Competitive priorities of small manufacturers in Brazil

Thurer, Matthias and Filho, Moacir and Stevenson, Mark and Fredendall, Lawrence (2013) Competitive priorities of small manufacturers in Brazil. Industrial Management and Data Systems, 113 (6). pp. 856-874. ISSN 0263-5577

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the state of small manufacturing companies in Brazil. The paper seeks to identify their competitive priorities based on their recent developments and their anticipated opportunities and challenges. Design/methodology/approach – This is an exploratory study based on semi-structured telephone interviews. The interview guide contained around 30, mainly open-ended questions. Findings – The research both confirms and refutes previous research. It refutes the “traditional view” that small firms are driven by cost, quality, flexibility and delivery only; it supports recent research which has argued that there has been a shift in terms of what competitive priorities are being pursued. More specifically, innovativeness was identified as an important new competitive priority, but there was little evidence in support of other recently proposed priorities like security and sustainability. Research limitations/implications – This study is restricted to one area of Brazil (São Carlos). Further research is therefore necessary to confirm the relevance of the findings to other small firms in other regions, e.g. through a large-scale survey. Originality/value – Much of the available literature focuses on large firms in developed economies, and it assumes operations strategy is built on four “traditional” broad competitive priorities. This study provides insight into the state of small manufacturers in an emerging economy. It identifies innovativeness as a fifth key priority and argues that firms must compete on a blend of outcomes; this adds to the complexity of managerial tasks.

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Journal Article
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Industrial Management and Data Systems
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26 Apr 2013 15:39
Last Modified:
21 Nov 2022 23:45