Small and medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the building blocks of development of any country . While traditionally SMEs have come into existence as cost optimisers for Big Enterprises , over the years they have become important partners in the progress of any Enterprise in view of some innate strengths by their very nature - better / faster breeders of Innovation/Productivity /creativity , faster response , lower cost / cycle time , better flexibility offered to end consumer /customer - big or small etc .
ERA OF GLOBALISATION / BUSINESS PROCESS INTEGRATION / TECHNOLOGY
As the Enterprises are getting more globalised , Technology becomes key to Competitiveness . As Technology becomes the biggest value adder and /or enhancer , SMEs need to get integrated into the Eco-system of Enterprises , Markets , Supply Chains , Technology and Customers /Consumers .
There is a general feeling that SMEs tend to lag behind in this integration process especially adaptation to ever changing Technology / Business Processes
CASE FOR SMES IN ENGINEERING INDUSTRIES
SMEs are a life line for Engineering Industries , comprising a very wide spectrum - Capital Goods , Energy & Power Industries , Mining Equipment , Infrastructure , Automobile , Defence , Aero-Space etc . There is a wide range of Products , Systems and Services offered by the Engineering Industry . The Business Profiles of many companies represents a mix of Engineering , Manufacturing , Construction , Services etc . SMEs play a very important role in supporting the Engineering Industry at every stage of the business - Product Development , Manufacture , Installation & Commissioning , After Market Service etc
SMEs serving the Engineering Industries many times are structured to replicate the complexities of the Enterprises they serve-
✦ Engineering of Products /Systems may undergo some or substantial changes as the Project progresses
✦ Procurement of Material with test protocols and traceability
✦ Development of Manufacturing process plans
✦ First piece qualification , prove out of process
✦ Engineering and manufacture of Tools , fixtures
✦ Quality Plans , In process quality checks
✦ Final testing if required
✦ Performance validation
✦ Warranty Obligations linked to end Project completion spanning a few years
✦ Some of the processes requiring Customer Approval - ex Final specification , design , quality plan , test protocol etc
✦ Interface Engineering /manufacturing issues - one SME ’s Product /component may need to be redesigned /manufactured suiting the possible system changes , the matching requirements for some other product / component etc
The Material, Production planning become complex in view of unpredictable product mix , customised engineering, planning and manufacturing . It is always a challenge to ensure optimum capacity utilisation with customer expectations. Many times SMEs are not even sure whether they have the required resources to meet the customer commitments as per schedule
When it comes to competitiveness, integrated real time information is the key: be it tracking the customer orders / material , stage of production, status of customer approvals , shipments to customer , billing or cash realization , in process rejection , corrective /preventive actions , customer complaints etc .There is not much difference between big Enterprises and SMEs .
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By JUSTPRO, Microsoft Partner & Solutions Provider, www.justprogroup.com