A SPIN (SME Partnerships for Innovative Energy Services) is an organized cluster of independent companies, mainly SMEs, that jointly supply energy efficiency services and that have a structured long-term collaboration with commonly agreed objectives.
The main strengths of a SPIN include:
- The supply of common services at a lower cost and a higher quality due to the specialization of each partner in the network;
- Higher sales and lower costs by economies of scale and synergies in marketing, sales and operations;
- Fast and efficient implementation of projects;
- Smooth collaboration and lower risks for network partners compared with conventional ad-hoc collaboration.
Strengths may also be derived from the assessment of the weaknesses of potential competitors, for example:
A large, possibly (multinational) ESCO can cover most of the aforementioned advantages of a SPIN, via hiring up a large staff of experts, via mergers and acquisitions, etc. However, a well-organised SPIN has the following competitive advantages compared to a large ESCO:
- It maintains the flexibility, customer focus and innovation strength of SMEs;
- It has a lower cost structure compared with a large ESCO that typically has higher overhead costs and wage levels.