Digital Challenges for the Small and Medium Enterprises of the Textile and Clothing Industry in Portugal
Nowadays of increasing functioning of network competitors, the Portuguese Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) of the Textile and Clothing Industry are facing new digital challenges. In order to strengthen their market power and reduce their dependence on foreign subcontractors, they need to create a brand image. Within this new digital and interactive context, they must interact with their consumers and take full advantage of the opportunities provided by new communication and media networks, by implementing Intranets and Extranets as privileged systems of external communication with clients, suppliers, and partners in a competitive environment. This essay analyses the competitive advantages and TOWS Matrix's Model is used for tracing dominant strategic alternatives and convenient recommendations for managers and public administrators taking into consideration the operating changes in the new economic platform, namely Internet. The Portuguese Government is committed to encouraging entrepreneurship and acts as a unifying agent, working with SME to pursue the creation of a selective set of Portuguese brands, which might better, represent products labelled "Made in Portugal". Furthermore, the Textile and Clothing Industry should be promoted using incentives to encourage SME production, and especially where innovative products are concerned, in connection with the main suppliers of raw materials, in order to encourage Cluster Networks and Technological Poles. Also relations should be encouraged by the construction of a vertical chain sheltered by a selective set of Portuguese brands supported and promoted by responsible national agents. This is a sine qua non condition to create an International Store Chain, which could offer the SME products the needed visibility.
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