Adopting additive manufacturing in SMEs: Exploring the challenges and solutions
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › Scientific › peer-review
|Number of pages||21|
|Journal||Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management|
|Early online date||Jun 2018|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2018|
|Publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
Design/methodology/approach: An exploratory interview-based research design is used. Seventeen interviews were conducted and analyzed in four types of SMEs in their specific positions in AM supply chains. The challenges of adopting AM were mapped, and actions to promote AM adoption were identified.
Findings: SMEs in different supply chain positions experience different challenges when adopting AM. Strategic and operative actions are suggested as key solutions to overcome the challenges. The benefits of AM on a large scale will be achieved only if the broader supply chain adopts AM technology and experiences its benefits.
Research limitations/implications: The research is limited by its single-country context, its focus on SMEs, and the selection of early-phase AM adopter firms. The findings imply a need to understand AM adoption as a shared concern and systemic innovation in the supply chain, instead of just a firm-specific implementation task.
Practical implications: The findings offer a framework for categorizing AM adoption challenges and propose ways to overcome the challenges of adoption.
Originality/value: The study reveals that AM adoption is not only a technology issue, but an issue of strategic, organizational and operational challenges across the supply chain. It shows that when adopting AM, SMEs face particular challenges and require specific solutions according to their supply chain position.