Survey of Innovation in the Assembly-type and Related Industries, 2013
Summary of Main Findings
- Of the total 50 establishments that responded to the survey, 15 (30%) were between 10 - 19 and 14 (28%) were 20 - 29 years of age.
- A substantial percentage (46%) of establishments employed less than 10 persons while 18% employed between 10 - 19 persons.
- Overall, the survey results show that two-fifths (42%) of the establishments were engaged in manufacture of all other metal products and 26% in metal building materials.
- Most of the responding establishments (92%) in the Assembly-type and related industries were local and privately owned; 8% of manufacturers of building materials and one
(50%) of the two producers of metal containers were wholly owned by a foreign corporation.
- Approximately, two-thirds (64%) of the establishments overall, and 50% and more by various sub-sectors reported no change in employment between 2011 and 2012.
- The majority of establishments (74%) employed no engineers. However, one-third (33%) of the establishments in each of the manufacture of metal furniture
and electrical/electronic items employed seven and eight engineers respectively.
- Sales in the Assembly-type and related industries ranged from less than $1m to over $20m in 2012. One-third (34%) of the establishments reported sales of less than
$1m while 28% recorded sales between $1m -$5m in 2012. Approximately one-fifth (18%) of the establishments indicated that sales were over $20m. By industry, the data
reveal that a substantial percentage of establishments in boat building and ship repair (67%), assembly of appliances (50%) and production of all other metal products
(43%) generated less than $1m in sales revenue. However, a half of the establishments in assembly of appliances (50%) and manufacture of metal containers (50%) recorded
sales in excess of $20m as did a third of the establishments in assembly or manufacture of electrical/electronic items (33%) and metal building materials (31%).
- Over a third (36%) of the respondents, especially those in production of metal furniture (67%), experienced a growth in sales between 2011 and 2012 while a similar
percentage (36%) recorded decreases and 28% indicated no change in sales.
- Over a half (54%) of the establishments in the Assembly-type and related industries sub-sector exported in 2012.
- Of the 27 establishments that exported in 2012, 48% exported less than $1m while 26% exported between $1m - $5m, 15% between $6m - $10m and 7% between $11m - $50m.
Establishments in the production of metal building materials (25%) reported exports valued between $11m - $50m.
- A substantial percentage (48%) of the respondents showed declines in export sales over the period, 2011 - 2012 while 22% registered increases and 30% experienced no change.
The establishments in electrical/electronic items and boat building and ship repairs together with the vast majority in metal building materials (75%) reported decreases in export
sales between 2011 and 2012.
- Three-quarters (74%) of the establishments that exported reported exports of between 1-25% of total sales and 22% indicated exports to total revenue in the range of 26-50%
in 2012. By sub-sectors, the data reveal that a half or more of the establishments in all sub-sectors except boat building and ship repairs recorded exports of between 1-25% of
total sales. In addition, both respondents (100%) in boat building and ship repairs reported exports to total sales in the range of 26-50% and only one (13%) establishment in
manufacture of metal building materials indicated exports to total sales of over 50%.
- The percentage of establishments in the Assembly-type and related industries sub-sector engaged in diffusion was not significant as revealed by the indicators of licensing,
sub-contracting and outsourcing. Overall, 6% of establishments had licensing contract for product or process technology, one-fifth (20%) stated that they were sub-contracting and
12% were outsourcing.
- Two-fifths (40%) of the establishments purchased new machinery and equipment during the period 2011 - 2012. Both producers (100%) of metal containers purchased new machinery
and equipment followed by manufacture of all other metal products (48%) and metal building materials (39%). Of the 20 establishments that purchased new machinery and equipment,
45% acquired such capital goods from foreign markets, one-quarter (25%) from local suppliers and 30% from both local and foreign markets.
- In general, the majority of establishments in the Assembly-type and related industries of manufacturing was not engaged in product or process innovation in 2011 - 2012.
Of the 50 establishments that responded to the survey, 36% had improved an existing product and, 24% and 22% developed and introduced new products respectively. In the case of
process innovation 36% had improved an existing process, 24% developed or modified an existing process and 20% introduced a new process
- In terms of organisational innovation a relatively large percentage of respondents had introduced/improved maintenance routines and systems (44%) and introduced/expanded in-house
training programme (40%). Approximately a third of the establishments had introduced/improved quality assurance systems (36%), introduced changes in management systems and techniques
(34%) and introduced/improved waste management procedures (34%). In addition, over a quarter of the respondents had improved plant layout (28%) and 26% implemented major changes in
organisational strategy and structure.
- Marketing innovation included the implementation of marketing methods and the development of new markets at home and abroad. Overall, most establishments from the Assembly-type
and related industries were not engaged in these innovative activities during 2011 - 2012. Twenty-eight percent (28%) of the establishments introduced new marketing techniques,
while 8% and 14% developed new markets at home and abroad respectively.
Driving Forces and Obstacles to Innovation
- A substantial percentage of respondents rated improving customer satisfaction (48%), product quality (42%) and productivity (38%) as very important reasons for innovating.
Reducing production costs (40%) and improving working conditions (32%) were also identified as important. The lowest rating was assigned to dealing with new competitors in exports,
in that 22% of the respondents indicated that it was not important.
- In the Assembly-type and related industries, the main obstacle to innovation was identified as the high cost of the innovation project, which a quarter (24%) of the respondents
stated to be very significant. Approximately one-fifth of the respondents rated domestic economic conditions (20%), lack of financing (18%), lack of skilled/qualified personnel (18%)
and weak customer demand (18%) also as very significant obstacles to innovation. A half or more of the respondents indicated that long administrative/approval process within the firm
(54%), lack of information on technology itself (52%), lack of external technical support (52%) and legislation (50%) were not relevant/appropriate.
Linkages and Collaboration
- The majority of respondents identified their establishments (56%) and customers (46%) as very important sources of information for innovation. A substantial percentage of
respondents did not use parent firms (52%), client firms (42%), professional journals and trade publications (42%), education and research institutes (42%), government or public
research institutes (40%), consultancy firms (36%), and fairs, exhibitions and conferences (32%) as sources of information on innovation.
- Customers (40%) were identified as the major source of information on product innovation followed by suppliers (24%) and their establishments (20%). In addition, establishments
(38%) and suppliers (22%) were seen as the main sources of information on process innovation. With respect to marketing innovation, one-fifth of the respondents used their establishments
(22%) and business and industry associations (20%). A quarter (26%) of the respondents accessed information on management innovation within their establishments.
- In general, most establishments in the industry were not engaged in co-operative and collaborative arrangements as a means of diffusion. One-fifth of the establishments had
co-operative and collaborative arrangements with customers (20%) and suppliers (18%) while a similar percentage (18%) cited accessing new markets as the reason for collaboration.
Impact of Innovation on Key Performance Indicators
- A substantial percentage of respondents indicated that innovation resulted in increased productivity (46%), competitiveness (38%) and service quality (38%). A quarter or more of
the respondents recorded increases in product differentiation (36%), cash flow (30%), compliance with regulations (30%), profitability (28%), positive environmental impact (28%) and
market share (24%). A relatively large proportion of respondents experienced no change in employment (38%), export growth (28%) and positive environmental impact (28%).
Research and Development
- The survey reveals that only 10% had undertaken research and development activities. Two (4%) establishments utilised trademarks to protect intellectual property.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
- The majority (92%) of respondents, including all sub-sectors, utilised the Internet mainly for email (92%) and searches on the World Wide Web (82%). A half (54%)
of the respondents used the Internet for advertising through a home page and two-fifths (40%) for e-commerce.
Government Support Programmes
- Government support programmes for innovation, found inapplicable by 30%, were not accessed by any of the responding establishments of the sub-sectors.