This study focuses on technology transfer in the steel mini-mill industry. It identifies two central issues: how capacity is built and how demand is sustained, developing a three-dimensional perspective to bring into sharp focus the desirability and necessity of technology transfer. The three-dimensional perspective focuses on the changes in the marketplace for flat steel sheets, the responsiveness and sensitivity to these market changes, and applying the best available technology to obtain a high quality product. Prior to this study, technology transfer has been examined in a bivariate relationship, namely, how technology transfer contributed to the development process in developing countries and Newly Industrialized Countries (NICs).
The framework formulated in this study showed that Japan was lagging behind all the steel-producing countries because, like the NICs, it imported the physical and organizational technologies that fostered its prosperity. Based on primary and secondary research, this study revealed that high levels of operational efficiency and sophisticated product quality were achieved through continuous improvement culminating in Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) consisting of Real Time Process Control. On the other hand, the research also revealed that China based the improvement of its steel industry on self-reliance combined with judicious selection of foreign collaboration.
The theoretical underpinnings of the crucial issues in this study led to the development of an interactive model of technology transfer based upon stock and flow variables.