Supplier integration through Digital Manufacturing: a SME paradox

Elias Ribeiro da Silva*, Jannis Angelis, Edson Pinheiro de Lima

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


This research explores the use of digital manufacturing systems for the integration of extended enterprise supply chain with its suppliers, to the level of small and medium-sized enterprises. Questionnaire results from 113 respondents that surveyed managers, users, implementers and researchers, working in the domains related to digital manufacturing and Industry 4.0, was conducted to identify key factors to be considered when firms implement and use digital manufacturing. Survey results show that it is essential in this new industrial paradigm that companies aiming to use digital manufacturing pursue digital integration with their suppliers. However, the adoption of such systems also depends on specific characteristics that make feasible the implementation and use of complex and costly systems. Sometimes, these systems do not fit to the reality of most suppliers, such as a wide range of products, complex supply chain and long-term projects with high complexity. This results in a paradox challenge, since there are clear drivers for change in the large companies’ side, but few and unclear incentives on the suppliers’ side. This paper contributes in two main areas. It provides a new perspective for incentives beyond financial returns to connect those suppliers by digital manufacturing systems, creating new ways to add value through an integrated and connected supply chain. It also explores the issues in an SME context which has been greatly underrepresented in the Digital Manufacturing research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2nd International Symposium on Supply Chain 4.0 : Digital Transformation in SME (Small and Medium Enterprises)
Publication date2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event2nd International Symposium on Supply Chain 4.0: Digital Transformation in SME - São Paulo, Brazil
Duration: 3. Sept 20184. Sept 2018
Conference number: 2


Conference2nd International Symposium on Supply Chain 4.0
CitySão Paulo
SeriesInternational Symposium on Supply Chain 4.0


  • Digital manufacturing
  • SME
  • Supplier integration
  • Distributed Manufacturing
  • Industry 4.0


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