Operations Management Activities of Small, High Growth Electronics Firms

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OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES OF SMALL, HIGH GROWTH ELECTRONICS FIRMS In a relatively short period of time the Japanese have been able to produce higher quality products that are more reliable and cost less than many competing products manufactured throughout the world. Their ability to accomplish this task has been attributed to their precise utilization of various operations management activities, along with human resource development in the manufacturing segment of their organizations. If the intensive level of global competition brought about by the Japanese has highlighted one thing for American manufacturers, it is the importance of operations management activities in the competitive success of the firm. A number of writers have indicated that systematic participation in typical operations management activities may enable a firm to produce a realible, quality product at a competitive price.(1,2) However, most previous research in operations management has concerned itself with small-scale problems within the context of large firms.(3,4) This unduly restrictive focus has not provided the data to develop the strong conceptual framework needed to identify the interrelationships and impact of operations management on the total organization.(5) Thus, there is a general lack of system-wide research in operations management. The purpose of this article are: (1) to determine if systematic participation in commonly recognized operations management activities has an impact on a firm's performance; (2) to explore the extent of this participation in a dynamic small business manufacturing environment; and (3) to correct some of the methodological shortcomings of past system-wide research on operations management and financial performance. Thus, this research attempts simultaneously to address three of the major deficiencies in the operations management body of knowledge. Utilization of a small business environment allows a number of factors causing significant problems in undertaking meaningful empirical research in large organizations to be overcome. These factors include: 1. Frequent lack of uniformity with

regard to process technology,
organization structure, and strategy
in large businesses in similar
2. The inability to obtain meaningful
financial and other performance
3. The nature and complexity of
large organizations that make
the conclusions of numerous research
efforts difficult to validate
and/or replicate.
4. Poor experimental design that
has resulted in the use of weak or
inappropriate statistical procedures
to test hypothetical constructs.
5. Relatively non-robust statistical
procedures that are generally
required due to limited sample
It appears that most of these factors exist primarily because of the heterogeneity of large businesses. To obtain a large number of homogeneous firms it seems logical to investigate the small business environment. (Approximately 95 percent of all business can be classified as small businesses.) The process of identifying homogeneous firms may be facilitated by enlisting the aid of a professional business or trade association. RESEARCH IN

Research in operations management addressed specifically to small business has been relatively sparse. Reuter investigated the utilization of specific operations management techniques in various size businesses, including small firms.(7) Studies in inventory management and control have been undertaken by Davis and Whybark(8) and Fuerst.(9) The use of forecasting systems and probabilistic forecasting in small businesses has been treated in a paper by Anderson.(10) Forecasting in the development of strategic plans for small business has been addressed by Robinson.(11) Covey identified the special set of problems encountered when implementing a manufacturing information system in small businesses.(12) Location decision criteria utilized by high technology firms were investigated by...
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