Together with the Innovation Agency, Zap grupė, a company manufacturing electrical and lighting equipment, is implementing a project to digitise production. Developments for robotics, automation, enterprise resource management, 3D printing and digital engineering are being deployed. A EUR 1 million investment from the EU Structural Funds will allow the company to increase its production capacity, labour productivity, product range, sales and export volumes, and competitiveness in Lithuanian and foreign markets in the future.

‘The possibility of investment projects, the automation of production processes and digitisation of work processes is of particular interest to businesses. Without a modern technological base, it is difficult to develop competitive products today. For this purpose, the Innovation Agency is managing 243 contracts for the implementation of industrial digitisation projects, with almost EUR 117 million of EU Structural Funds. Great attention will continue to be paid to strengthening the competitiveness of Lithuanian business in the global world in the future’, says Agnė Vaitkūnienė, Head of Investment Management Division of the Innovation Agency. She adds: ‘the new phase of the EU Structural Funds will start in the autumn and will be available to companies seeking to strengthen their business competitiveness’.

ZAP grupė, the company implementing the digitisation project under the funding instrument ‘Digitisation of Industry LT’, specialises in the design and manufacture of lighting equipment, including LED lighting products. It exports more than 90% of its production to foreign markets and is one of the leaders in its field.
 ‘We are a growing company. The more customers we serve, the more we realise the need to improve and renew. The need to do things faster and better emerge, opportunities increase and inevitably there is a need for new equipment. We work mainly with linear lighting systems – we implement one-off lighting solutions for architects’ buildings and various other situations’, says Andrius Bieluckas, CEO of the company. ‘The implementation of the project is only halfway through. We all want quick and visible results, but it will take a few years to see the full benefits of the project – capacity, productivity and more. In the short term, unfortunately, we experienced the opposite effect, as all production was practically stopped for two months’.

Bieluckas noted that the quarantine and now the war, as for everyone else, has brought very negative changes to the company. ‘Raw materials are getting more expensive; delivery of equipment is delayed. It was difficult when the launch of the ERP [enterprise resource planning] system itself, which cost three times as much as the whole project, was also delayed. It is the ‘brain’ of production, managing thousands of production processes, millions of product configurations. Now it’s easier – we’re installing the equipment and fine-tuning the production processes. Not all the robots have been installed, but we are optimistic about the future and we will definitely reach our goal by the end of the project’.

The implementation of investment projects using EU Structural Funds is one of the ways of business growth provided by the Innovation Agency while presenting businesses, no matter at which stage of maturity, with information about opportunities, allaying fears and providing the necessary knowledge.

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