Investigating Patterns of Automation and Growth Performance among Low Level Users of Manufacturing Automation

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    Literature on advanced manufacturing technology (AMT) promotes technology adoption as a means for achieving competitive advantages because adoption rates generally correlate positively with various aspects of operational and organizational performance and for SMEs also with annual sales turnover. However, the cross sectional nature of most studies prohibits analysis of direction; is growth and economic performance the driver of manufacturing technology investment or vice versa. Longitudinal data is required to study this.
    The present study analyses panel data obtained using a retrospective survey instrument with a new, innovative way of characterizing and measuring automation levels in the production process. The survey data is merged with elaborate Danish register data on economic performance, market, and worker characteristics. The data is available from 2000 to 2010 across a broad range of manufacturing industries (not only metal) and across all firm sizes in the Danish industry. This allows for an analysis of a heterogeneous group of firms in a high cost setting where the pressure for cost cutting measures such as automation, outsourcing, or efficiency improvement is generally high.
    In the research presented here, we focus on the set of companies with low levels of manufacturing automation in 2005. Companies within this group develop in different ways over the subsequent 5 years. As a first exploratory investigation of these developments, we block the companies into movers and non-movers; companies that develop their level of automation further and companies that remain on the 2005 level up until 2010. We compare the presence of drivers and enablers in the 5-year period leading up to 2005 and investigate patterns in growth performance on a range of economic indicators between the two groups over the subsequent 5-year period towards 2010. The analyses of these patterns lead us to conclude that the scales for measuring manufacturing automation contribute with valuable information relevant in distinguishing between efficient and inefficient investments in manufacturing machinery. The identification of distinct growth performance patterns related with manufacturing automation compared to other types of investments within the varied pool capital equipment may inspire managers to rethink their growth opportunities and levers and learn from low-level automation users
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date24 Feb 2014
    Number of pages13
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2014
    EventEighteenth International Working Seminar on Production Economics - Congress Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
    Duration: 24 Feb 201428 Feb 2014
    Conference number: 18


    ConferenceEighteenth International Working Seminar on Production Economics
    LocationCongress Innsbruck
    Internet address


    Cite this

    Matthiesen, R. V., & Kromann, L. (2014). Investigating Patterns of Automation and Growth Performance among Low Level Users of Manufacturing Automation. Paper presented at Eighteenth International Working Seminar on Production Economics, Innsbruck, Austria.