Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play an important role in modern economies because of their flexibility and ability to innovate. In nearly every country, SMEs play a significant role in providing employment opportunities and supporting large scale manufacturing firms. However, there are not many studies reported in the literature that deal with productivity problems in SMEs. Considering the importance of SMEs, the experiences of a small company engaged in continuous improvement and a related conceptual model are discussed here to highlight how productivity can be improved with limited resources. The case study presented in this paper was conducted at Valeo; a French company located in England that produces wiper systems for the automotive industry in the UK. The wiper systems include containers, pumps, jets and hoses. Valeo produces a wide variety of low volume parts for various customers in a job shop environment. The objective of the project was to improve productivity in two cells of the company, namely the Honda/Rover cell and the headlamp cleaning cell. Next, the aim was to identify potential areas for cost savings resulting from productivity gains. Finally, implementation issues associated with productivity improvement strategies in a small company are discussed.
International Journal of Operations & Production Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 1, 2000
Keywords: Productivity improvement; Small‐to‐medium‐sized enterprises; Case studies