Motivating Growth in Low-tech Manufacturing Industries
A Case Study of the Israeli Footwear Industry
Keywords:New Product Development Innovation, Design Management, Sustainable Development, Open Innovation, System Design
Intensive manual labor enterprises in the developed world face challenges competing with products imported from countries where manufacturing costs are low. This reduces the volume of domestic production and leads to rapid loss of knowledge and experience in production processes. This study focuses on the Israeli footwear industry as a case study. Qualitative methodologies were applied, including in-depth interviews and field observations. A literature review on previous research, and contemporary trends was conducted. The field research examines challenges along the value chain in small factories. It finds that mass production paradigms impose a decentralized process between designers and manufacturers and therefore do not leverage local potential into a sustainable competitive advantage for small factories. The proposed solution is a digital and technological platform for small manufacturing plants. The platform mediates and designs the connections between production, technology, and design and enables the creation of a joint R&D system.