Understanding high value manufacturing in Scottish SMEs

Paton, Steve and MacBryde, Jillian and Clegg, Ben (2013) Understanding high value manufacturing in Scottish SMEs. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 33 (11/12). 1579 - 1598. ISSN 0144-3577

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Abstract

Purpose: to investigate the use of HVM concepts in Scottish SMEs and define how they are being used to gain competitive advantage. Design/methodology/approach: cross-sectional research carried out using a large-scale survey of 435 SMEs and semi-structured interviews of a subset of 50 SMEs. Findings: indicates that HVM is not a homogeneous state but an umbrella term for a number of operational models adopted by manufacturers that are progressively moving from simple price-based production; companies must, as a foundation, be operationally excellent in all lifecycle phases before extending their capability by offering a more comprehensive service; HVM is not a static state but a journey that differs in nature for each manufacturer depending on the nature of its market and customer. Research implications: the approach to theory must be more integrated combining aspects of marketing, strategic and operational theory. Research must be carried out using the supply chain, rather than the firm, as the unit of analysis. Practical Implications: manufacturing efficiency has now become an order qualifier and competitive advantage should now be sought through the integration of design, production and service activities from strategic levels down to operational levels across all the functions of a business which link seamlessly to customer and supplier activities. Originality/value: contains insights into Scottish SMEs and their practice of HVM; defines the activity that makes up HVM at an operational as opposed to an economic or strategic level; proposes a model that characterises the stages of HVM that SMEs transition through.