Angelo Andrico – Alessandro Noci: The Digital Manufacturing Revolution: Empirical Evidences from Case Study

The purpose of this thesis, part of a larger research, was to investigate more deeply, through Case Study methodology, the impact of the digital technologies on (to support) Italian manufacturing firms. In particular, this work has set the achievement of two targets: Confirm the results of the previous research and thicken the literature existence with validations obtained through case study methodology.Creation of a relational matrix STI as a support tool for companies interested in the adoption of digital technologies investigated. The usefulness of the support tool STI is dictated by the need to face the new competitive environment increasingly dynamic and complex, result of globalization and information technology development of the last two decades. In fact, in a globalize market where the information and communication technology allowed an efficiency greater in the dissemination of information, the competitive landscape become characterized by ‘hyper competition’, uncertainty, ambiguity and an increasing number of strategic discontinuities due to the turmoil faced by the companies. In this scenario for the firms becomes increasingly difficult to identify competitors, much less fully analyze them, thus, the managers must be able to think globally but also react quickly and operate in a continuous state of change. Furthermore, the development of computer technology has led the customer to be more demanding during the purchase, continuously searching for products and services sewn specifically to their needs (economical, functional, esthetic, ..). The market has become global, “hypercompetitive”, customer-centric (see Table 42). The main consequences arising on the new business environment are: Knowledge is increasingly fierce and global (in saturated markets); Increases the bargaining power of customers, also intermediate (distributors), who are increasingly demanding service; It is increasingly difficult to maintain competitive advantages of product; The sustainability of products is sought by the customers; In many markets “business to business” we are witnessing a process of concentration of customers, which increases the service needs; New production technologies enable and allow more and more to meet the needs of each user; Growing need to service end customers in most industrialized countries; It increases the importance of niche markets; The customer wants to customize the product to suit their taste. . The Mass Customization aims the production of highly customized products at a reasonable price (at the limit of mass production).. The Long Tail aims storage and distribution of niche products at costs similar to blockbuster products (the LT is related to the MC).. The Servitization aims a total integration of product and service, in packages all in one called PSS – Product Service System. To address these new business paradigms firms must become extreme flexible (production), responsiveness (design and time-to-market), and closely to the customer needs throughout the entire value chain, before, during and after the sale. The role of the digital technologies is to be the elements that enable these required assumptions, through specific benefits obtainable.(In particular, the tern Strategy Innovation-Digital Technology is related to specific potential benefits obtainable). Thus, the tool STI is necessary to support the company to achieve the benefits required, through benchmarking methodology (related to the quadruplet STIB), permitting to reduce the timing and risks in the implementation phase, as well as provide performance indices. Concerning the second target, the confirmation of the results of the previous research, this work has in some instances validated in other partially validated the the starting hypothesis. Confirmation of the previously results. 1 – The digital technologies with the major impact, between those treated in this work, are the 3D printing and the IoT. The data partially confirm the assertion. 3D printing and IoT are the technologies that enable greater benefits on several areas of implementation. 2 – The knowledge and the competence about the digital technologies (treated in this work) are very restricted. The lack of knowledge and core skills is demonstrated by both the totality of implementation approaches top-down, either by the presence of external actors in the implementation phase for almost all cases of study. 3 – Thanks to these technologies, the companies believe that they can improve the quality of products, the level of customer service and responsiveness to the market. While they are least significant benefits related to a reduction of costs. The results confirm that the primary benefits obtained by the investigated technologies, enabling the strategies required by the company, fall in the classes of responsiveness and quality. 4 – The main factor impediment to the spread of new technologies is the lack of specialized professionals. Investment in equipment hardware and software, although significant, it does not take the same specific gravity. No obstacles appear instead the degree of maturity of the technology and the availability of providers to trust. The analysis of the obtained data shows that for the companies investigated, the lack of specific skills and low technology development were The factors impeding of greatest weight; compared to the onerousness of investment or lack of specialized providers. 5 – It is not possible to identify a priori company size and industry sectors excluded (or excludable) by the digital revolution in place. 6 – It is possible to identify drivers endogenous or exogenous through which characterize the context of the case study and identified the relationship Strategy-Innovation-Technology appropriate. 7 – The relationship STI selected is able to profoundly influence the potential benefits obtainable by the implementation of digital technology. The authors have demostrate that the tern STI is strongly related to specific potential benefits obtainable. 8 – The use of benchmarks can facilitate company in decision-making process (choice of implementation). The authors have demonstrated that the use of benchmarking methodology, with leading companies, is able to improve the performances, reducing risks.