Title: The traditional industry sector in the changing business environment – a case study of the Finnish steel product industry

Authors: Paivi Iskanius, Tom Page, S.P. Anbuudayasankar

Addresses: Thule Institute, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 7300, 90014 Oulu, Finland. ' Department of Design and Technology, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, UK. ' Department of Mechanical Engineering, Amrita School of Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore – 641105, Tamilnadu, India

Abstract: The emerging business paradigm agility, namely, the ability to rapidly respond to changes in market and customer demand, addresses new ways of running companies to meet the challenges of today|s changing business environment. The need for agility has traditionally been associated with supply chains operating in high technology industries. However, more traditional industries such as in steel product manufacturing also face similar challenges in terms of speed, flexibility, increased product diversity and customisation. The main objective of this study is to identify those drivers that lead companies towards agility in the metal industry. The study analyses the driving forces and the ability for agility in two case networks. Both networks have their origin in the steel product manufacturing, but the changes in the business environment have led them to develop their ability for agility in different ways. Today, these networks represent two relatively different parts of the steel manufacturing industry. This paper concludes that the need for agility is clearly recognised in both case networks and has to seriously be taken into account in long-run strategy plans of companies.

Keywords: agility; metal industry; Finland; traditional industries; change; business environments; steel products; rapid response; changing markets; customer demand; high technology industries; speed; flexibility; product diversity; diversification; customisation; networks; long-term strategies; Rautaruukki Corporation; customer relationship management; e-CRM; electronic CRM; SCM; supply chain management; decision making; multivariate techniques; customer services.

DOI: 10.1504/IJECRM.2010.036186

International Journal of Electronic Customer Relationship Management, 2010 Vol.4 No.4, pp.395 - 414

Published online: 27 Oct 2010 *

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