The digitalization of manufacturing: investigating the impact of production environment and company size
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Manufacturing Technology Management. 2020, . 10.1108/JMTM-05-2019-0174
Purpose While manufacturing digitalization is currently considered an important enabler of competitive advantage, its applicability across the industrial spectrum is unclear. This paper aims to investigate the relationship between the use of digital technologies and different production environments and company sizes. The focus is on three aspects of digitalization: shop floor digitalization, technologies for vertical and horizontal integration and organizational IT competence. Design/methodology/approach This study is based on data gathered from a survey questionnaire sent to 212 Norwegian manufacturing companies. To test the formulated hypotheses, the two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) method was used. Findings This study confirmed that large enterprises (LEs) have a significantly higher level of shop floor digitalization and organizational IT competence than small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Regarding the difference between production environments, no statistically significant difference in the implementation level of the investigated digitalization aspects could be found. Originality/value To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is one of the first studies to investigate differences in the adoption of digital technologies between different groups of production environments. This study also provides updated findings related to the relationship between digitalization and company size. The findings presented in this paper provide important insights into directing future research efforts to assist environments that are currently lagging behind in their digital transformation.