IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Manufacturing Industry – Coping with Challenges

Listed author(s):
  • David J. Dingli

    (Assistant Professor Operations Management, Maastricht School of Management)

Registered author(s):

    The perception of many people who live in the developed economies of Europe and America are often heard saying that the days of manufacturing are numbered in these countries and that China is the new “factory of the world”. This paper demonstrates how far from reality such a broad sweeping statement is. Manufacturing in developed economies is still flourishing and there is still scope to maintain and sometimes to bring back manufacturing to these parts of the world. Indeed, the landscape has changed; the types of industries, technologies, capabilities and manufacturing methodologies have been totally transformed over the years and now display high levels of sophistication. What has not changed is that the majority of companies around the world are still Small & Medium (SME) sized firms. The need for co-operation and collaboration has never been more needed than it is now as at individual firm level most SMEs do not possess all the resources and capabilities necessary to compete internationally. New challenges have also emerged. Indeed, the newly developing nations such as China, India and Korea have demonstrated a fast catch up capability. Competition is now global, greatly assisted by the revolutions undertaken in the communications and transportation sectors. Companies have also gone global through distributed organizations. The paper reviews current literature regarding trends and challenges in manufacturing and will illustrate how competition has shifted towards intangible assets, the capability to outsource, to innovate and to invest in advanced technologies not only to bring costs down but to enhance quality, cope with mass customization and develop the capability to produce high value added sophisticated products. Supply chains also form a new frontier to achieve competitive advantage and an area where competencies are being built. Malta is no exception. Being part of the European Union, and facing ever rising costs and global competition, manufacturing has shifted from low level labour intensive industries to more sophisticated, high technology companies within the pharmaceutical, electronics and medical products sectors among others. The total number of people employed in manufacturing has indeed reduced due to increased productivity of the manufacturing processes being deployed. The challenges to develop manufacturing capabilities and competencies remain as they have always been; central to competitive advantage. The change that has taken place is that many new manufacturing competencies had not traditionally been viewed as part of the manufacturing paradigm. The scope of the competency base has grown. Manufacturing companies have taken advantage of the globalization of industries by sourcing and producing where the highest competitive advantages can be reaped.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2012
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Maastricht School of Management in its series Working Papers with number 2012/05.

    in new window

    Length: 47 pages
    Date of creation: Apr 2012
    Handle: RePEc:msm:wpaper:2012/05
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    P.O. Box 1203, 6201 BE Maastricht

    Phone: +31 43 387 08 08
    Fax: +31 43 387 08 00
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Sergey Filippov & Geert Duysters, 2011. "Competence-building in foreign subsidiaries: The case of new EU member states," Journal of East European Management Studies, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 16(4), pages 286-314.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:msm:wpaper:2012/05. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Maud de By)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.