The first accredited innovation cluster in the west transdanubian region

The Pannon Wood- and Furniture Industry Cluster (PANFA) is the first cluster in the Western Transdanubian Region to win the title “Accredited Innovation Cluster”. The aim of the tender issued by the Hungarian Economic Development Center is consistent with the strategic and economic guidelines of the New Széchenyi Plan. One of the impacts of the accreditation process of innovative, export-orientated clusters with significant employment effects and a high number of small- and medium-sized business enterprises as members is that setting a high quality level as requirement becomes possible.

Wood industry in Hungary has significant industrial and scientific history and important industrial potential. Forest coverage is nearly 21% which provides a good background for wood-processing and furniture industries. The West Transdanubian region is especially important since one-fifth of the living tree stock of Hungary can be found here. Moreover, nearly one thousand forestry-, wood- and furniture industry business enterprises operate here.

With such background it is no coincidence that the Pannon Wood- and Furniture Industry Cluster was founded in 2001 as the second such organization in Hungary with 15 founding members and supported by Zala County Business Development Foundation as work organization. The fundamental purpose of the cooperation was to produce competitive products and launch them on  national and international markets in two key areas of the Hungarian wood industry, in furniture industry and in construction- and carpentry industry.

However, after 10 years of cooperation and mutual success, PANFA needs reorganization in order to better exploit the possibilities of joint forces. EFFIX-Marketing Ltd has become the work organization of the cluster and they have initiated a reorganization process and as a result of this the cluster has been awarded with the title “Accredited Innovation Cluster”.

A new future image has also been outlined based on the requirements of the cluster members besides keeping the original aims, that is the improvement of the competitiveness of the furniture- and carpentry industries. Effix-Marketing Ltd do not concentrate merely on traditional product characteristics (function, form, quality and price) but they include “green aspects” that determine sustainability (energy use, waste management) as well in their plans markedly in order to reach long-term success. Following the rise of “green industry”, stricter energetic-, climate protective- and health care regulations have been introduced for the purpose of sustainability and these requirements give an enhanced value to wood as raw material and to products made of wood.

The strength of wood industry enterprises included in the cluster are improved by the Faculty of Wood Industry (University of West Hungary), which is also a member of the organization. The education of wood industry engineers – unique in Hungary and recognized on European level as well -, the accredited laboratory and R+D+I background, the applied art and informatics courses of the faculty just like the knowledge and partners of forest management determining raw material production all provide excellent grounds even on international level.

As a result of accreditation, the possibilities of PANFA have increased since it has been entitled to take part in grant applications financed by the EU and thus both technological and research backgrounds can improve in order to reach objectives.