturing (AM) at SMEs. The aim of the study was to ascertain the potential for AM to improve resource effi ciency in SME manufacturing and, based on this, to make recommendations. The project was sponsored by the Baden- Wuerttemberg Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector. Six business enterprises were surveyed, looking at products, production, and consumption. The result of the project is a set of factors which have an infl uence on resource effi ciency, and these have now been transferred to individual phases of the AM value chain. These infl uencing factors are being used as a basis for further recommendations. One example of such an infl uencing factor is that post-processing should be determined during the design phase, for instance by deciding early on where to position support structures in order to save expensive post-processing and unnecessary materials later on in a process.


Patrick Weber, Simon Hiller
Ferdinand-Steinbeis-Institute (Stuttgart)