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Coordination of international manufacturing networks
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation. (INNOFACTURE)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4059-3077
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Due to globalisation, many companies have established or acquired production plants worldwide in order to capture the market opportunities that lay beyond their national borders. This has resulted in the emergence of international manufacturing networks (IMNs), which consist of multiple, interdependent production plants with different characteristics within a single organisation.

Coordination of such networks consisting of multiple plants in different countries is not a simple management task. That is why some companies struggle with it, and turn their global production into a function that hinders their agility and performance; while others turn it into a formidable advantage. Coordination of an IMN requires a company to link and integrate its plants to support its strategic business objectives. A proficient coordination of activities, across multiple plants of an international manufacturing company, leads to competitive advantages.

Despite its significance, the coordination aspect of IMN management has not been studied sufficiently. Operations leaders in today’s complex manufacturing world require a common language, tailored tools and frameworks for the management of their network. The research area of international manufacturing lacks empirical evidence of how industrial companies are (or could be) coordinated. Therefore, the overall aim of this research is to develop knowledge that improves the coordination of an IMN.

The data in this study were acquired from case studies carried out on the IMNs of four global manufacturing companies where the majority of data was gathered from a global contract manufacturer headquartered in Sweden. The findings reveal a set of challenges, which influence the coordination of an IMN as one of the main aspects of its management.

In order to improve IMN coordination, a framework has been developed from the results of the studies performed in this research project, as well as the results of previous research related to IMN management. It is composed of two distinctive parts: (1) preparatory steps, and (2) executional mechanisms.

The first part of the framework discusses, and provides an insight into, the strategic relevance of coordination, the establishment of an autonomy balance among plants in an IMN, and mapping an IMN. The second part of the framework contains three mechanisms for conducting coordination in an IMN.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University , 2018.
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 279
National Category
Other Natural Sciences
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-41243ISBN: 978-91-7485-413-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-41243DiVA, id: diva2:1259403
Public defence
2018-12-10, Filharmonin, Mälardalens högskola, Eskilstuna, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-10-29 Created: 2018-10-29 Last updated: 2018-11-16Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Global and Regional Production Networks: A Theoretical and Practical Synthesis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Global and Regional Production Networks: A Theoretical and Practical Synthesis
2014 (English)In: IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology, vol 440, 2014, no PART 3, p. 108-115Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The growth of research interest in networked production has brought up numerous important concepts aimed at production networks. Still the actual research object seems to be ambiguous, making the exact application of findings insufficient. It appears that there are two main notions of the term Production Network. The first meaning is derived by a single versus a multi-organizational perspective while the second meaning comes from a regional versus global view. Obviously indistinctness exists in this field of research and clarification of terms and concept is required. The objective of this paper is to give an overview of the existing theories in accordance with the industrial practice providing a model to bridge the academic theories to industrial practice. 

Keywords
case study, literature review, production network
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-25976 (URN)10.1007/978-3-662-44733-8_14 (DOI)2-s2.0-84906932094 (Scopus ID)9783662447321 (ISBN)
Conference
IFIP WG 5.7 International Conference on Advances in Production Management Systems, APMS 2014; Ajaccio; France; 20 September 2014 through 24 September 2014
Available from: 2014-09-19 Created: 2014-09-19 Last updated: 2018-10-29Bibliographically approved
2. Production plants within global production networks: Synergies and redundancies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Production plants within global production networks: Synergies and redundancies
2014 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Management of production plants on global scale adds diverse challenges to those normally faced within national borders. A constant challenge is to achieve the most efficient network configuration via robust design of production systems. A case study is conducted where commonalities among production plants of a global manufacturing company have been studied in regard to the design of production system within global production networks. The results show three synergetic areas through the global production network. Standardization levels of production system constituents have been also discussed.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-28881 (URN)
Conference
The 21st EurOMA Conference, 20-25 June, 2014, Palermo, Italy
Available from: 2015-09-08 Created: 2015-09-08 Last updated: 2018-10-29Bibliographically approved
3. An exploratory study on the relationships between capabilities of international manufacturing networks
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An exploratory study on the relationships between capabilities of international manufacturing networks
2016 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-41245 (URN)
Conference
23rd EurOMA Conference, 17-22 June 2016, Trondheim, Norway
Available from: 2018-10-29 Created: 2018-10-29 Last updated: 2018-12-06Bibliographically approved
4. A holistic model for inter-plant knowledge transfer within an international manufacturing network
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A holistic model for inter-plant knowledge transfer within an international manufacturing network
(English)In: Journal of Knowledge Management, ISSN 1367-3270, E-ISSN 1758-7484Article in journal (Refereed) In press
Abstract [en]

Purpose: This paper aims to provide a holistic view to support the choice of appropriate strategy for conducting a knowledge transfer (KT) project in an international manufacturing network(IMN) environment. It proposes a model that includes multiple aspects of a KT project along with guidelines on each aspect. Design/methodology/approach: To achieve the research goals, multiple case study method was adopted. Data have been collected by conducting semi-structured interviews regarding five KT projects in three multinational corporations. Data were triangulated by means of comparisons to complementary data acquired through observations and archival documents. Findings: The results of this paper detail the key issues of five KT projects. Furthermore, the paper proposes an aggregated model comprising the main aspects and strategies for a KT project within an IMN. Research limitations/implications: Despite the abundant research on KT area, not many research projects provide holistic views on KT process. The focus has rather been sectional and concentrated on each specific aspect within the KT. Practical implications: The paper guides practitioners to identify multiple aspects in KT that will eventually increase the odds for successfully performing such projects. Originality/value: The proposed learning network model improves the performance of KT projects by providing a holistic view including several factors that the organization should emphasize to succeed with inter-plant KT.

Keywords
Knowledge driven organizations, Knowledge management, Knowledge transfer, Engineering, International manufacturing network
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-40872 (URN)10.1108/JKM-10-2017-0473 (DOI)2-s2.0-85047880399 (Scopus ID)
Projects
INNOFACTURE - innovative manufacturing development
Available from: 2018-09-11 Created: 2018-09-11 Last updated: 2018-10-29Bibliographically approved
5. Coordination practices within international manufacturing networks: A comparative study of three industrial practices
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Coordination practices within international manufacturing networks: A comparative study of three industrial practices
2018 (English)In: American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, ISSN 2164-5167, E-ISSN 2164-5175, Vol. 8, no 6, p. 1603-1623Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The globalisation of manufacturing activities has led to the emergence of internationally dispersed manufacturing plants. Coordination of such networks is a complex task and entails several management challenges. The purpose of this paper is to increase the understanding regarding the coordination issues and how they could be managed in IMN environment. Using a multiple case study approach, data from three multi–plant manufacturing businesses were collected and analysed. The results include discussions on coordination aspects such as autonomy and mechanisms to conduct coordination. Furthermore, a model for assigning autonomy level to the plant in an IMN is suggested as well as mechanisms to conduct the coordination work.

Keywords
international manufacturing network, coordination, case study
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-40873 (URN)10.4236/ajibm.2018.86098 (DOI)2164-5175 (ISBN)
Projects
INNOFACTURE - innovative manufacturing development
Available from: 2018-09-11 Created: 2018-09-11 Last updated: 2018-10-29Bibliographically approved

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