Environmental turbulence: impact on UK SMEs’ manufacturing priorities

Sainidis, Eustathios and Robson, Andrew (2016) Environmental turbulence: impact on UK SMEs’ manufacturing priorities. Management Research Review, 39 (10). pp. 1239-1264. ISSN 2040-8269

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/MRR-06-2015-0140

Abstract

Purpose
This paper aims to assess the impact of 2008 recession (Great Recession)-led environmental turbulence on the manufacturing small and medium enterprise (SME) sector and its related competitive priorities.

Design/methodology/approach
A mixed methods research strategy, consisting of a survey of 104 manufacturing SMEs located in the UK, complemented by 17 in-depth interviews with senior management representatives from this survey group.

Findings
Senior managers have prompted a realignment of competitive manufacturing priorities accounting for external financial and market conditions. Differing competitive priorities post-recession are given to various areas of manufacturing decision-making, the greatest impact being on manufacturing costs. Manufacturing flexibility, performance in meeting customer deliveries and enhancing supplier selection are merited to increase priority with relatively little change for process technology, quality and environmental practices.

Research limitations/implications
The sample of survey participants was relatively small, therefore prohibiting an assessment of differences in competitive priorities by sub-sectors of manufacturing SMEs. This was offset by a healthy number of informative, in-depth interviews that provided a richness of examples and insight into the shifting priorities for the sector.

Practical implications
Clear priorities have emerged around reducing manufacturing costs, being more flexible in manufacturing and improving outward performance relating to customers and suppliers.

Originality/value
This builds on established manufacturing strategy constructs and points to necessary competitive priority realignment focused on the performance areas listed above.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: environmental turbulence, great recession, manufacturing priorities, mixed-methods research, UK manufacturing SMEs
Subjects: N200 Management studies
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School > Business and Management
Depositing User: Ay Okpokam
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2016 15:03
Last Modified: 09 May 2017 19:57
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/28074

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