Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are widely believed to be the backbone of the world’s economy. In truth, recent research shows that in nearly every industry, including manufacturing, the size of a business doesn’t predict its job creation capabilities as much as its age does. Early stage startups create jobs simply as a function of being startups, but many jobs are lost to small company failures. However, what small companies absolutely excel at is innovation.
Industry journals regularly publish articles about large major manufacturers overcoming cumbersome internal business processes to bring an innovative new product to market quickly and at a fraction of its usual budget. Most small manufacturers don’t find either the budgets or the time frames particularly stunning, since overcoming obstacles on a shoestring is a core competency for most SMEs. SMEs excel at finding new products and new ways of accomplishing tasks by combining information and ideas from multiple sources and coming up with a completely new category or approach.