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This paper examines how small and medium enterprises (SMEs) configure their operations on the global scale and how this affects their home bases in terms of operations requirements and priorities. In order to relate SMEs’ offshoring initiatives with their operations configuration attributes, we draw on the operations networks literature and survey responses from 675 Danish and 410 Swedish companies. On the basis of the survey results, we find that although the SMEs are less experienced and less advanced in their offshoring ventures than large companies, they are building dispersed operations networks. Although still in their infancy, these networks are, as expected, creating new demands for their home bases in terms of demands for formalisation of work processes, systems development and managerial capability related to orchestrating operations across national borders, but more fundamentally, it also challenges the strategic foundations of the home base. Based on these observations, we discuss future global operations management challenges, practices and priorities of SMEs.
- offshoring; operations configuration; SMEs; survey