Rebirth out of the Covid-19 crisis – Making Europe stronger

Rebirth out of the Covid-19 crisis – Making Europe stronger

2020 is a year that will go into history. Not because of Euro 2020 or the 2020 Olympic Games, but as the year in which Covid-19 arose and took down our personal as well as our professional life. A major lockdown in the second quarter of the year caused companies to close, and challenged entrepreneurs to come up with new ways to survive and be successful again. Covid-19 is the biggest challenge for the manufacturing industry in over 100 years, as it affects both customers as manufacturers worldwide.

Redesign production strategies

Over the last decades, globalisation made it possible to design a product in one part of the world, to produce it in another part, and to deliver it to customer markets around the globe. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 crisis made it clear that if one or more suppliers or links in this chain fail, the entire supply chain breaks down causing massive disruptions.

To solve this, we need to redesign our production strategies. From complex worldwide supply chains with many inherent risks, companies must now move to more regional supply chains with reduced risk and much higher flexibility to serve customers’ individual needs. That is why we need to define a European Industrial Recovery plan, compliant with the European Green Deal initiative, so we can focus on investing in innovation, new skills and new technologies to ensure Product, Technology and Digital Sovereignty in Europe.


These actions are perfectly compatible with the SmartFactoryEU. As a founding partner, Flanders Make supports thisjoint initiative within the European Union. SmartFactoryEU is designed to harness the power of our community and strengthen the European innovation ecosystem as a global leader in the advanced 21st century manufacturing.

The European Union is a strong economy. Nearly all EU member countries have already established joint initiatives across industry and research to identify and support the transition into smart factories. We, as Flanders Make, also started a similar initiative with the SmartFactoryBNL. Now, the new SmartFactoryEU EEIG association is starting to build a network to connect these important national initiatives. So, let us join forces and innovate our way forward out of this crisis.

White paper

Want to know more about the European Industrial Recovery Plan and the SmartFactory initiative? Download the full white paper here or contact us.

Dirk Torfs, CEO

Dirk Torfs is CEO of Flanders Make since 2014. Dirk is a Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Engineer as well as a Doctor in Applied Sciences (KU Leuven). He has over 20 years of experience in management positions in the Flemish industry and is Professor of Quantitative Decision-Making for the Executive MBA programme of the Flanders Business School.