Title: Approaches to innovation amongst component suppliers: some smaller firm perspectives

Authors: Ian K. Oakes, Gloria L. Lee

Addresses: Faculty of Engineering & Computer Technology, University of Central England, Birmingham B42 2SU, UK. ' Aston Business School, Faculty of Management, Languages and European Studies, Aston University, Birmingham, B4 7ET, UK

Abstract: The authors relate approaches to innovation amongst smaller firms to changes confronting component suppliers. The discussion draws on the experiences of four smaller component suppliers who are part of a research project into the impact of changes in supply chain relationships on the operation of some small and medium sized manufacturing firms in the West Midlands. The article explains why such component suppliers in the automotive supply chain are being forced to make strategic decisions regarding their future role. A typology is introduced which distinguishes innovation in work organization with that based upon technological change and strategies based on market concentration or market diversification. The four case studies illustrate why component suppliers are having to make these types of strategic choices and their likely impact upon future competitiveness.

Keywords: original equipment manufacturers; OEMs; component suppliers; supply chain rationalisation; product innovation; process innovation; innovation strategy; market pull; technology push; work organisation; technological change; market concentration; market diversification; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; manufacturing firms; automotive supply chain; supply chain management; SCM; automobile industry.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.1996.025518

International Journal of Technology Management, 1996 Vol.12 No.7/8, pp.808 - 819

Published online: 22 May 2009 *

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