Digitalization and New Product Development in Manufacturing SMEs: A Comparative Study of Germany and Japan

Author Name MOTOHASHI Kazuyuki (Faculty Fellow, RIETI) / Christian RAMMER (ZEW)
Creation Date/NO. March 2020 20-P-007
Research Project Digitalization and Innovation Ecosystem: A Holistic approach
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This report presented descriptive results of a novel survey on IT practices in the context of new product development (NPD) in German and Japanese manufacturing SMEs. Based on dedicated questionnaire-based surveys in both countries, the report demonstrated that there are a number of commonalities between German and Japanese SMEs. It is found that German firms are more advanced in use of digital applications, while Japanese firms are more likely to be involved in collaboration for NPD. However, this difference disappears when the business environment faced by both samples is controlled. In terms of business performance impacts of digitalization and NPD process, a complementarity between them regarding specific business partners (supplier or customer firms) is found in Japan, while digital applications with multiple users is positively correlated with business performance in Germany.