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  • 1.
    Bengtsson, Lars
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Sweden.
    Niss, Camilla
    von Haartman, Robin
    KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Industrial Economics and Management (Div.) (closed (20130101). University of Gävle, Sweden.
    Combining Master and Apprentice Roles: Potential for Learning in Distributed Manufacturing Networks2010In: Creativity and Innovation Management, ISSN 0963-1690, E-ISSN 1467-8691, Vol. 19, no 4, p. 417-427Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The purpose of this paper is to explore possible effects for learning when a manufacturing plant takes a double role, as being both master plant and apprentice plant, in a globally distributed industrialization process. Industrialization is here understood as the process of preparing new products for volume manufacturing. Two research questions are addressed. The first is what characterizes the dual roles. The second concerns how the dual roles affect knowledge integration and learning processes, and whether this arrangement facilitates learning between master and apprentice. Based on a study of a global telecom equipment company, the paper provides insights into some of the challenges and effects of dynamic switching of roles. By separating the network function from the strategic role of the plant, the study identifies four options for learning. The case adds to the literature on learning in manufacturing networks and to previous research on how distributed processes affect innovation capability.

  • 2. Bengtsson, Lars
    et al.
    Von Haartman, Robin
    University of Gävle.
    Dabhilkar, Mandar
    KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Industrial Economics and Management (Div.).
    Low-Cost versus Innovation: Contrasting Outsourcing and Integration Strategies in Manufacturing2009In: Creativity and Innovation Management, ISSN 0963-1690, E-ISSN 1467-8691, Vol. 18, no 1, p. 35-47Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper analyses how two different outsourcing manufacturing strategies relate to plant performance and innovation capability when taking into account the organizational integration of design and manufacturing as well as product complexity. The study discriminates between low-cost-oriented outsourcing and innovation-oriented outsourcing. The empirical data used is based on a survey of 267 engineering firms, of which half have outsourced manufacturing. We found that the two outsourcing strategies do have different effects, which illustrates that outsourcing represents a trade-off between improving innovation capability and lowering costs. The study furthermore shows that manufacturing and supplier integration in product design processes is mainly beneficial when applying innovation-oriented outsourcing, and in particular when products and manufacturing processes are complex.

  • 3.
    von Haartman, Robin
    University of Gävle, Center for Logistics and Innovative Production.
    Beyond Fisher’s Product-Supply Chain Matrix: Illustrating the Actual Impact of Technological Maturity on Supply Chain DesignIn: International Journal of Logistics Systems and Management, ISSN 1742-7967, E-ISSN 1742-7975Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The literature suggests that supply chains should be designed based on product characteristics, with particular focus on technological maturity and its effect on the predictability of demand. However, other factors influence the predictability of demand and technological maturity has effects that go beyond demand forecasts. This paper discusses the actual challenges of designing a supply chain and, based on a single case study, illustrates how a leading technology-based company solves these problems. The study found that although technological maturity drives a change towards a more efficient supply chain, a partially separate supply chain had to be maintained for unpredictable demand.

  • 4.
    von Haartman, Robin
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Industrial Development, IT and Land Management.
    Do Customers Improve New Product Development Efficiency?: Revealing the Impact of Manufacturing-Based Absorptive CapacityArticle in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In order to collaborate with customers in new product development efficiently, companies need to maintain some inherent competence that allows them to both understand the external party’s processes and absorb external knowledge. The aim of this study was to operationalise absorptive capacity for manufacturing and examine its impact on new product development efficiency. A large scale survey was sent out to Swedish manufacturing companies and the data was analysed using hierarchical regression. The results show that it is not manufacturing competence per se that increases new product development (NPD) efficiency, but rather how the competence is leveraged through various integration mechanisms. The results indicate that the indirect ability to improve NPD efficiency should also be taken into account when a firm is deciding whether to invest in manufacturing or not.

  • 5.
    von Haartman, Robin
    KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.).
    Externa integration and the need for manufacturing competence2007Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
    Abstract [en]

    For a number of years, manufacturers have increasingly focused on their perceived core competencies and outsourced activities not seen as such. In doing so there are an increasing number of competencies that fall outside the ‘core’ domain but are nonetheless required for effective product and process development. The proposed solution to this problem has been external integration with an emphasis on collaborative product or process development and also the wider concept of supply chain management. It is, however, not always easy to substitute internal competencies with customers’ and suppliers’ capabilities. Many authors have focused on finding the prerequisites for effective external integration and particularly on areas such as trust and power.

    This thesis contributes to the literature by extending the concept of absorptive capacity into the manufacturing domain and in the context of external integration. A conceptual framework is developed, where different streams of the literature have been merged into one coherent model. Integral parts of this framework are the concept of absorptive capacity as well as a model of competitive priorities. Competitive priorities have been taken into account as firms differ; what contributes to competitive advantage for one firm may be irrelevant for another.

    Three papers are included in the thesis. The first one uses survey data, from a representative sample of the Swedish manufacturing industry, in order to validate the concept of absorptive capacity in the manufacturing sector. The second paper also uses survey data but aims to shed some light on competitive priorities’ impact on both the extent and the outcome of internal and external integration. The third paper describes a case study of a first-tier supplier and aims to illustrate how absorptive capacity in a manufacturing firm may look in practice.

    The thesis concludes that the conceptual framework is indeed useful for understanding the challenges of effective external integration. Internal manufacturing competencies may allow a firm to integrate more effectively external sources, but the required competencies may vary from firm to firm. This implies a need for a fit between companies’ competitive priorities, external integration and absorptive capacity. It also implies that companies may struggle to achieve competitive advantage by utilising their customers and suppliers if they do not simultaneously develop appropriate competencies in-house.

  • 6.
    von Haartman, Robin
    KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Industrial Economics and Management (Div.).
    Manufacturing capabilities: expendable commodities or catalysts for effective supply chain management2012Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Many large companies have for a long time been very successful in their industries by combining leading edge R&D and marketing with strong internal manufacturing capabilities. An alternative model is now getting increased attention, where R&D and marketing is conducted internally and manufacturing performed by outsourcing partners. This development is partly due to divergent views on the strategic role of manufacturing capabilities: expendable commodities that can be purchased from a low-cost provider versus resources essential for sustaining long-term competitive advantage. Although assessments of the strategic role of manufacturing capabilities have been performed previously, recent supply chain trends such as globalisation and fragmentation mean that they may no longer be relevant. The purpose of the thesis is to assess the strategic role of manufacturing capabilities for a product-owning firm, by focusing on what impact its internal manufacturing capabilities have on the effectiveness of the supply chain.

    Two methods have been used for the research: survey and case study. The survey is representative for the entire Swedish manufacturing sector, whereas the case studies are to some extent industry- or company-specific. Two companies were researched: one in the telecom equipment sector, the other a supplier to multiple sectors, including the telecom equipment sector. The results of the research have been presented in five scientific articles that are also found in the appendices.

    The thesis argues that in order to evaluate the strategic role of manufacturing capabilities, it is important to look at how they contribute to the focal firm’s competitive priorities. When the technology is new, the competitive priority tends to be innovation, and the role of manufacturing capabilities is to facilitate more efficient NPD. When products mature, low cost becomes the dominant competitive priority, and the role of manufacturing capabilities is to facilitate a high operational efficiency of the supply chain. Although the potential role of manufacturing capabilities is dependent on the firms’ competitive priorities, just possessing manufacturing capabilities will not automatically translate into high performance. Instead, the performance outcome is dependent on both the level of manufacturing capabilities and, even more importantly, how they are leveraged through the integration of customers, suppliers and the product development department.

    This thesis contributes to the discourse on the role of manufacturing in two ways. First, the thesis investigates how competitive priorities impact the role of manufacturing capabilities in the supply chain. Second, this thesis explores how manufacturing capabilities influence the efficiency of integration. The main theoretical contribution is to develop and test the concept of manufacturing absorptive capacity within the context of manufacturing capabilities’ role in the supply chain. The thesis concludes that manufacturing capabilities are almost inevitably seen as strategic because they help firms integrate external sources more efficiently, thereby achieving performance improvement in terms of both operational efficiency and efficient product development. When the performance improvement corresponds with the prevailing competitive priority, the supply chain can be said to be effective. Manufacturing capabilities can thus act as a catalyst for effective supply chain management.

  • 7.
    von Haartman, Robin
    et al.
    Högskolan i Gävle, Institutionen för teknik och byggd miljö,.
    Bengtsson, Lars
    Högskolan i Gävle, Institutionen för teknik och byggd miljö,.
    Internal and external integration and its effect on manufacturing firms´ competitiveness2006In: Proceedings of EurOMA Conference 2006 in Glasgow, June, 2006, and at the 7th International CINet Conference in Lucca, Italy, 10-12 September, 2006, 2006Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Many authors highlight the importance of looking outside the focal firm for sources of innovation and future revenue. The failure to do so, can render the company less competitive in the short term, and prove lethal in case of disruptive shift in customer preferences or technology. The sources of innovation can also reside within the firm, and it is important to ensure frequent communication between different departments in order to harness effectively the firms’ inherent innovative capabilities. However, for integration to be desirable, the benefits from integrating various sources should support the overall objective of the firm. These benefits should be lower cost, for the price sensitive firms, and higher level of innovation for more innovative firms. Based on a large-scale survey, this paper will explore whether such integration does bring the intended benefits, and also if there is any other effect on several other performance indicators.

  • 8.
    von Haartman, Robin
    et al.
    Högskolan i Gävle.
    Bengtsson, L.ars
    Högskolan i Gävle.
    Manufacturing competence: a key to successful supplier integration2009In: International Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management (IJMTM), ISSN 1368-2148, E-ISSN 1741-5195, Vol. 16, no 3, p. 283-299Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Extensive involvement of suppliers in new product development and manufacturing development has often been associated with superior performance. Some authors have also alleged that companies need comprehensive internal competencies, or absorptive capacity, in order to fully benefit from external expertise. This paper analyses this relationship on an operational level in manufacturing companies. Based on a large-scale survey it is shown that companies with greater internal manufacturing competencies gain significantly from supplier involvement in terms of most performance indicators, whereas those with lesser internal competencies have little to gain from such external cooperation.

  • 9.
    von Haartman, Robin
    et al.
    Högskolan i Gävle, Institutionen för teknik och byggd miljö, Ämnesavdelningen för industriell ekonomi.
    Bengtsson, Lars
    Högskolan i Gävle, Institutionen för teknik och byggd miljö, Ämnesavdelningen för industriell ekonomi.
    Manufacturing competence and external integration: absorptive capacity in a first-tier supplier2007In: 14th International Annual EurOMA Conference, Ankara, Turkey, June 17-20, 2007, 2007Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    There has been increasing interest in understanding the mechanisms for successful collaboration and learning in the supply chain. In a widely quoted paper, Cohen and Levinthal (1990) alleged that firms need to have absorptive capacity in order to benefit from external sources. The purpose of this paper is to extend the arguments to manufacturing, by illustrating how the dimensions of absorptive capacity are equally relevant in a manufacturing setting that includes customer and supplier integration in production processes. Based on a pilot case study of a Swedish firsttier supplier, it is shown that many of the fairly common manufacturing-related practices have an impact on the absorptive capacity of a small firm. This implies that manufacturing investment strategies not only influence the operations of the firm but also determine how effectively it can communicate with its external environment.

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