Academic journal article International Journal of Management

Key Factors Used by Manufacturers to Analyse Supply-Chain Operational Models: An Empirical Study among Notebook Computer Firms

Academic journal article International Journal of Management

Key Factors Used by Manufacturers to Analyse Supply-Chain Operational Models: An Empirical Study among Notebook Computer Firms

Article excerpt

Operational models of global supply chains consist primarily of the business model (OEM/ODM) and the process model (BTF/BTO/CTO). This study aims to understand the specific characteristics within different operational models used by to firm to achieve operational targets. An empirical study was conducted in Taiwan to identify the key factors used by managers in analyzing such supply chain models. Data were collected by means of in-depth interviews with 36 senior managers in 12 notebook computer firms in Taiwan. In the interviews managers used the four dimensions of 'supply chain targets, 'supply chain management efficiency', "strategic alliances' and 'logistics facility locations' and 64 initial factors to analyse and compare each of six main operational models, and thus to help them decide whether or not they should use the model in their attempts to achieve their various targets. The Grey Relation Analysis (GRA) method was used to identify the key factors in the global supply chain models upon which the mangers decisions were based. The results suggest that different factors were identified and used to analyse different operational models and to serve as reference points in making decisions about practical global operations. The results suggest that 'hidden knowledge' of the cooperative relationship between manufacturers and multinational brand companies plays an important role in the analysis and that it can be systematically described. A number of managerial implications are developed from the results, which could be helpful to further strategic analysis.

1. Introduction

Innovative global supply chain management operations are critical for modern enterprises aspiring to work in multinational business activities. In the face of globalization, managers of transnational companies need to understand the key characteristics within the existing operational models. Such understanding will equip them to make effective managerial decisions regarding global operations and accommodate themselves to the dynamically changing business environment.

Excellent process control in manufacturing and product quality is the most important competitive advantages for Taiwanese firms in the global notebook-computer market. These characteristics have driven the continue growth of Taiwanese notebook firms and helped them achieve a 74.7% global market share through cooperation with major international brands such as HPQ, Dell, IBM, Fujitsu, NEC, Sony, Acer, Apple, and Gateway which together have a combined market share of 80%. OEM/ODM (OEM is an abbreviation of "Original Equipment Manufacturing" and ODM is an abbreviation of "Original Design Manufacturing") are the main business models in Taiwan and together account for 94% of domestic production volume. Table 1 shows the global market share of Taiwanese notebook-computer manufacturers. Such manufacturers play an important role in supporting multinational brands in their global logistics operations due to their flexibility, efficiency and quality.

Facing a changeable and competitive global market, Taiwanese notebook-computer manufacturers must establish strong competences to satisfy the different requirements of multinational brands in terms of global logistics. Simultaneously, how to reduce the costs associated with purchasing, manufacturing, assembling, warehousing and marketing is also important. Differentiated strategies need to be implemented to integrate and support the global supply chain operations of global brands. This study attempts to distinguish the key factors involved in different dimensions of global operations by using this complicated system. Nevertheless, factors respected by decision makers among global supply chain operations involve intricate interrelations. Thus, an empirical study of 12 notebook-computer manufacturers located in Taiwan is illustrated through the questionnaires and depth-interviews to gain more comprehensive information. Additionally, a conceptual reference model based on factor relational structure is formulated to identify the links with global supply chain operations. …

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