KEY RECOMMENDATION 8

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Assist SMEs with Digital Transformation

Assist SMEs with Digital Transformation

Small-and-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are a vital part of the manufacturing paradigm and account for a significant number of manufacturing business around the world. As digital technologies are now at the forefront of manufacturing practices and have become the most important enabler for competitiveness, SMEs need more assistance in this area. As SMEs have historically struggled with technological adoption as compared with large multi-national companies, it is imperative that the manufacturing community assist SMEs with the new age of digital transformation. 

It is key to expose SMEs to new technologies and provide them with information regarding technological adoption and integration. With the vast amount of technology available, these tasks are often daunting to smaller companies as they do not have the readily available resources as many large manufacturing organisations do. Therefore, it is important to create conditions and tools for clustering and knowledge sharing among SMEs. By promoting knowledge sharing, trust will be fostered among SMEs and entry barriers will be lowered for new companies starting the process of digital transformation. 

Policymakers are encouraged to utilise national innovation funds to create information and competence centres to become a central place for exchange of information, new learning opportunities, technology transfer, new technology testing, and increasing technological readiness. By having information and assistance readily available to SMEs, it is easier to understand and promote technological adoption. 

Further, it is useful to benchmark companies in order to create a competitive atmosphere that will inspire organisations, particularly SMEs, to engage in digital transformation. By creating a competitive sector, more organisations will be encouraged to explore digital transformation and adopt new technologies. 

In addition, it is recommended to have opportunities for international collaboration in order to identify megatrends that are shaping the future of SMEs and the entire manufacturing sector. By allowing for opportunities to engage in knowledge sharing and collaboration, SMEs will be able to engage on a global arena to understand later implement technological innovations that are crucial to global relevance. 

Finally, it is key to promote knowledge of financial information and support in order to make funding opportunities more visible to SMEs. Often public bodies have opportunities for financial incentives or funding for SMEs that are working to implement new digital technologies. Assisting SMEs with digital transformation is key promoting a robust global manufacturing sector. 

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