Development of Products and Processes Through Technology and Innovative Design Principles: Contribution for Modernization of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Development of Products and Processes Through Technology and Innovative Design Principles: Contribution for Modernization of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Maria João Félix, Gilberto Santos
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3628-5.ch002
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In this chapter an approach to the concept of value creation is done, placing some working companies in Portugal and comparing them from the received gains point of view. A goal of this work is to contribute to the new perspective of modernization of Portuguese manufacturing SMEs, evaluating innovation through technology and design and its contribution to the improvement of integrated development of products and manufacturing processes, as well as to demonstrate how design thinking is a useful tool in manufacturing engineering. Many examples of products that used technology and design “made in Portugal” are given, as well as of the way the Portuguese economy is growing in that way, resolving simultaneously the problem of the external deficit and the budget deficit. With these results, it was possible to understand where the Portuguese SMEs, which are mostly manufacturing SMEs, stand towards innovation through technology and design.
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Companies exist to offer products and/or services, with their inherent quality brand in order to maximize the creation of value to shareholders and Stakeholders (Araújo, Santos, da Costa, & Sá, 2019);(Laura Bravi, Murmura, & Santos, 2019); (Sá, Amaral, Barreto, Carvalho, & Gilberto, 2019). Many companies integrate the Quality Management System with the Environmental Management System and the Health and Safety at Work Management System (Gonçalves, Sá, Santos, & Gonçalves, 2019) seeking to simplify and reduce costs related to its Management Systems (Gilberto Santos, Mendes, & Barbosa, 2011); (César, Barbosa;, Oliveira;, & Santos, 2018); (Ribeiro, Santos, Rebelo, & Silva, 2017); (Talapatra, Santos, Uddin, & Carvalho, 2019); (D. Santos, Ferreira Rebelo, Doiro, & Santos, 2017). Nowadays, the market is global and the context in which businesses are developed is characterized by a strong competition and quick changes (L Bravi, Murmura, & Santos, 2017); (Doiro, Fernández, Félix, & Santos, 2017). Knowledge constitutes the base of the creation of wealth in companies. On the other hand, Scientific Research and Technological Development are the main sources to create this knowledge. It is through ideas, many times from Scientific Knowledge (Science), that the Technological Development (Technology) is initiated and the consequent Innovation achieved. With good ideas, organizations can better convert the knowledge into innovative products and/or services with utility, quality and, increase the value added for the companies and societies, towards sustainable development (Santos et al., 2019). The importance of the connection between Design and industry and therefore on the manufacture of new products was underlined in Crawford work (Crawford, 2012). He stated that the creative process was strictly connected to Innovation, which is going to begin a modernization process, which companies really need for their success. However, it is apparent that despite this evidence, Design skills are often marginalized in Small and Medium-size Enterprises (SMEs) (Moultrie, Clarkson, & Probert, 2007). And despite verifying that nowadays, the connection of Design with manufacturing processes is a key factor to the success of companies, many Portuguese companies, and another companies in Developing Countries, haven´t convinced themselves of its advantages yet, because the majority of Portuguese SMEs only produce products that other countries Design/conceive, namely multinationals based in G7 countries. Hence, Design has been away from most of the Portuguese SMEs, being still understood by entrepreneurs and managers as a simple tool to make products more attractive, a vehicle to lure consumers, supported by the images used in the promotion of the activity.

There is still a fake idea about the high costs of the investment in Design, it is seen as an elitist investment, keeping the productive practices associated to the copy, an imitation of the past. This way, it is seen that most designers work in outsourcing (Shy & Stenbacka, 2003) in few and isolated works, without a strong connection to the business world and a continuous work with the SMEs. This problematic situation has as consequences the inadequate implementation of growing strategies by the entrepreneurs, which interferes with the modernization of companies. Design skills have the intention to improve products, services and systems that we can consider manufacturing engineering, specifically in what concerns Innovation. Thus, through its techniques and means the Design develops, not only the shape and function, but also the usage value of the product(Santos et al., 2018a).

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