Demystifying data analysis: an alternative approach for managers of manufacturing SMEs

Nicholas O'Regan (Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK)
Martin Sims (Business School, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Publication date: 31 July 2007

Abstract

Purpose

Effective decision making is a crucial activity for manufacturing firms of all sizes. To this end, statistical techniques, such as variance theory, cognitive maps, heuristics and process theory, are widely used. However, such techniques rarely help chief executives to understand the dynamics of competitive behaviour, and often fail to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Indeed, from a small‐ and medium‐sized (SME) firm perspective, such techniques are rarely used owing to inadequate resources and/or skills. The paper seeks to address these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper proposes and tests a new approach to multivariate analysis based on the conditional formatting of spreadsheets. The analysis was confirmed using conventional statistical methods in order to validate the proposed methodology.

Findings

The results are depicted as a visual picture of the attribute(s) under consideration and can be visually analysed.

Originality/value

Such an approach can be used to complement and enhance current research techniques as well as facilitating data analysis.

Keywords

Citation

O'Regan, N. and Sims, M. (2007), "Demystifying data analysis: an alternative approach for managers of manufacturing SMEs", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 18 No. 6, pp. 701-713. https://doi.org/10.1108/17410380710763868

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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