Smart Systems (SS) are being seen as an approach towards achieving significant improvements in manufacturing productivity. However, there is little evidence to indicate whether UK manufacturing SMEs are prepared for the implementation of such systems. The purpose of this research is to explore the applicability of Smart Systems in UK manufacturing SMEs, and to identify the key priority areas and improvement levers for the implementation of such systems. A two-stage research approach is adopted that includes a questionnaire and, visits to 36 manufacturing SMEs. The questionnaire and interviews are guided by the development and application of a unique measuring instrument developed by the authors for this study that focusses upon measuring the preparedness of companies towards implementing Smart Systems. This tool enabled the research team to identify a number of key issues and suggests that the current turbulence in the industry could be bringing manufacturing SMEs closer to the adoption of such systems.
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