Showing posts with label SME. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SME. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Strengths and Weaknesses of Small & Medium Businesses on the Global Supply Chain

Moving products from one area of the globe to another in an efficient manner is difficult. Ensure that inventory is accurate and supplies arrive when needed is also difficult. Small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) often lack the competence and skill to manage their supply chains well.  A study Dr. by Mohd Rahman discusses some of the challenges in supply chain management (SCM) faced by small businesses in Malaysia. 

A few decades ago Malaysia was an agricultural center but grew to prominence in the business world.  In 2005, approximately 29.6% of all companies were geared toward manufacturing exports. SME’s are 92% of registered companies and constitute 90% of manufacturing companies that contribute to 65% of employment. SMEs within Malaysia provide a strong case study of the difficulties SMEs have with SCM.

SMEs are often a strong catalyst for growth when they can effectively obtain resources and convert those resources to export products. Despite their benefits, many SMEs have a hard time achieving growth due to limitations on resources and knowledge. Understanding their strengths and weaknesses helps in tackling limitations to create a stronger business environment. 

Advantages of SMEs:

-Flat structure and short decision making that allows companies to adjust quickly.
-Flexible culture adaptable to change.
-Chances of improved success with organic vs. bureaucratic culture.
-Higher levels of innovative activities.

Disadvantages of SMEs:

 -Lack of skills and knowledge.
-Lack of financial resources.
-Owner controlling everything.
-Improper systems and processes.

The study indicated that SMEs are limited by both internal and external environmental issues. Some of these issues include cooperation with other parties in the supply chain, management supports and data transformation.  Such businesses don’t often cooperate for mutual benefit, have enough management knowledge to run certain programs effectively and lack acute ability to understand and use data.  The study found that the top five SMC dysfunctions in SMEs are 39% inefficient inventory management, 30% ignoring uncertainties in the supply chain, 26% incorrect inventory assessments, 26% lack of communication, 23% inaccurate use of data.

Rahman, M. (2012). The effective implementation of global supply chain management in small to medium-sized companies in Malaysia: An empirical study. International Journal of Management, 29 (3).

Sunday, June 15, 2014

How Knowledge and Technology Improves Small Business?

The Internet has contributed to globalization while small and medium (SME) businesses are finding the ability to connect with worldwide customers and increase revenues. Research by Vanyushyn, et. al. (2011) discussed the implementation of Internet technology for either structural improvements or marketing enhancements. SME adoption of new technology is important for their overall growth and innovative contribution to economic development.

The Internet is reducing borders and spreading new technologies that create shifts in global structure (Kemeny, 2011). As information spreads, cultures change, businesses connect together, and commerce adjusts it develops a wider marketplace. A small business can be located in the U.S. but have customers from nearly any other place on the globe. Such changes were not possible a few decades ago.

New information technology increases interaction between local governments, large corporations, and international organizations while SMEs improve upon their international competitiveness (Ruzzier at. al., 2006).  Because business is less restricted to geography than it was in the past small businesses can find ways of filling gaps and services in an international market while still being grounded in their local communities.

SMEs are also a major catalyst to local and national economic growth. A report by the European Commission (2011) found that “European SMEs are a major source of job creation: More than 50% of new jobs derive from a group of fast growing companies representing 4% of the total number of European SMEs. In addition, almost half of the two million industrial SMEs have recently introduced innovations to the markets.” Such businesses improve upon the employment market and develop new technologies.

To be successful in an ever changing market businesses must innovate and continue to innovate when new challenges present themselves. Innovative behavior is directly related to the performance of innovation by the adaption or creation of new technology, products and/or processes. The adoption and integration process becomes a new source of competitive advantage for both the business and the nation.

Innovation is not only within the realm of technology but also includes the gathering of knowledge to create change. Innovative change comprises proposing new questions, developing new skills, creating technological advantages, or finding new ways of resolving problems (Comison-Zornoza, et. al., 2004). Innovation is a process of learning about new competencies and technologies that enhance performance and then integrating them into processes for higher organizational effectiveness.

The authors studied 1.) the sequence of steps in the adoptive process, and 2.) the evaluation of the contribution of the Internet on international competitiveness. They found that over time new technologies reduce cost, develop skilled specialists and improve productivity. Small firm innovation takes on more of a refinement, production, implementation, and execution of new online channels. SME can integrate new technologies through refinement of process that are realized in more effective production and performance.

Camison-Zornoza, C., et. al. (2004). A Meta-Analysis of Innovation and Organizational Size. Organization Studies, 25, 331–361.

European Commission (2011). Assessing the performance of European SMEs. Enterprise & Industry Online Magazine.

Kemeny, T. (2011). Are International Technology Gaps Growing or Shrinking in the Age of Globalization?. Journal of Economic Geography, 11, 1-35.

Ruzzier, M., et. al. (2006). SME Internationalization Research: Past, Present, and Future. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 13, 476-497.

Vanyushyn, V. et. al. (2011). New business models for international performance-a longitudinal study of Internet and marketing. ICSB World Conference Proceedings: 1-17. Washington: International Council for Small Business (ICSB).