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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Long Range Planning, 34 (2001) 335-355
Whilst many expected that mature industries such as automotive would necessitate strategic shifts in favour of low cost countries, we will demonstrate how the precise opposite has occurred, with respect to Germany.1 We examined the investment and value-creating activities of 20 non-German multinational automotive suppliers in the German market and found that they invested $14 billion in Germany between 1987 and 1997. This discovery triggered our research to develop a conceptual framework to explain the core motives behind these investment activities. Two critical strategic propositions illuminate the activities: the first proposition tackles the pressure on suppliers to grow and diversify in response to the global trend of restructuring the value chain in the car industry. The second proposition uncovers the forces behind the current trend why automotive suppliers adjust their strategies globally. This proposition deals with the implications of the increasing use of global strategies in production and single sourcing by major automotive customers such as Volkswagen or DaimlerChrysler. c 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Globalisation and foreign direct investment in the car industry have received considerable attention in international business research and automotive studies. Most of the management studies build upon the premise that stresses cost-based factors for competitive success, yet cost factors cannot explain the high foreign direct investment in Germany. Furthermore, most of the studies deal only with the globalisation of automotive manufacturers, so-called Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), while research on the suppliers and their strategies is weak, especially for Europe and Germany. Although some studies examine the globalisation in the automotive supply industry,2 most of the work is simply deduced by research on OEMs.3 In this paper, we focus on the automotive supplier industry and shed light on the globalisation strategies of multinational automotive suppliers in Germany. After a brief introduction to recent changes in value-added strategies of OEMs we present our conceptual framework and then explain why supplier companies globalise and diversify.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In the last decade, multinational suppliers have put considerable efforts to make use of new opportunities provided by OEMs in the German market. This required deliberate portfolio and locational strategies which were, in turn, achieved by acquiring German supplier firms who possess complementary technological competence profiles and by greenfield investments to colocate multinational supplier facilities and plants of major customers. The management of multinational suppliers used acquisitions as a means to complement existing competence profiles in order to supply complete systems and modules. Acquisitions allow for a rapid competence building as opposed to difficult in-house competence building strategies. Especially in highly competitive markets characterised by a small number of global, fast-growing first-tier suppliers, such as, for instance, the brake systems business, persistent consolidation pressures urge competitors to operate aggressively. In this context, the German automotive supplier landscape is ideal for as acquisitions because it is made up of many technologically sophisticated small and medium-sized supplier companies. What also became clear was that multinational suppliers used greenfield investments in virtually all cases where proximity to customers was key. For instance, many suppliers invested in supplier parks near manufacturing and assembly plants of OEMs. The reason for greenfield investments as a market-entry strategy is obvious: with greenfield investments, multinational suppliers are more flexible with respect to location decisions and asset specificities. It is important to note that even in the relatively mature car industry, cost factors play a subordinate role as a (de-) investment motive vis-a`-vis modular innovations and services. For system suppliers, technological innovation is key for competitive success, while customer specific services play the decisive role for module suppliers. Thus, a system supplier will always prefer to invest in technological knowledge and may acquire companies that possess complementary competencies. For module suppliers, it is most important to set up production facilities close to OEMs in order to deliver modules and related services. As could be seen, the value chain redesign of Germany-based OEMs and the corresponding opportunity to supply systems and modules has attracted a significant amount of supplier capital to Germany. Faced with the opportunities to develop businesses and to generate cash-flow with innovative products, supplier firms invested in this country despite high labour costs. At the same time, many suppliers have shifted manufacturing and assembly of simple, less innovative and price sensitive parts to low cost countries. This may help to explain why some of our sample companies invested in the German market and simultaneously shifted the production of simple parts to South and East European countries. If innovation is such a powerful driver of investment in the car industry, can the result of our study be transferred to other mature industries? Clearly, the ability to transfer is limited to industries with complex products where modular innovations and customer services become important competitive factors, examples being the aerospace and rail industry, the computer industry, the gas turbine industry, or the waste-to-energy plant industry. In these industries, supplier companies should understand the logic and react to the strategic imperative resulting from supply chain redesigns. An early, carefully developed strategy of how to act when customers start to redesign their supplier chains is a key success factor. In our study, it also became clear that a company must already be significantly large to carry out growth strategies. But many small- and medium-sized companies do not possess the critical size, management and financial ability to pursue foreign direct investment strategies. In this situation, a good strategy is to search for a partner to dance with. The success or failure of capital- based alliances or even acquisitions depends on the strategic fit of both partners. Some German acquisition targets have already learned this lesson. Anecdotal evidence suggests that after being acquired they very often serve more than simple technological add-ons to fill existing competence gaps. Rather, they are likely to take on more significant roles within the internal organisation of the multinational supplier organisation as they evolve to centres of excellence. In a considerable number of cases, the multinational suppliers have relocated global product mandates to their newly acquired German affiliates.