آیا تامین منابع محلی در عصر جهانی شدن از مد افتاده است؟ مدارک و شواهد از صنایع مکانیکی ایتالیایی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21220||2011||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||11799 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 40, Issue 6, August 2011, Pages 1012–1023
The paper concerns a study on the changes affecting leading cluster companies' supplier relationships. In particular, the paper aims at investigating under which conditions and how industrial cluster companies rely on local suppliers in the current context of international competitive pressure and easier access to international supply sources. The research methodology is qualitative and based on a long-term longitudinal research of three case studies of Italian industrial cluster companies that are leading firms in specific niches of the mechanical industry. Two main questions are debated: under which conditions have industrial cluster companies relied on local suppliers? What has been the evolution of relationships between industrial cluster companies and their local suppliers? The empirical analysis shows that local suppliers have been playing strategic roles in different ways in distinct historical phases, contributing actively in terms of knowledge and competence development, production flexibility, delivery performance and cost efficiency.
This paper is based on long-term longitudinal research on Italian industrial cluster companies that are international leaders in specific niches of the mechanical industry. The study concerns changes affecting these companies' supplier relationships as they have had to face fast global economic change. In particular, the paper investigates under which conditions and how industrial cluster companies have relied on local suppliers in the face of international competitive pressure and easier access to international supply sources. It is widely recognized that suppliers represent a strategic asset for the competitiveness of their customer firms (Christopher, 2005, Cox and Lamming, 1995 and Womack et al., 1990). Companies increasingly perceive suppliers as providers of various types of advantages and benefits, in the light of their contribution in terms of efficiency and valuable knowledge (Cox and Hines, 1997 and Gattorna, 2009). Thus buyers are ready to develop long-term partnerships with selected suppliers based on interdependence, trust and intensive knowledge flows (Gadde, Håkansson, & Persson, 2010). This kind of supply relationship is common in industrial clusters, where geographical and social proximity enhances interaction among local firms (Becattini, 1990 and Pyke et al., 1990). Within this scenario fast growing industrial cluster firms have the opportunity to rely on valuable local suppliers while pursuing their expansion plans (Varaldo & Ferrucci, 1996). In recent years great attention has been paid to the globalization of markets and supply chains. In particular, a recent stream of management research highlights the growing adoption of international sourcing strategies, based on the search, selection and integrated management of supply networks on an international scale (Axelsson et al., 2005, Hines, 1994, Quintens et al., 2006 and Trent and Monczka, 2003). Companies engaged in such behavior pursue mainly cost and innovation advantages (Gadde & Håkansson, 2001) in gaining access to components, materials, knowledge and capabilities of globally-dispersed providers. Empirical studies are mainly concerned with the sourcing behavior by large-sized firms, which are able to deal with various supply sources in different markets worldwide and develop organizational capabilities to engage in such activities. Only a few studies detail the forces affecting industrial cluster companies and changes in their sourcing strategies (Camuffo, 2003 and Furlan et al., 2009). Within this stream of literature it has been observed that these companies are increasingly involved in supply relationships with foreign partners, in relation to the increasing pressure in mature manufacturing sectors (textile, clothing and footwear, mechanical) by emerging economies, such as China and India (Camuffo et al., 2006 and Chiarvesio and Di Maria, 2009). However, it could be argued that pursuing an international sourcing strategy might not be the only option to organize production activities for mid-sized cluster companies. Most of the literature is concerned with analyzing the opening of international sourcing relationships and the connected advantages, and pays limited attention to the main features of the changing role of local suppliers that have been historically linked to these companies (Håkansson et al., 2006 and Tunisini and Bocconcelli, 2009). In this respect we think that further research is needed and particular attention should be devoted to the renewed role of local supplier relationships when companies “open” their supply side to the international supply market. Thus the paper is concerned with assessing whether and how the “local” dimension of business supplier relationships is still a feasible and effective path for leading cluster companies. Specifically, this paper debates the following two research questions: i) under which conditions have industrial cluster companies relied on local suppliers? ii) What has been the evolution of relationships between industrial cluster companies and their local suppliers? Therefore the main goal of this paper is to investigate whether leading cluster companies might choose to remain closely integrated within the local supply network and which are the main conditions – both internal and external – influencing their approach. The research methodology is qualitative and based on a limited number of case-studies: the empirical investigation concerns three companies selected among the leading firms in specific sub-sectors of the mechanical industry in the light of their size and international profile. The empirical analysis shows that local suppliers have been playing strategic roles in different ways in distinct historical phases, contributing actively in terms of knowledge and competence development, production flexibility, delivery performance and cost efficiency. The three companies under examination have been pursuing a gradual and balanced approach toward international sourcing opportunities, which are exploited mainly for commercial parts and only to a limited extent for customized parts and components. The paper is structured as follows. In the next section a literature review on the role of supply networks and on the relevance of local suppliers for industrial cluster companies is presented. In the third section the aim and methodology of the study are described and the companies' profiles are traced. The fourth section is devoted to the longitudinal analysis of the three case studies in relation to the main research topic. In the fifth section the main results are discussed. A final section is dedicated to conclusive remarks, further research directions and managerial implications.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This paper aims to uncover the changes affecting local supply relationships by Italian micro-multinational companies active in the mechanical sector and open to international sourcing opportunities. Notably, the empirical analysis concerns the behavior of three mid-sized companies based in Italian industrial clusters located in the Centre-North of Italy. Firstly, local suppliers have played “strategic” roles in different ways in distinct historical phases. In the early 1990s they were providers of production capacity, under the technical guidance of the companies analyzed. In some cases local suppliers were able to become strategic partners during the first decade of the 21st century because of their product and production competences. After the break-out of the effects of the economic crisis in 2008, local suppliers have been increasingly required to guarantee higher price efficiency, strict compliance with production/delivery standards and stronger innovation capabilities. Secondly, the three companies have shown a capacity to adapt their supply management approach to changing market conditions. The search for capable suppliers in terms of production and delivery skills during the 1990s has been possible thanks to a flexible approach, combining partnership-based and transaction-oriented behaviors. Higher technological requirements in products during the first decade of the 21st century have been met by the three companies by actively involving selected local suppliers in their innovation processes according to a supply management approach. The dramatic change in market conditions at the end of current decade has been faced through a substantial reconfiguration of make or buy policies and a renewal of flexible approaches to supply management. At the same time, these companies have attempted to enlarge the supply base on a national and international basis on the one hand and to protect the local set of competences detained by suppliers on the other. Primary local suppliers are required to pursue excellence on the three elements which play a parallel importance in the eyes of their customers: efficiency, production/delivery performance and knowledge/innovation capabilities. Thus the performance of local sourcing is characterized by an apparent paradox: the successful combination of partnership-based selection criteria with flexible supply management approaches, which include the option of vertically integrating specific production processes. Local suppliers have been always perceived as a valuable resource, even though the leading companies have chosen different supply management approaches over time due to changing market conditions. The three companies under examination show a gradual and balanced approach toward international sourcing opportunities, whose benefits have been carefully balanced according to final market and supply market conditions. Notwithstanding the empirical results achieved, the research behind this paper has some relevant limitations. First of all, the paper deals mainly with relationships with local suppliers. International supply relationships have not been empirically researched in similar detail. Thus the “international dimension” of supply relationship has been treated more as a contextual variable in explaining local sourcing patterns. Secondly, the analysis of local sourcing is based on data and material concerning the selected customer companies. It would have been more appropriate to integrate this empirical base with insights from leading local suppliers, thus achieving a more exhaustive analysis of the evolution of local supply relationships. This paper might offer stimulating insights for possible avenues of future research. More research could be developed with regard to the evolution of “local supply relationships” in the context of economic globalization. This effort could be focused on pointing out phases, patterns and relevant variables allowing for conceptually develop a sort of “cycle of the local supply relationship”. Moreover, the empirical analysis highlights the increasing propensity of industrial cluster companies to set up appropriate organizational mechanisms to match new supply market conditions, both locally and internationally. It could be useful and stimulating to examine in more detail whether and how emerging mid-size multinational companies have been pursuing organizational upgrading in the area of purchasing. The analysis of the main local sourcing patterns by the three industrial cluster companies under investigation is also relevant from a managerial point of view. First of all these case-studies provide a picture of the ability of micro-multinational companies to react to highly turbulent market changes. These firms have gained an appropriate size to operate internationally, but are capable of pursuing a balanced combination of local and global sources of value. It is apparent, therefore, that local supply partners should be monitored and assessed, taking into account all the relevant dimensions of the relationship, including benefits from long term social and physical proximity. Another relevant managerial insight concerns the emerging pattern in buyer–supplier relations among industrial cluster companies and their leading local partners. They increasingly pursue multi-dimensional cooperation (production/delivery, innovation and cost efficiency) along a flexible relationship. One main implication of such patterns is that even in a “partnership” both the customer and the supplier should increase their capacity to adapt their main corporate strategies in the short term in the light of changes in the relationship or in the business/market context.