Int. J. of Automotive Technology and Management   »   2003 Vol.3, No.1/2

 

 

Title: Harnessing knowledge: the next challenge to inter-firm cooperation in the North American auto industry

 

Author: Bruce M. Belzowski, Michael S. Flynn, Barbara C. Richardson, Maitreya Kathleen Sims, Mary VanAssche

 

Address: Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, 2901 Baxter Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2150, USA. Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, 2901 Baxter Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2150, USA. Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, 2901 Baxter Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2150, USA. Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, 2901 Baxter Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2150, USA. IBM Product Lifecycle Management Solutions, 18000 W. Nine Mile Road, 11th Floor, Southfield, Michigan 48075, USA

 

Abstract: As the North American auto manufacturers transfer more responsibility to major suppliers while at the same time experiencing significant engineering personnel reductions due to layoffs and retirements, the industry landscape begins to change. Manufacturers' engineering staffs become smaller, and suppliers' staffs become larger as they attempt to meet manufacturer systems, globalisation, and supply chain coordination requirements. How knowledge is created and shared may become the next competitive basis that differentiates which companies and supply chains win and which lose. The results of the survey uncovered six major issues that one large supplier company – and any company embarking on knowledge initiatives – needs to consider. Companies must understand thoroughly: the value of knowledge within the organisation; acknowledge likely gaps between the perceived benefits and reported knowledge activity levels; resolve discontinuities in knowledge sharing activities within the company; consider possible differences in the perceptions of knowledge activities among the company, its customers, and its suppliers; take into account differing emphases by the company, its customers, and its suppliers on people, technology, process, and culture as facilitators of knowledge activities; and measure and incent knowledge activities in order to manage them effectively.

 

Keywords: North American automotive industry; knowledge management; manufacturer–supplier relationship; industry restructuring; product development; organisational learning.

 

DOI: 10.1504/IJATM.2003.003380

 

Int. J. of Automotive Technology and Management, 2003 Vol.3, No.1/2, pp.9 - 29

 

Available online: 05 Sep 2003

 

 

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