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Coordination practices within international manufacturing networks: A comparative study of three industrial practices
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation. LEAX Group, Köping, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4059-3077
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7935-8811
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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 8, no 6, p. 1603-1623
Keywords [en]
international manufacturing network, coordination, case study
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-40873DOI: 10.4236/ajibm.2018.86098ISBN: 2164-5175 OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-40873DiVA, id: diva2:1247121
Projects
INNOFACTURE - innovative manufacturing developmentAvailable from: 2018-09-11 Created: 2018-09-11 Last updated: 2018-10-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Coordination of international manufacturing networks
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Coordination of international manufacturing networks
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:nbn:se:mdh:diva-41243 (URN)978-91-7485-413-8 (ISBN)
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

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Norouzilame, FarhadWiktorsson, Magnus

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