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Article

Sameh M Saad, Ramin Bahadori and Hamidreza Jafarnejad

This study proposes the Smart SME Technology Readiness Assessment (SSTRA) methodology which aims to enable practitioners to assess the SMEs Industry 4.0 technology…

Abstract

Purpose

This study proposes the Smart SME Technology Readiness Assessment (SSTRA) methodology which aims to enable practitioners to assess the SMEs Industry 4.0 technology readiness throughout the end-to-end engineering across the entire value chain; the smart product design phase is the focus in this paper.

Design/methodology/approach

The proposed SSTRA utilises the analytic hierarchy process to prioritise smart SME requirements, a graphical interface which tracks technologies' benchmarks under Industry 4.0 Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs); a mathematical model used to determine the technology readiness and visual representation to understand the relative readiness of each smart main area. The validity of the SSTRA is confirmed by testing it in a real industrial environment. In addition, the conceptual model for Smart product design development is proposed and validated.

Findings

The proposed SSTRA offers decision-makers the facility to identify requirements and rank them to reflect the current priorities of the enterprise. It allows SMEs to assess their current capabilities in a range of technologies of high relevance to the Industry 4.0 area. The SSTRA assembles a readiness profile allowing decision-makers to not only perceive the overall score of technology readiness but also the distribution of technology readiness across the main smart areas. It helps to visualise strengths and weaknesses; whilst emphasising the fundamental gaps that require serious action to assist the program with a well-balanced effort towards a successful transition to Industry 4.0.

Originality/value

The SSTRA provides a step-by-step approach for decision-making based on data collection, analysis, visualisation and documentation. Hence, it greatly mitigates the risk of further Industry 4.0 technology investment and implementation.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

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Article

S.C. Lenny Koh and Mike Simpson

This paper seeks to show how enterprise resource planning (ERP) could create a competitive advantage for small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs).

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to show how enterprise resource planning (ERP) could create a competitive advantage for small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs).

Design/methodology/approach

The main methods used in this study were questionnaires and interviews based on the application of an uncertainty diagnosing business model. Data were collected, using a questionnaire administrated to 126 SMEs, in the form of percentage contributions of the underlying causes of uncertainty (structured in the business model) on product late delivery. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was carried out in SPSS to analyse the effects of the underlying causes of uncertainty in SMEs.

Findings

ERP could create a competitive advantage in delivery for SMEs by being responsive and agile to change, but not to uncertainty. Results suggested that only a few features in an ERP system were used to deal with change due to uncertainty. It was found that SMEs generally use their ERP system to generate a plan for production and use it as a guideline. SMEs concurrently use a range of buffering or dampening techniques to tackle uncertainty for crating a competitive advantage in delivery.

Research limitations/implications

The application of the business model in SMEs has provided useful knowledge to make‐to‐stock (MTS), make‐to‐order (MTO) and mixed‐mode (MM) manufacturing enterprises in which underlying causes of uncertainty were significantly affecting their product late delivery performance.

Originality/value

This is a highly original application of an uncertainty diagnosing business model to SMEs using ERP systems.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article

Sameh M. Saad and Nabil N.Z. Gindy

The paper seeks to report on some of the preliminary results of an ongoing scoping study into the shape of the manufacturing enterprise of the future.

Abstract

Purpose

The paper seeks to report on some of the preliminary results of an ongoing scoping study into the shape of the manufacturing enterprise of the future.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper evolved through a combination of literature review, focused group discussions, interviews and a questionnaire survey of six aerospace companies in the UK. It is primarily an attempt to provide a broad framework for synthesizing some of the information generally available as a contribution to the current debate regarding the future of manufacturing systems.

Findings

The results to date show that the product development process and supply network efficiency are the two most significant domains influencing manufacturing responsiveness. Within those domains, customer driven product development and supply chain design, intelligent and flexible technology, producibility analysis, integrated product and process development and the concurrency of the extended manufacturing enterprise are considered as the most significant elements towards achieving responsiveness. In addition a Responsive Manufacturing Model (RMM) is provided.

Research limitations/implications

The RMM reported in the paper is at an early state of development and the work is ongoing to refine it further. The development of appropriate measures and methods of assessment for the various facets and attributes of manufacturing responsiveness is an important step towards full model development which is still to be addressed.

Practical implications

The process of structuring the various elements influencing manufacturing responsiveness into logical groups in a hierarchical model has proved very useful during model development. It proved a significant aid during the focused group discussions and interviews that preceded completion of the questionnaire. The results to date are very encouraging and provide several interesting insights into the domains and elements of manufacturing responsiveness and the relative importance attached to them in the UK aerospace sector.

Originality/value

The work was funded by EPSRC (IMI) research grant as it was the first attempt in this field over within the UK. The proposed model and the obtained results have led to another research project funded by EPSRC over three years to further investigate the proposed model and the implication of its implementation.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

Keywords

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Article

S.C.L. Koh, M. Simpson, J. Padmore, N. Dimitriadis and F. Misopoulos

To examine enterprise resource planning (ERP) adoption in Greek companies, and explore the effects of uncertainty on the performance of these systems and the methods used…

Abstract

Purpose

To examine enterprise resource planning (ERP) adoption in Greek companies, and explore the effects of uncertainty on the performance of these systems and the methods used to cope with uncertainty.

Design/methodology/approach

This research was exploratory and six case studies were generated. This work was part of a larger project on the adoption, implementation and integration of ERP systems in Greek enterprises. A taxonomy of ERP adoption research was developed from the literature review and used to underpin the issues investigated in these cases. The results were compared with the literature on ERP adoption in the USA and UK.

Findings

There were major differences between ERP adoption in Greek companies and companies in other countries. The adoption, implementation and integration of ERP systems were fragmented in Greek companies. This fragmentation demonstrated that the internal enterprise's culture, resources available, skills of employees, and the way ERP systems are perceived, treated and integrated within the business and in the supply chain, play critical roles in determining the success/failure of ERP systems adoption. A warehouse management system was adopted by some Greek enterprises to cope with uncertainty.

Research limitations/implications

A comparison of ERP adoption was made between the USA, UK and Greece, and may limit its usefulness elsewhere.

Practical implications

Practical advice is offered to managers contemplating adopting ERP.

Originality/value

A new taxonomy of ERP adoption research was developed, which refocused the ERP implementation and integration into related critical success/failure factors and total integration issues, thus providing a more holistic ERP adoption framework.

Details

Industrial Management & Data Systems, vol. 106 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-5577

Keywords

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Article

P. Datta

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the knowledge existing in the literature on supply chain resilience for identifying the supply chain practices adopted for…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the knowledge existing in the literature on supply chain resilience for identifying the supply chain practices adopted for securing resilience in given uncertain event.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic literature review is conducted to identify 84 conceptual and empirical studies. The research findings are synthesized in categories of uncertain events, supply chain practices and outcomes.

Findings

A set of propositions linking the uncertain events, mechanisms and supply chain resilience improvement is developed. It was found that the sufficient conditions for resilience under unexpected disasters are substantially different from those required for resilience against disruptions caused by internal practices or complexity.

Originality/value

Practitioners can benefit from the knowledge of interventions and mechanisms to improve their supply chain resilience in the face of different unpredictable situations. The contribution of this paper is twofold: first, it develops an actionable theory of supply chain resilience by developing testable propositions in the context of supply chains exposed to uncertainties resulting from unexpected disruptions, complexity of supply chains and adoption of certain internal practice; second, the paper highlights the key shortcomings of existing literature and provides opportunities for further research and improvement.

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

Keywords

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Article

S.C.L. Koh and K.H. Tan

This paper seeks to present the process and results of the application of a decision‐making tool, namely TAPS, which enables translation of knowledge of supply chain…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to present the process and results of the application of a decision‐making tool, namely TAPS, which enables translation of knowledge of supply chain uncertainty into business strategy and actions.

Design/methodology/approach

The knowledge of supply chain uncertainty is collected from previous research performed under enterprise resource planning (ERP)‐controlled manufacturing environments. The knowledge is used as the input for TAPS and is mapped to investigate and formulate appropriate business strategy and action plan to manage supply chain uncertainty in such environments.

Findings

The results of knowledge translation provide a set of guidelines to academics and practitioners, which indicates the underlying causes of supply chain uncertainty in ERP‐controlled manufacturing environments in a priority order, and the suitable business strategy and actions that could potentially be adopted to manage the uncertainty.

Practical implications

Owing to the increasing level of complexity and uncertainty intoday's enterprises, translating knowledge is suggested to be useful in assisting decision making and business strategy formulation.

Originality/value

This research provides a successful case example of knowledge translation process of supply chain uncertainty into business strategy and actions, which enables creation of sustainable strategies to manage uncertainty based on the concept of knowledge management and learning.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

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Article

S.C. Lenny Koh and Mike Simpson

The aim of this paper is to investigate how enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems could create a competitive advantage for small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs)…

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to investigate how enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems could create a competitive advantage for small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs). The objectives of this study are to examine how responsive and agile the existing ERP systems are to change and uncertainty, and to identify the types of change and uncertainty in SME manufacturing environments.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed methodology is used in this study, which involves literature review, questionnaire survey and follow‐up, in‐depth telephone interviews. An uncertainty diagnosing business model is applied to collect data from SME manufacturers in make‐to‐stock (MTS), make‐to‐order (MTO) and mixed mode (MM) manufacturing environments in a structured manner, and to analyse the effects of the underlying causes of uncertainty on product late delivery in MTS, MTO and MM manufacturing environments in SMEs. Some 108 enterprises responded (86 per cent response rate), of which 64 are SMEs. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) is carried out in SPSS to analyse the effects of the underlying causes of uncertainty on product late delivery in MTS, MTO and MM manufacturing environments in SMEs.

Findings

ANOVA results show that a different group of underlying causes of uncertainty significantly affects the product late delivery performance in MTS, MTO and MM manufacturing environments in SMEs. This study found that ERP could improve responsiveness and agility to change, but not to uncertainty. SMEs could create a competitive advantage by being more responsive to change in the ERP system before generating purchase and work order. ERP systems could not deal with uncertainty due to its stochastic and unpredictable nature. SMEs use a range of buffering or dampening techniques under uncertainty to be competitive in delivery.

Originality/value

It can be concluded that the application of the business model in SMEs that use ERP has provided useful knowledge about the significant underlying causes of uncertainty that affect product late delivery performance in MTS, MTO and MM manufacturing environments. Using this knowledge, similar SMEs could then prioritise the effort and devise suitable buffering or dampening techniques to manage the causes of uncertainty and hence prevent any changes to the ERP system.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 16 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

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Article

Nabil N. Gindy and Sameh M. Saad

In this paper manufacturing responsiveness is related to the ability of manufacturing systems to utilise its existing resources to make a rapid and balanced response to…

Abstract

In this paper manufacturing responsiveness is related to the ability of manufacturing systems to utilise its existing resources to make a rapid and balanced response to the predictable and unpredictable changes. Better understanding of the inherent (hidden) flexibility that exists within a manufacturing system can therefore lead to significant improvement in system performance and responsiveness. In the reported research a conceptual framework for representing the capabilities of machine tools and machining facilities using generic capabilities units termed “resource elements” is presented as well as a mathematical basis of calculating the manufacturing system flexibility using the resource elements. Simulations are used to examine manufacturing system performance and compare resource element‐based scheduling with conventional machine‐based approaches. The results show that significant improvements in system performance and the system’s ability to cope with disturbances can be achieved if manufacturing facilities are represented and scheduled based on the resource elements concept.

Details

Integrated Manufacturing Systems, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-6061

Keywords

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Article

Danica Bakotic and Ante Krnic

The purpose of this paper is to empirically investigate and clarify the relationship between business process improvement and employees’ behavior. More precisely, the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to empirically investigate and clarify the relationship between business process improvement and employees’ behavior. More precisely, the purpose is to test whether a business process improvement initiative has a positive impact on performance and employees’ behavior, namely, motivation, communication and knowledge sharing.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical research of this paper was conducted in the year 2013 in an ICT company on 52 employees who worked in the company’s R&D Centre. Business process improvement is analyzed in the change of work method for software development. Two projects of software development were observed. The data about the projects were collected by using the company’s documentation. The data about employees’ behavior were collected by a specially designed questionnaire.

Findings

Business process improvement led to better results and overall performance. Furthermore, it was found that business process improvement enhanced three important elements of employees’ behavior. These are motivation, communication and knowledge sharing.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitations of this study are small research sample, focusing on just the way of business process improvement and on only one company. Therefore, the results cannot be generalized and considered as being generally accepted.

Practical implications

The findings of this study could be useful for ICT companies because it shows the benefits of the Kanban method.

Originality/value

The major contribution of this study is to prove the positive impact of business process improvement initiatives on overall performance and on the special elements of employees’ behavior. This cognition enhances the existing knowledge on business process improvements.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 30 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

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Article

S.C.L. Koh and A. Gunasekaran

This paper proposes a knowledge management approach for managing uncertainty in manufacturing enterprises.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper proposes a knowledge management approach for managing uncertainty in manufacturing enterprises.

Design/methodology/approach

The knowledge management approach consists of a knowledge‐enriched manufacturing system, which is modelled using SIMAN simulation language and programmed using Visual Basic applications. A knowledge‐based planning module and an execution platform are simulated so that signals could be transferred, and configuration to the planned parameters could be made, in order to minimise variations due to uncertainties. A reference architecture and intelligent agent are created to store tacit knowledge and create explicit knowledge, respectively.

Findings

Manufacturing enterprises should use both tacit knowledge about uncertainties and buffering and dampening techniques, simultaneously with the explicit knowledge that is generated by the intelligent agent, for managing uncertainty. The design of the knowledge management approach enables easy integration with material requirements planning, manufacturing resource planning or enterprise resource planning systems, and complements with the adoption of advanced technology.

Originality/value

A new concept – management by valued‐added urgency, emerges that underpins the knowledge management approach. It is grounded from the previous literature on managing uncertainty classified into: masking approach; standardising approach; prioritising approach; and optimising approach and extended Westbrook's priority management theory. This concept focuses selectively on value‐added changes that need to be made to counteract variations caused by significant uncertainty.

Details

Industrial Management & Data Systems, vol. 106 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-5577

Keywords

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