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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 12 April 2022

Marco Bettiol, Chiara Burlina, Maria Chiarvesio and Eleonora Di Maria

Within the theoretical framework of global value chains (GVCs), much importance has been given to industrial districts (IDs) and their role as localized manufacturing systems. The…

1421

Abstract

Purpose

Within the theoretical framework of global value chains (GVCs), much importance has been given to industrial districts (IDs) and their role as localized manufacturing systems. The regionalization of GVC has opened new questions on the location of manufacturing activities and the potential consequences at the ID level. The reshoring phenomenon challenges internationalization processes, changing the configuration in trade dynamics for IDs. This paper aims to investigate which are the main internationalization patterns followed by district small and medium enterprises (SMEs) under the perspective of the regionalization of GVCs. This will help both practitioners and policymakers to better understand internationalization trajectories aimed at sustaining the economic development of district firms and territories.

Design/methodology/approach

The analysis has been conducted using a survey carried out on 210 ID SMEs in the furniture, mechanics and fashion industries located in Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions, in northeastern Italy. Moreover, data released from the Italian Customs Agency have been merged to detect the trends of interviewed firms’ internationalization between 2005 and 2019.

Findings

The results highlight how the geography of internationalization has changed over time, in particular following the regionalization of the GVCs. There are also differences among the industry specializations of IDs. This could be attributable to the strategy pursued by each firm to control the competition both in the domestic market and abroad, also in relation to GVC lead firms’ location strategies.

Originality/value

This paper applies new data on the analysis of ID SMEs related to international transactions over a long period of time. In doing this, this paper adds new insights to the GVC literature and future policies to be implemented to foster the participation of district firms in the global scenario.

Details

Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal , vol. 32 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1059-5422

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 2 January 2023

Marco Bettiol, Mauro Capestro, Eleonora Di Maria and Stefano Micelli

The paper refers to the framework of ambidexterity to explain the strategic paths of manufacturing SMEs in turbulent times, by investigating SMEs' strategic reaction to the…

2384

Abstract

Purpose

The paper refers to the framework of ambidexterity to explain the strategic paths of manufacturing SMEs in turbulent times, by investigating SMEs' strategic reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors adopted an inductive approach methodology. Using a qualitative research method, Italian manufacturing SMEs in different industries were interviewed to outline how they have faced the negative effects of the COVID-19 by considering the strategies implemented during the pandemic.

Findings

The study identifies three ambidextrous strategies for manufacturing SMEs to positively overcome the COVID-19 crisis: (1) playing different roles within the same market (business-to-business and business-to-consumer) simultaneously, (2) simultaneous entrance and management of multiple markets and (3) exploiting manufacturing knowledge for exploring product and business model innovation (simultaneous learning processes).

Research limitations/implications

Results enrich the theoretical discussion on ambidexterity and SMEs, by stressing the strategic dimension of ambidexterity and including a more fine-grained analysis of the different firm’ strategic paths in times of crisis.

Practical implications

The paper provides practical suggestions for manufacturing SMEs on how they can react during turbulent times and crises by implementing ambidextrous strategies also thanks to the use of digital technologies.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to outlining the conditions for SMEs' resilience in the international competitive context by highlighting the perspective of ambidexterity based on the analysis of multiple case studies from manufacturing industries.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 53 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 25 October 2023

Marco Bettiol, Maria Chiarvesio, Eleonora Di Maria, Cristina Di Stefano and Luciano Fratocchi

The advantages of offshoring are increasingly under scrutiny, and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has advanced the debate, calling for a redefinition of firms' production…

Abstract

Purpose

The advantages of offshoring are increasingly under scrutiny, and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has advanced the debate, calling for a redefinition of firms' production location strategies. While attention has primarily focused on the relocation of second-degree strategies, such as back-shoring, near-shoring and further offshoring, there are also other alternatives, including home country-based domestic product and process innovations, and the development of new business activities. The objective of the authors' paper is to identify which factors influence decision-makers when they select and implement such post-offshoring strategic alternatives.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors consider 11 Italian manufacturing companies that implemented these strategies and analyze triggers, drivers, enabling factors and barriers of the decision phase, as well as content, governance mode and timing of the implementation phase.

Findings

Based on the collected findings, the authors suggest a set of propositions for further research. First of all, firms can simultaneously manage multiple strategies by adopting an ambidextrous approach through which to mitigate supply chain risks. They may integrate their domestic and international production activities, but the home country remains central for innovations and production of high-end products and Industry 4.0 technologies increases the probability of investing in their home country. At the same time, lack of competence induces selective near- and back-shoring, while full back-shoring is mainly a consequence of managerial mistakes. Competence availability acts as a barrier to relocation in the home country, inducing the implementation of either an insourcing strategy or a combination of insourcing and outsourcing.

Originality/value

The authors' work identifies post-offshoring as a dynamic process and provides insights into the post-pandemic scenario. The conceptual framework may represent a useful tool for company managers in re-evaluating their initial offshoring strategies.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 61 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 4 May 2023

Marco Bettiol, Mauro Capestro, Eleonora Di Maria and Roberto Grandinetti

This paper aims to investigate the impact of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) technologies on knowledge creation for innovation purposes by assessing the relationships among the variety of…

1638

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the impact of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) technologies on knowledge creation for innovation purposes by assessing the relationships among the variety of I4.0 technologies adopted (breadth I4.0), the penetration of these technologies within the firm’s value chain activities (depth I4.0) and the mediating role of both internal (inter-functional (IF)) and external [with knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS)] collaborations in this process.

Design/methodology/approach

The study employed a quantitative research design. By administering a survey to entrepreneurs, chief operation officers or managers in charge of the operational and technological processes of Italian manufacturing firms, the authors collected 137 useful questionnaires. To test this study's theoretical framework and hypotheses, the authors ran regression and mediation analyses.

Findings

First, the results highlight the positive link between breadth I4.0 and depth I4.0. Moreover, the results show the key role played by increased collaboration among the firm’s business functions and by relationships with KIBS in creating knowledge to innovate processes and products when I4.0 technologies are adopted.

Research limitations/implications

The variety of I4.0 technologies adopted enables a firm to use such technologies in various value chain activities. However, the penetration of I4.0 into the firm’s value chain activities (depth I4.0) does not per se directly imply the production of new knowledge, for which a firm needs internal collaboration among different business functions, in particular with the production area, or collaboration with external partners that favor I4.0 implementation, such as KIBS.

Practical implications

To achieve innovation goals by creating new knowledge, especially in the manufacturing industries, firms should encourage internal and external collaboration when I4.0 technologies are adopted. Moreover, policy makers should not only consider fiscal incentives for the adoption of such technologies, but also encourage the building of networks between adopting firms and external actors.

Originality/value

The study is one of the first attempt that provides empirical evidence of how I4.0 enables the creation of knowledge to innovate processes and products, highlighting the relevance of collaboration both within the company and with external partners.

Details

European Journal of Innovation Management, vol. 26 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1460-1060

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 17 January 2021

Jose-Luis Hervas-Oliver, Eleonora di Maria and Marco Bettiol

Abstract

Details

Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal , vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1059-5422

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 21 May 2020

Marco Bettiol, Mauro Capestro, Valentina De Marchi, Eleonora Di Maria and Silvia Rita Sedita

This paper aims to explore if firms located in industrial districts (IDs) have different adoption paths concerning Industry 4.0 technologies and get different results with respect…

2794

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore if firms located in industrial districts (IDs) have different adoption paths concerning Industry 4.0 technologies and get different results with respect to other similar firms located outside IDs.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on a quantitative analysis related to an original data set of 206 Italian manufacturing firms specializing in made in Italy industries and adopting Industry 4.0 technologies. A case study of a district firm is also presented to explain the rationale of investment strategies and results obtained.

Findings

The analysis shows that there are differences between district and non-district firms when Industry 4.0 technology investments are concerned (higher investment rate in big data/cloud and augmented reality for district firms than non-district ones). In contrast to a breakthrough view of the fourth industrial revolution, the study suggests that 4.0 technologies emphasize the peculiarities and competitiveness factors typical of the district model in terms of customization and flexibility. There are differences in the motivations of adoption (product diversification for district firms vs productivity enhancement for non-district firms) and in the results achieved.

Originality/value

The paper is one of the first attempts to empirically explore the technological innovation paths related to Industry 4.0 within IDs, therefore, contributing to the debate on the possible evolution of the district model

Details

Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal , vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1059-5422

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 20 December 2021

Marco Bettiol, Mauro Capestro, Eleonora Di Maria and Stefano Micelli

Industry 4.0 technologies are promising to increase manufacturing companies' performance through the new knowledge that such digital technologies allow to create and manage within…

2786

Abstract

Purpose

Industry 4.0 technologies are promising to increase manufacturing companies' performance through the new knowledge that such digital technologies allow to create and manage within the firm boundaries and through customer interactions. Despite the great attention on the Industry 4.0 adoption paths, little is known about the relationships with previous waves of digital technologies, namely, information and communication technologies (ICTs), and how different groups of both types of technologies link to knowledge and its related performances.

Design/methodology/approach

The study employed a quantitative research design using a survey method. Submitting the questionnaire to entrepreneurs, chief operation officers or managers in charge of the operational and technological processes of Italian manufacturing firms, 206 respondents stated that their firm has adopted at least one of the seven Industry 4.0 technologies investigated.

Findings

The findings of the study highlight the positive relationship between ICT and Industry 4.0 technologies in terms of both intensity and groups of technologies (Web-based, Management and Manufacturing ICT; Operation, Customization and Data-processing 4.0), and how technologies affect knowledge-related performances in terms of products and processes, job-learning, product-related services and customer involvement.

Originality/value

This study is one of the first attempts to link groups of ICT to groups of Industry 4.0 technologies and to explore the effects in terms of knowledge-related performances as a measure of technology use. The study shows strong path dependency among ICT, Industry 4.0 and knowledge performance, enriching the literature on technological innovation and knowledge management.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 71 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 21 October 2019

Marco Bettiol, Maria Chiarvesio, Eleonora Di Maria, Cristina Di Stefano and Luciano Fratocchi

Manufacturing offshoring has received substantial attention within international business studies that have explored where activities are located and how they are governed…

Abstract

Manufacturing offshoring has received substantial attention within international business studies that have explored where activities are located and how they are governed. However, recent examples of manufacturing relocation to the home country/region have put the advantages of offshoring under scrutiny, since the location of production activities in high-cost countries may have positive impacts in terms of innovation and marketing opportunities. Despite the growing interest in offshoring and “relocations of second degree,” there is a lack of knowledge on the alternative strategies firms may implement after offshoring. This chapter aims to propose a comprehensive framework to summarize and classify the multiple alternatives firms may implement after the initial relocation abroad of manufacturing activities. Based on an extensive literature review and a comparative analysis of Italian case studies, the chapter suggests theoretical advancement in the theory of location of business activities, offering multiple post-offshoring strategic options that may be implemented individually or in combination. In so doing, the analysis also stresses the variety of strategic paths and the complexity of choices concerning manufacturing location, emphasizing reshoring as a nuanced phenomenon and exploring how domestic and foreign locations can complement each other and be mutually reinforcing.

Details

International Business in a VUCA World: The Changing Role of States and Firms
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-256-0

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 4 August 2017

Marco Bettiol, Chiara Burlina, Maria Chiarvesio and Eleonora Di Maria

Defined as local manufacturing systems, industrial districts have been recognized as particularly important for the location of firms’ manufacturing activities intertwined with…

Abstract

Defined as local manufacturing systems, industrial districts have been recognized as particularly important for the location of firms’ manufacturing activities intertwined with innovation processes. The debate on the internationalization of production has stressed the low value related to manufacturing within value chain activities (smile framework), emphasizing the need to focus on high value-added activities (R&D or marketing). Following multinational enterprises’ internationalization strategies, also district firms have progressively offshored their production phases in the past years. However, recent studies focused on backshoring have revamped the attention on the domestic control of production for firms’ competitiveness. This chapter explores district firms’ location choices for manufacturing activities between local and global. Based on an empirical analysis of about 260 Italian district firms specialized in mechanics, furniture, and fashion and supported by a case study investigation, our results show that despite district internationalization processes, a non-negligible amount of firms still carry out – in-house or through outsourcing – production activities at district level. Larger firms couple district production and long-term upstream outsourced internationalization activities. The district system confirms its role of pooling specialized competences and product know-how, being decisive for firms’ innovation and responsiveness to national and international markets. Backshoring, instead, is a very limited phenomenon and linked to upgrading strategies.

Details

Breaking up the Global Value Chain
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-071-6

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 July 2012

Marco Bettiol, Eleonora Di Maria and Roberto Grandinetti

The paper aims to analyze the relationships between standardization and creativity in the process of service innovation in knowledge‐intensive business services (KIBS)

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Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to analyze the relationships between standardization and creativity in the process of service innovation in knowledge‐intensive business services (KIBS), specifically in those specialized in highly creative outputs (KIBS in design and communication). Studies on knowledge management and on service management emphasize the opportunity to gain efficiency through a standardization of services and organizational processes. However, creative activities are characterized by informality and difficulty to be standardized.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopts a qualitative research approach. Two case studies of medium‐size KIBS specialized in design and communication, localized in Bangalore (India) and in Treviso (Italy) are developed to identify how KIBS approach knowledge management both internally and externally and how firms structure the innovation process.

Findings

KIBS can use a suitable knowledge management strategy to balance creative outputs with standardization based on a working method. Standardization can refer to the way the creative effort is organized and managed internally through appropriate organizational processes, with the approach confirmed empirically.

Research limitations/implications

Main limitations are related to the case study and the industry selected. The authors acknowledge the need to compare firms belonging to other industries to strengthen the results.

Originality/value

From a theoretical point of view the paper enriches the research framework concerning knowledge management in services by exploring the relationship between standardization and creativity. From an empirical point of view, the research is able to deepen understanding on the KIBS knowledge management strategies and their impacts on processes of service provision and innovation.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

Keywords

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