Product Development and Commercialization

Harnessing Innovation Models for Small- and Medium-Sized Manufacturing Enterprises

Small- to mid-sized manufacturing enterprises (SMMEs), both defense and commercial, face unique obstacles in the marketplace, which is why systems of innovation must be established through workplace culture and leadership that ensure success. This report serves as a roadmap of multiple systems across defense and commercial enterprises, from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to small startups. The roadmap was constructed by researching OEM’s implementation of well-known lean principles and concepts, entrepreneur’s product commercialization processes, and innovation processes that some small and medium-sized enterprises and support organizations have adopted. The goal is to outline best-practice models that small- and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises (SMMEs) interested in product development and commercialization growth may employ. In an effort to better understand how both defense and commercial manufacturers may add value-added innovation to their products and services, a breakdown of innovation models developed and used by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), budding entrepreneurs, as well as select small and midsized manufacturing firms was conducted to determine their characteristics. Defense and commercial SMMEs can learn from the innovation processes of large OEMs, entrepreneurs and even other growth-oriented small- and medium-sized practices. Each stage of business development has similarities and differences that can be applied.


This research was supported using Federal funds under award 06-49-06019 from the Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.


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