Monday, 10 December 2012

Finally an EU success story: The EU-Style Shoe

The European Commission finally introduces a real success story on its webpage: 

"The EU-Style Shoe"

This is how the well funded EU Dorothy shoe project works: 

The customer, anywhere in the world, steps in a DOROTHY shop and co-designs the EU style shoe, that is manufactured in the multi-site-nation factory, designed thanks to DOROTHY tools.

European Shoe Manufacturing industry faces an intense and growing competitive pressure brought forth by developing countries, which are entering the global market offering low-cost workforce for the production of labor-intensive, low value added products. Moreover these countries are rapidly modernizing their production methods and enhancing their technological capacities (Manufuture, Strategic Research Agenda, p.8, 09/2006). DOROTHY aims at transforming the shoe industry and its related business model for strengthen Europe's ability to compete in terms of high added value for the customer (as cost-based competition is not compatible with the goal of maintaining the Community's social and sustainability standards). This transformation relies, on one hand, on the development of tools for the design of customer driven adding value shoes (service ranging from tailor made shoe to mass produced better fit shoe) and, on the other hand, on the realization of tools for the design, configuration and reconfiguration of flexible multi-site multi-nation production factories, meant to manufacture those customer driven shoes. DOROTHY mission is to "design customer driven shoes everywhere, manufacture them intelligently anywhere" as a crucial challenge for shoe industry to gain competitiveness in the global markets, also through better cooperation (and not only to compete) with low-wage countries.

I would like to by a pair of  "customer driven adding value" EU-Style Shoes - like the ones in the picture - as a Christmas present to my wife. But for some strange reason, I cannot find an EU Dorothy Shoe Shop anywhere. Maybe somebody in the Commission could help me out? 

Or has something gone wrong in the central planning process? 

The slogan of the EU-Style shoe project, "towards sustainable economic development - better cooperate and not only compete", closely builds on the Soviet shoe factory concept, but maybe the EU planners did not quite grasp the entire idea:

In the Soviet Union, however, profit was of no concern to the manager of the state-owned shoe factory. Neither did he worry about selling the shoes. His only concern was to produce what he was told to produce, and if he could do that, both he and the workers of the plant received sizable bonuses.

One explanation for the delay could of course be that Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard is still working on how to minimize the carbon footprint of the EU-Style Shoe. 

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