This paper examines the competitive characteristics of U.S. manufacturers in the machine tool (MT) industry. After several decades of decline, this industry has recently shown signs of a modest but sustained recovery. Empirical evidence from a national survey of 104 MT producers suggests that the revival of this sector has been driven by a combination of factors, including renewed export involvement, improved customer support, and better product design. Although most MT companies are small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the survey data show that very small SMEs are poorly represented in the recovery thrust of the industry as a whole. Our principal conclusion is that the MT industry has been following an export-led path toward stabilization, but that certain types of small producers are unlikely to thrive for very long. The most serious problems facing small producers include shrinking local markets, import competition, shortages of skilled labor, and cyclical demand.
Small Business Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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