Keywords: technology management, technological innovation, Japan, USA
A comparison of US and Japanese technology management and innovation
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have re-emerged as an important part of modem economies, because of their flexibility and innovative ability. We undertook research to understand how US and Japanese manufacturing SMEs develop and implement new technologies, with emphasis on their external diffusion linkages. We specifically compared the sources and utilisation of new technologies by SMEs and their reasons for implementation. Sources of technology include: company affiliations, equipment sales representatives, parts vendors, public assistance programs, etc. The utilisation of new technology includes basic computer equipment, CAD/CAM, CIM, FMS, and others. Reasons for implementing new technologies include lower cost, higher quality, faster product development time, and lower WIP. Surveys were sent to SMEs in Kentucky and Tennessee and in Japan in seven major industrial groups. In this article, we discuss and contrast these US vs. Japanese responses.