This research is structured to identify the relationship between manufacturer-supplier collaboration (MSC), supplier capabilities and competitive advantages of both carmakers’ and suppliers’. The unit of analysis is 1st tier supplier registered with H ...
This research is structured to identify the relationship between manufacturer-supplier collaboration (MSC), supplier capabilities and competitive advantages of both carmakers’ and suppliers’. The unit of analysis is 1st tier supplier registered with Hyundai-KIA Motors Corporation; a survey was conducted targeting these 1st tier suppliers. Then, hypotheses were tested using a hierarchical multiple regression analysis and multiple regression analysis.
The findings of this study can be summarized as follows: First, five clearly distinguishable MSC types were identified. They are (1) collaborative communication, (2) collaboration in new car development, (3) collaborative problem-solving, (4) strategic purchasing, and (5) supplier development. These five types are conceptually distinct and comprehensive with respect to timing, nature of activities and purpose of collaboration as well as parties involved. Second, contrary to previous studies, suppliers’ buyer-multilateralization capability is found to affect MSC positively. Of suppliers’ capabilities, flexibility, dependability improvement, module, design, and 2nd tier supplier development/coordination capabilities affect MSC positively. Third, while technology uncertainty is found to have a significant moderating effect on the influence supplier capabilities exercise over collaborative problem-solving and strategic purchasing, it has no direct impact on any MSC type. Fourth, the types of MSC which influence carmakers’ competitive advantage are different from those of MSC affecting suppliers’ competitive advantage: the former are collaboration in new car development and strategic purchasing; the latter are collaborative problem-solving and supplier development. Because the former are more active in the automotive industry than are the letter, it can be conjectured that there is asymmetry in the influence of MSC on the competitive advantages of carmakers’ and those of suppliers’. Fifth, although collaboration in new car development also positively affects the performance of the carmaker, this influence is alleviated by the moderating effect of technology uncertainty. Quality improvement and module capabilities, in particular, directly affect a carmaker’s competitive advantage. With increasing technology uncertainty, carmakers would rather simply transact with such a supplier who has greater quality improvement and module capabilities than activate MSC with other suppliers.
This study considered technology uncertainty as a moderator of the impact that supplier capabilities have on MSC. Of note is that this study, based on resource-based view (RBV), examined factors affecting MSC focusing on supplier capabilities empirically. Theoretically, this is one of the few studies that empirically investigated issues related to RBV issues. In terms of methodology, surveys and interviews were conducted concurrently to ensure reliability of results. In addition, this research has not been conducted from the standpoint of buyers but from that of suppliers. Practically, 1st tier suppliers can review their MSC activities and identify which capabilities they need to develop in order to strengthen their MSC with due consideration of technology uncertainty. Auto manufacturers can also benefit from the empirically tested MSC typologies.