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Cluster maturation is yielding tangible results: more and more companies are turning to digital

Health technology cluster iVita patronized by The Lithuanian Innovation Centre, really can't complain about the lack of progressive and advanced members. Companies implement digital solutions to perform daily tasks and recognize that, while being cluster members, they receive help from Lithuanian Innovation Center experts and consultants, get additional incentives to make changes, and increase the efficiency and competitiveness of their operations.

Instead of competing, inspires

As digitization becomes an essential condition for competitiveness and operational efficiency, companies realize its importance and necessity. But instead of tackling the challenges of digitization independently, they are looking for support and inspiration in clusters. Here they receive information on the benefits of digitization, specific advice on why and how to digitize, order digitization (technological) audits and get financial support.

According to Edvinas Nagulevičius, a consultant at the Lithuanian Innovation Center, as the cluster's companies come from different fields, instead of competing with each other, they work together on business development and efficiency to offer the best quality but different services or products. "While consulting, we are noticing that most companies carry out very similar processes, with individual processes accounting for only a few percent. Of course, we can certainly find new production operations in different industrial sectors, but for that companies can easily adapt additional external tools or use their functionalities more widely and in detail. The main factors that promote and facilitate digitalization for cluster companies are the benevolent cooperation between the companies themselves and experienced external experts. Qualified cluster consulting, while providing the opportunity to share technology transformation, automatization, robotics and 4.0 industry revolution solutions knowledge, technologies and ideas, helps the cluster members to keep up with the value-added investments in business," says E. Nagulevičius.

Such services and the experience transfer and sharing are offered to its members by the health technology cluster iVita. The cluster unites advanced companies, which are developing innovative products and services for health and wellness, for which digitization is an essential condition for efficiency and competitiveness. Therefore companies are happily using all services related to digitization.

Towards competitiveness and efficiency

For example, UAB Ekofrisa took advantage of the cluster's offered opportunity and ordered a digital audit service from the Lithuanian Innovation Center. Following an audit and individual consultations with the auditor and recommendations for financial support for the implementation of digitization activities, the company automated its entire buckwheat production line. The company now has more efficient, faster and larger-scale production. In addition, the human error factor has been eliminated from production, energy consumption, and environmental damage have been reduced.


Photo from the archive of UAB Ekofrisa. Digitized buckwheat production line

AB Ortopedijos technika has noticed that it became difficult to control production flows with the increase in the number of orders. The number of human errors also increased and production efficiency decreased. The company decided to automate some orthopedic technical production processes after receiving information about digitization and support. To identify targeted measures, the company also took the opportunity to perform a digitization (technological) audit.

UAB Baltec CNC Technologies used both the consultations provided by the iVita cluster on EU funding opportunities and the general consultations of the Lithuanian Innovation Center on business digitization. The company has managed to obtain financing for two different industrial digitization projects. The company itself carries out various R&D projects, which allow the further development of various digitization products. One of them is a robocell - a robotic workplace for a CNC machining center. This automation solution is desirable for small and medium-sized manufacturing companies as it enables the modernization of existing basic production facilities. A small investment allows companies to reach industrial 4.0-based production processes and robotic production technologies that significantly increase production efficiency and productivity and ensure high product quality.


Photo from the archive of UAB Baltec CNC Technologies. Robocell


UAB Acorus Calamus has sought to reduce the cost of goods, increase productivity, obtain more accurate production process management, and analyze decision-making. Using the cluster's services, the company has implemented a new analytical program and purchased more modern process automation equipment, which improved production efficiency, reducing the human number of working hours. As the company also faces a shortage of qualified personnel, it hopes that these solutions will better manage the company's resources and production processes.

Stimulus from inside

However, it is not only the services offered by the cluster or the Lithuanian Innovation Center that have encouraged companies to take digital initiatives. Companies acknowledge that other companies have heavily influenced their decisions in the cluster. According to Ilona Kazlauskienė, project coordinator at AB Ortopedijos technika, the company did not want to lag behind other members of the cluster who shared their digitization success stories: "On the one hand, you hear about how digitization solutions made a great impact for other companies, on the other hand, learn about digitization-related services, which are available free of charge, and therefore naturally want to take advantage of the opportunities offered to remain competitive and keep up with other companies in the cluster."

She was also supported by Lina Dužinskienė, Director of UAB Ekofrisa. According to her, although the need to digitize production processes arose naturally from within the company, belonging to the cluster and purposeful consultations of the Lithuanian Innovation Center undoubtedly impacted. "Participation in the cluster activities encouraged us to use the offered services and implement digitization solutions. We relied on good practices and experiences of other companies, which we learned about through the iVita cluster," says L. Dužinskienė.

Moreover, cluster companies have been forced to implement digitization decisions inside the cluster itself. According to iVita cluster coordinator Diana Vertelkienė, clusters, including iVita, as well as businesses, are forced to digitize their activities to remain efficient and competitive: "Work environment, meetings and communication are transferred to online platforms, common service digitization platforms are created, remote exhibitions, digital transformation of services are performed."

However, according to D. Vertelkienė, for digitization initiatives to be successful, it is necessary to focus on the digital transformation itself, quickly adapt to the rapidly changing conditions of the same digitization and solve challenges by sharing good practices and promote digital competencies. Most companies are afraid of change, delaying decisions that would lead to change, which could be the key to business success or even survival. It is crucial that the transformation of the corporate strategy includes the modernization of production and the introduction of advanced technologies, that personnel policies are adapted to meet the revolutionary challenges of Industry 4.0, and that companies benefit from public funding where possible to reduce burdens. That is precisely the advice she gives to iVita cluster members who successfully implement digital solutions in their environment.


Together with Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology, the Lithuanian Innovation Center is implementing the InoLink project co-financed by European funds, which aims to promote the merging of companies into clusters, increase the maturity of clusters, promote growth and international cooperation. Implementing this project, the Lithuanian Innovation Center, among other clusters, is maturing the health technology cluster iVita.