InImpact: The Journal of Innovation Impact

Publisher Future Technology Press
Vol. 8 No. 2 KES Transactions on SDM II - Sustainable Design and Manufacturing 2015
Volume Editors KES International
Journal ISSN 2051-6002
Article TitleAchieving Sustainability in Small to Medium sized Manufacturing Enterprises through Educational Awareness
Primary AuthorMichael Packianather, Cardiff University
Other Author(s) Alan Davies; John White; Sajith Soman
Pages 317 - 336
Article ID sdm15-034
Publication Date 02-May-16

Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) are widely accepted as being the driving force behind most of the economies in the world. They play a vital part in every country creating jobs, innovating new products and keeping markets both diverse and competitive. Small companies are equally important in both developed and developing countries for they provide opportunities for people of talent to use their innovative skills to achieve profitability and growth for a firm while reducing both unemployment and poverty. In the UK, although there are nearly four and a half million SMEs, around 50% of those set up each year will go out of business after only four years of trading. Why this should be so and what can be done about it, is an important question to answer and is the underlying reason for conducting this study. Also, a global attempt to be environmentally sustainable can never be achieved without the active participation of SMEs considering the scale of them present in any country. Economic sustainability of SMEs is vital for growth and environmental sustainability of SMEs contributes towards a greener future. In effect this inquiry attempts to identify those common factors which are linked to the lack of sustainability (both economic and environmental) in manufacturing SMEs and to see if these elements can be countered via the process of education. The results of the investigation show that one important reason for the demise of small companies is the lack of management and or engineering skills especially in manufacturing SMEs. Consequently such firms are handicapped in their ability to generate capital, market sustainable innovative products and develop environmentally friendly manufacturing systems. As a consequence of this finding an outline is presented here of the key stewardship skills required by managers in manufacturing SMEs and how these ought to be provided in undergraduate engineering degree schemes.

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Remarks Paper presented at KES International Conference on Sustainable Design and Manufacturing, 12-14 April 2015
First date of publication in InImpact: 1 December 2015