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Institutional arrangements and competitive posture: effects of company structures in the commercial printing industry
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Media Technology and Graphic Arts, Media.
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

 The research objective of this dissertation is to investigate the impact of institutional arrangements, with respect to vertical integration and cooperation, on competitive advantages within the commercial printing industry, with specific focus on digital printing. This dissertation comprises six research papers, based on four qualitative case studies and a quantitative survey study, all carried out in Sweden in the years 2004-2008.The results show that vertical integration is a way to achieve competitive advantages in the commercial printing industry and is a widely used strategy in Sweden. Being able to contract full service companies is appreciated by customers to printing houses, especially direct customers, due to their need for a supplier of complete solutions for printed matters. Consequently, a vertically integrated company can provide value added services which makes it possible for customers to minimize their organization regarding production and purchasing of printed matters. Other reasons for vertical integration are the need to ensure fast deliveries to customers and having a steady supply of appropriate jobs. Despite the believed strategic importance by the industry, the results show that the level of vertical integration has no significant impact on profitability. Vertical integration is strategically important for digital printing houses in order to develop their business because digital printing allows for fast deliveries, on-demand printing and variable data printing. Despite the commoditization of printed matter, the findings indicate that the industry, in general, focuses on providing a high service level even though it means having to set higher prices. Furthermore, the results point toward that this strategic positioning is beneficial for digital printing houses because they experience a lower degree of competition and a lower price pressure.Vertical integration can, however create inflexibility due to ownership and employment. The findings suggest that cooperation can be used to achieve fast access to valuable resources, such as production equipment and knowledge, and, hence, increase printing houses’ resource flexibility. Even though internal control of resources is regarded as important to be able to satisfy customers’ needs and produce customers’ orders on time, cooperation with partners can create similar strategic effects. Furthermore, cooperation can give cost and flexibility advantages compared to vertical integration by reducing internal need for production capacity and allowing access to complementary resources. Nevertheless, it is common to combine vertical integration with cooperation to create competitive advantages and make a company more flexible and dynamic toward market changes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2008. , xiii, 137 p.
Series
Trita-CSC-A, ISSN 1653-5723 ; 2008:16
Keyword [en]
business strategy, cooperation; customer value, institutional arrangements, printing industry, vertical integration
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering Media and Communications
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9392ISBN: 978-91-7415-148-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-9390DiVA: diva2:113852
Public defence
2008-11-11, Sydvästra galleriet, KTHB, Osquars Backe 31, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100827Available from: 2008-10-30 Created: 2008-10-30 Last updated: 2010-08-27Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Strategies for Successful Digital Printing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Strategies for Successful Digital Printing
2006 (English)In: Journal of Media Business Studies, ISSN 1652-2354, Vol. 3, no 1, 65-86 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Today the printing industry is fragmented and suffers from overcapacity, and printed material is regarded ascommodity products. In this article, corporate strategy owing to the introduction of digital printing technology isstudied. The focus is on companies that made digital printing investments. Differentiation is a strategicapproach that is necessary for digital printing companies to compete successfully. The results show that verticalintegration is a way to ensure appropriate supply to the digital printing unit and to add customer value to theservice. Educating customers is a way to create a market for the value-added products of digital printing.

Keyword
digital printing, business strategy, vertical integration, differentiation, customer value
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9397 (URN)
Note
QC 20100826Available from: 2008-10-30 Created: 2008-10-30 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
2. Perceived Satisfaction by Customers in the Digital Printing Value System
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Perceived Satisfaction by Customers in the Digital Printing Value System
2006 (English)In: 58th Annual Technical Conference of the Technical Association of the Graphic Arts, TAGA 2006, 2006, 486-511 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Adding customer value to products and applications is important to be able to successfully compete usingdigital printing. In this study the perceived satisfaction of added value was explored. It was concluded thatdigital printing does not entirely fulfill the demands that customers have on their printed material, but it wasindicated that digital printing will become more important for producing printed material in the future.Among the critical success factors, time, quality, functionality/possibilities, and price, quality was the factorthat customers deemed most important. This was also the factor that they were least satisfied with in relationto their needs. Time was the only factor that the customers where satisfied or more than satisfied with.Based on the assumption that it is not possible to, realistically, have high demands on all critical success factorsand that there has to be some tradeoff between them, the factors have been summarized and compared usingmean-centered values.

Keyword
customer value, digital printing, business strategy, vertical integration
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9398 (URN)2-s2.0-33847342006 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100826Available from: 2008-10-30 Created: 2008-10-30 Last updated: 2010-08-26Bibliographically approved
3. Creation of Customer Value Using Digital Printing in a Dynamic Business Environment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Creation of Customer Value Using Digital Printing in a Dynamic Business Environment
2007 (English)In: TAGA Journal, ISSN 1748-0337, E-ISSN 1748-0345, Vol. 3, no 3, 128-143 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Digital printing is used most successfully with a differentiated strategy that delivers high customer value whenprinting short runs or customized printed matters. This qualitative case study of a customer – supplierrelationship aims to identify and analyze how digital printing can be utilized as a business tool in therelationship between a service provider and a customer in a dynamic business environment.The service provider in this case has strategically changed the focus of the company from a production to aservice company with the focus on customer contact. Even though the service provider had an advantage on themarket, they choose to create disruption since they realized that they could not sustain this advantage forever ontheir dynamic market. This was realized even though it meant cannibalizing on their former core business –printing.The study indicates that a hypercompetitive-like behavior is becoming increasingly important to be able tosurvive in the dynamic and changing printing industry. The industry is today influenced by, and competingwith many companies that are not in-industry. By reengineering their products and services and moving fromthe cost-quality arena to timing and know-how it is possible for the service provider to control the outcome ofthe industry in a more successful manor.This study concludes that digital printing is used successfully when the customer’s main objective is not to printat all. Printed material will probably not disappear in a foreseeable future and therefore digital printing mostcertainly will increase its importance as a production technology. In the strive towards a paperless office, digitalprinting is a natural, convenient and profitable way of producing a non-electronic output is digital printing.

Keyword
customer value; digital printing; business strategy; differentiation; hypercompetition
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9399 (URN)
Note

QC 20100826

Available from: 2008-10-30 Created: 2008-10-30 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
4. Strategic Alliances in the Digital Printing Industry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Strategic Alliances in the Digital Printing Industry
2007 (English)In: 59th Annual Technical Conference on Technical Association of the Graphic Arts, TAGA: Pittsburgh, PA: 18 March 2007 through 21 March 2007, 2007, 38-62 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The fast technological development and the convergence of the media industry have made competition in theprinting industry harder and not only in-industry any longer. This puts great pressure on individualcompanies, and in a climate of rapid change, companies need to respond quickly to external forces in order toremain competitive. To accomplish this many different competitive resources and competences need to bemanaged. This can be achieved either directly by ownership or indirectly by cooperation. This qualitative casestudy sets out to investigate how alliances are used in the dynamic business environment of the printingindustry, with a focus on cooperation in connection with digital printing.The primary reason, for the companies’ cooperation was gaining access to resources to enhance customersatisfaction and retain customer contact. This paper illustrates that alliances and cooperations can be used indifferent ways and being part of an alliance can be regarded as successful and something worth nurturing.Even though alliances can provide competitive advantages, this study also indicates that hypercompetitivebehavior, like being to opportunistic, clearly can have drastic negative effects on an alliance.

Keyword
strategic alliances, hypercompetition, digital printing
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9400 (URN)2-s2.0-52349091304 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100826Available from: 2008-10-30 Created: 2008-10-30 Last updated: 2010-08-26Bibliographically approved
5. Positioning in the Printing Industry: Differentiation in Terms of Price, Lead Time, Print Quality and Flexibility
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Positioning in the Printing Industry: Differentiation in Terms of Price, Lead Time, Print Quality and Flexibility
2007 (English)In: Advances in Printing and Media Technology, ISSN 0892-2284, E-ISSN 1942-597X, Vol. 34, 327-336 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Differentiation and adding value to the printed product is regarded as important in the low margin, highlycompetitive commercial printing industry of today. However, there exists a trade-off between the service leveland the price the customer has to pay. This quantitative survey study of 136 commercial printing houses setsout to investigate how they are positioning themselves and how they perceive the demand from the customerswith respect to price, lead time, print quality and flexibility.In summary the results presented in this paper propose that the commercial printing houses perceived a demandfrom customers to provide a commodity product with only small differences between price, lead time, qualityand flexibility. However, the results also indicate that the printing houses want to sell a more differentiatedand customer centric product with focus on flexibility and quality. Although positioning seemed to beindependent of printing technology, it was possible to notice that digital printing houses perceived a lower pricepressure from the market. These results suggest that using digital printing to enhance customer value wassuccessful since the digital printing houses felt that their customers did not have as high demands for low pricesas customers to conventional printing houses.

Keyword
strategy, differentiation, flexibility, commercial printing
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9401 (URN)000267333500038 ()
Note

QC 20100826

Available from: 2008-10-30 Created: 2008-10-30 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
6. Vertical Integration and Profitability: Experiences from the Commercial Printing Industry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Vertical Integration and Profitability: Experiences from the Commercial Printing Industry
2008 (English)Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Abstract [en]

This quantitative survey study investigates the degree of vertical integration in the Swedish commercial printing industry and examines the affect of vertical integration on profit. The results show that vertical integration is commonly used both by digital and conventional printing houses. The study concludes that vertical integration is important due to the strategic importance of controlling a large part of the value system. The study indicates that the level of vertical integration has no significant impact on profitability. Nevertheless, one explanation, for the high level of vertical integration, could be the strategic aspect of acquiring possibilities to expand the business.

Keyword
corporate strategy, printing industry, profitability, vertical integration
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9402 (URN)
Note
QS 20120315Available from: 2008-10-30 Created: 2008-10-30 Last updated: 2012-03-15Bibliographically approved

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