RCT4MANU: Test an innovative support scheme for UK-based manufacturing SMEs

Last registered on December 14, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
RCT4MANU: Test an innovative support scheme for UK-based manufacturing SMEs
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006894
Initial registration date
December 14, 2020

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
December 14, 2020, 10:33 AM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Locations

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Innovate UK

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
KTN
PI Affiliation
KTN
PI Affiliation
KTN

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2020-11-02
End date
2022-03-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
4Manufacturing® is a tool developed by industry specialists to help UK manufacturers, and particularly SMEs, understand and adopt industrial digital technologies. The tool, used in conjunction with face-to-face expert support is used to identify challenges currently faced by manufacturing businesses and ways in which these can be addressed by investment in and adoption of technology.
The EU-funded RCT4MANU project proposes the use of the randomised control trial (RCT) method to evaluate the effect of the 4Manufacturing® tool and expert support on SMEs. Investment in and adoption of industrial digital technologies and the resultant, short-term impact on the businesses will be measured and assessed in comparison with a control group of SMEs receiving no support.
The objective of the study is to build rigorous evidence for the value of this programme of 4Manufacturing® support, and to understand and demonstrate the value of RCTs as a powerful tool for future policy implementation evaluation.

Registration Citation

Citation
Hallas, Kevin et al. 2020. "RCT4MANU: Test an innovative support scheme for UK-based manufacturing SMEs." AEA RCT Registry. December 14. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6894
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2021-02-01
Intervention End Date
2022-03-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The mean number of Industry 4.0-related technology adoptions or planned adoptions by the businesses in the intervention group compared to the control group. It is expected that there will be a 20% difference in means between the two groups.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
"Adoption" is counted when a technology has been implemented/embedded within an organisation. For planned adoptions, we will measure the level of commitment to the adoption by collecting information on the status of any business cases related to the adoption as well as the planned timeframe.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Amount invested in Industry 4 technologies in GBP.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Compare mean difference in £’s invested during the intervention period and predicted future spend. It is unknown at this point (pre-trial) whether the support will result in an increase in the amount invested in technologies or decrease it, as the support may highlight the benefit of cheaper investments as alternatives. The support aims to inform the decision-making of the businesses supported, such that businesses make better investments as a result regardless of how much money has been invested.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This is a two-armed trial, with 50% of businesses recruited receiving the intervention and 50% allocated to the control group who will receive no support. A total of up to 420 manufacturing SMEs will be recruited with the aim to retain at least 350 for the trial itself, with 175 in each group.
Experimental Design Details
This is a two-armed trial, with 50% of businesses recruited receiving the intervention and 50% allocated to the control group who will receive no support. A total of up to 420 manufacturing SMEs will be recruited with the aim to retain at least 350 for the trial itself, with 175 in each group. Following completion of a baseline survey, the companies will be stratified according to both geographical (UK) region and approximate size (number of employees) following which they will be randomised and equally divided into a control and intervention groups. A total of 175 4Manufacturing® interventions will be carried out, delivered by trained KTN expert advisors. Whilst the 175 companies in the control group will not receive the 4Manufacturing® intervention, they are free to seek other KTN support or support from other external sources. The expectation is that KTN will be able to offer the companies in the control group 4Manufacturing® support at a later date.

The intervention period will last a total of 12 months; intervention group SMEs will receive the 4Manufacturing® support following which there will be a twelve month period to investigate further and implement actions. At the end of the 12 month period all companies (intervention and control) will complete a follow-up survey to measure the number of technology adoptions that have taken place during the intervention period.
Randomization Method
Survey responses will be anonymised and shared with a third party organisation who will randomise businesses based on their geographical location (UK NUTS 1 region) and number of employees, banded at 0-50, 51-100, 100-250. Randomisation will be conducted using dedicated digital tools.
Randomization Unit
Survey responses will be anonymised and shared with a third party organisation who will randomise businesses based on their geographical location (UK NUTS 1 region) and number of employees, banded at 0-49, 50-99, 100-250. Randomisation will be conducted using dedicated digital tools.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
0
Sample size: planned number of observations
350
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
175 treatment, 175 control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials