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Company size and the adoption of manufacturing technology
Increasing competition from globalisation, rapid improvements in technology and environmental requirements have led many manufacturing firms to adopt advanced manufacturing technologies to remain competitive. Smaller enterprises can compete successfully with large companies through operations capabilities embedded in people and operating systems. They face various constraints including lack of resources and experience, but their small size can bestow advantages in implementing changes because they have fewer layers of bureaucracy and are more flexible. To explore how well SMEs are adopting manufacturing technologies, this paper compares the past use, payoffs and expected future use by large firms and SMEs of a range of advanced manufacturing technologies and improvement programs as reported by manufacturing managers in a global survey. The analysis of data from 632 firms from both OECD and non-OECD countries indicates that in general, SMEs have used advanced technologies less than larger firms in the past and received a lower payoff. They also expect to use such these technologies less in the future.