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Article

Kevin R. Caskey

The paper aims to examine competitive strategies used by several small ski brands manufacturing in the USA. The motivation is to explain, while there are no major…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to examine competitive strategies used by several small ski brands manufacturing in the USA. The motivation is to explain, while there are no major manufacturers in the USA, why many smaller manufacturers produce locally despite higher labor costs.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper first describes mid-volume, mid-complexity manufacturing. It then describes customization and innovation. Descriptions of the ski industry, ski manufacturing and customization and innovation, especially among smaller ski manufacturers, then follow. Publicly available information is the examined to understand the competitive strategy of firms in this sector. This is followed by interviews with principals at several smaller manufacturers.

Findings

The findings show that small firms do use innovation and customization strategies and are able to compete while producing their product within the USA.

Research limitations/implications

The interview method limits the ability to perform rigorous statistical analysis. Results in this sector may not carry over to other sectors of similar size and complexity.

Practical implications

The findings give an example of the ability of manufacturing to remain in higher labor cost countries if customization and innovation are significant market drivers.

Social implications

The health of manufacturing in Western Europe and North America is currently of significant political interest. Companies and government entities may consider what actions they can take to encourage innovation-driven markets.

Originality/value

The paper provides an explanation for the success of small firms manufacturing mid-volume and complexity products in higher labor cost countries. As innovation and customization are found to be major drivers, this can inform manufacturers in other segments where the products and market share characteristics with those found in higher-end downhill skis.

Details

Competitiveness Review, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1059-5422

Keywords

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Article

Kevin R. Caskey

The paper aims to examine the location of manufacturing for the major ski brands. The motivation is to explain, while there are no major manufacturers in the USA, the…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to examine the location of manufacturing for the major ski brands. The motivation is to explain, while there are no major manufacturers in the USA, the major European manufactures do produce locally even though their labor costs are even higher than those in the USA.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper first describes mid-volume, mid-complexity manufacturing. It then describes the ski industry and ski manufacturing. It then proposes several factors that could drive the choice of ski manufacturing location. It then reports interviews with several top managers at major manufacturers and suppliers.

Findings

The findings show that development time and innovation are major drivers in the European market. The desire to lead the market with innovative products precludes the use of manufacturing in Asia, where production and delivery times would be longer.

Practical implications

The findings give an example of the ability of manufacturing to remain in higher labor cost countries if development speed and innovation are significant market drivers.

Social implications

The health of manufacturing in Western Europe and North America is currently of significant political interest. Companies and government entities may consider what actions they can take to encourage innovation-driven markets.

Originality/value

The paper provides an explanation for a significant portion of the manufacturing of a mid-volume and complexity product remaining in higher labor cost countries. As innovation and development speed are found to be major drivers, this can inform manufacturers in other segments where the products and market share characteristics with those found in higher-end downhill skis.

Details

Competitiveness Review, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1059-5422

Keywords

Content available
Article

Kevin Celuch, Anna Walz, Carl Saxby and Craig Ehlen

There is strong consensus that the Internet has the potential to positively impact firms, and SMEs in particular; however, not all firms have realized benefits from…

Abstract

There is strong consensus that the Internet has the potential to positively impact firms, and SMEs in particular; however, not all firms have realized benefits from adoption. The present study extends research in the area by addressing the need to examine the “chain” of variables explaining Internet adoption. We do this by exploring SME owner/manager Internet-related usefulness and ease-of-use cognitions and intention to use the Internet for supplier information management. We also explore the influence of behavioral norms and two broader strategic perspectives, market and learning orientation, on the Internet-related cognitions. Findings have implications for researchers and practitioners by identifying factors that contribute to effectively leveraging the Internet in an important area for SMEs.

Details

New England Journal of Entrepreneurship, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2574-8904

Keywords

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Article

Kevin Caskey and Brian Subirana

The purpose of this paper is to use a blended learning environment to introduce principals in small businesses to the benefits of electronic commerce, while avoiding many…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to use a blended learning environment to introduce principals in small businesses to the benefits of electronic commerce, while avoiding many of the barriers identified in recent research.

Design/ methodology/approach

The paper reports results from field tests of the Virtual Product Development Workshop (VPDW) approach to introducing leaders of small businesses to the benefits and practical issues involved in adding e‐commerce capabilities to their firms.

Findings

The paper finds that the benefits to smaller business of e‐commerce are real. Even so, senior staff in smaller firms have been reluctant to invest the time and resources needed to develop e‐commerce activities tailored to their firms' strengths and needs. A training approach blending online preparation and physical participation is found to be more effective than either approach alone. This paper allows senior staff participation in tailored e‐commerce design with a lower time and monetary commitment than other sources of individualized support.

Research limitations/implications

While the participants in the field tests represented small business from throughout Europe, there was little participation from outside Europe.

Practical implications

The approach described provides a route to exposing senior staff in small businesses to opportunities and solutions for e‐commerce implementation. The VPDW approach allows customized advice at a lower cost and using less time than other sources providing firm specific advice.

Originality/value

The paper provides guidelines to running a successful VPDW. Recommendations address the kick‐off, introductions, context and content, participants' experience, and the closing. Actual participant comments from the tests are included.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

Keywords

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