|dc.description.abstract||Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the UK, particularly those in the manufacturing sector, operate in a harsh economic climate. Consequently, many UK manufacturing SMEs are making the transition from contract manufacture to design and manufacture, in order to generate a clear competitive advantage in the international market place. In order to facilitate this change companies often adopt advanced design-led technologies such as computer-aided design (CAD). A case study methodology has been successfully utilised within this research and findings from four companies reported; one longitudinal and three supporting. This work evaluates the impact of these technologies in three primary areas: project lead time; project cost; and product quality.
The findings of this research show a positive impact of design-led technologies upon all three areas within the companies, the greatest impact being observed for product quality.
The results led to the categorisation of the manufacturing scenarios with regard to the overall impact that the design-led technologies had upon them. Three divisions could be identified: major impact, moderate impact; and low impact. The results highlight that management combined with organisational culture within a small manufacturing company affects the success of design-led technologies, and often prevents them being fully utilised.||en_US