District’s manufacturing performances: a comparison among large, small-to-medium sized and district enterprises

Valeria Belvedere, Alberto Grando

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review

53 Citazioni (Scopus)


A wide literature exists, according to which small and medium-sized companies perform worse than large ones, due to a lack of human and financial resources, that keep the SMEs from adopting new technological solutions and innovative managerial practices, necessary to improve the overall performances. This paper discusses the results of a research aimed at measuring and assessing the operational performances of SMEs in order to test whether belonging to an industrial district enables firms to take advantage of the experience of the other members of the same cluster and, thus, to develop some organizational and managerial skills, which only large companies, endowed with a greater amount of human, technical and financial resources, can generally acquire. After a review of the main literature concerning manufacturing and logistics performances in large enterprises and in small and medium-sized ones, the paper presents the results of a three steps quantitative analysis. In the first step, the research question that the authors try to answer is whether the logistics and manufacturing performances of large plants are better than those of small and medium-sized production units. In the second step, the research question is whether the small and medium-sized enterprises, that belong to an industrial district, perform better than the SMEs, which are not involved in such a kind of network. The third step involved a comparison among three samples of plants belonging to the mechanical industry, aimed at testing whether large, SMEs and district companies focus on different performance categories, pursuing different operations strategies. The data employed in this analysis concern a sample of plants of the mechanical industry and were collected through the Italian Best Factory Award and through an ad hoc survey in an Italian industrial district.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)85-99
Numero di pagine15
RivistaInternational Journal of Production Economics
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2006


  • benchmarking
  • industrial district
  • logistics
  • manufacturing
  • performance measurement
  • small-to-medium sized enterprises


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