Dispersed network manufacturing: Adapting SMEs to compete on the global scale

Rob Dekkers, Hamid Noori, Wing Bun Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose To develop a conceptual framework for a new form of production system unique from many perspectives. The proposed system is based on the creation of a network of plants that are electronically linked so that the participating members focus on their specialized tasks yet also share their manufacturing and production resources to create a loosely structured and flexible enterprise. Design-methodology-approach To introduce dispersed network manufacturing DNM as a new business model, and to discuss dispersed manufacturing network DMN as a possible realization of DNM. To link DMN to complex adaptive systems and to provide a prototype as to how SMEs can form a dynamic and adaptive network to create competitive advantages on both collaborative and individual scales. Findings The notion of DNM advocates a reciprocal bonding among network members but calls for no obligatory egalitarian responsibility to one another. This research shows the feasibility of a network of plants that are electronically linked so that the participating members, spread geographically, focus on their specialized tasks yet also share their manufacturing and production resources to create a loosely structured and flexible enterprise. Research limitations-implications In the DNM universe, because of the network's requirement to re-form itself to the needs of each unique incoming project, SMEs have the ability to rapidly develop and enhance their internal production capabilities. Each new incoming project offers the chance to reaffirm those processes that are highly effective while discarding those that are deemed ill-suited. The DNM world is still in its infancy and many interesting and challenging questions have yet to be investigated empirically or otherwise. Practical implications The new production system discussed in this paper argues for a completely different form of SME collaboration from those already discussed in the literature. Originality-value DNM and DMN are new concepts that are evolving into an innovative production paradigm. It is likely that many companies and many managers have some intuitive grasp of the DNM world and the opportunities provided by forming a DMN. Few, however, might understand them thoroughly. This research provides further knowledge on SMEs DNM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1022-1041
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Manufacturing Technology Management
Volume17
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2006

Keywords

  • Dispersions
  • Manufacturing systems
  • Network
  • Operating systems
  • Small to medium-sized enterprises

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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