Int. J. of Process Management and Benchmarking   »   2006 Vol.1, No.2



Title: E-commerce in manufacturing firms: panacea or myth?


Author: Nicholas O'Regan, S. Jaseem Ahmad, David Gallear


Middlesex University Business School, The Burroughs, London NW4 4BT, UK.
Middlesex University Business School, The Burroughs, London NW4 4BT, UK.
Brunel Business School, Brunel University, Uxbridge UB8 3PH, UK


Abstract: E-commerce is increasingly seen as a means towards achieving competitive advantage in today's turbulent environment. In this paper, we examine the degree of emphasis placed on e-commerce by 209 manufacturing firms in the UK. The analysis indicates that less than 40% of SMEs are actively involved in e-commerce – a figure much less than envisioned. However, in addition to their emphasis on e-commerce, these firms significantly differ from firms that so far have not become actively involved in e-commerce. They place a much stronger emphasis on the factors needed to compete, achieve greater overall performance and tend to be more customer orientated. In addition, they also tend to be larger firms rather than firms employing less than 20 people. These findings provide strong encouragement to SME managers to consider an active involvement in e-commerce as a means towards competitive advantage.


Keywords: competitiveness; e-commerce; electronic commerce; small and medium sized firms; SMEs; manufacturing industry; UK; United Kingdom; competitive advantage; organisational strategy.


DOI: 10.1504/IJPMB.2006.009771


Int. J. of Process Management and Benchmarking, 2006 Vol.1, No.2, pp.164 - 175


Available online: 10 May 2006



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