Previously published as: Integrated Manufacturing Systems
Online from: 2004
Subject Area: Operations and Logistics Management
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|Title:||The lead factory concept: benefiting from efficient knowledge transfer|
|Author(s):||Patricia Deflorin, (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland), Helmut Dietl, (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland), Markus Lang, (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland), Maike Scherrer-Rathje, (Institute of Technology Management, University of St Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland)|
|Citation:||Patricia Deflorin, Helmut Dietl, Markus Lang, Maike Scherrer-Rathje, (2012) "The lead factory concept: benefiting from efficient knowledge transfer", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 23 Iss: 4, pp.517 - 534|
|Keywords:||Factories, Knowledge transfer, Lead factory, Manufacturing industries, Network|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/17410381211230466 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Acknowledgements:||The authors wish to acknowledge useful comments and suggestions on a previous draft by the conference participants of the Annual POMS Conference 2009 – especially John Gray. Financial assistance was provided by grants of the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation (9911.1 PFES-ES) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (Grant No. 100014-120503).|
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to compare two distinct network structures to determine and show which structure is more profitable. Specifically, it aims to show which factors render the lead factory concept advantageous.
Design/methodology/approach – Based on a simple, two-stage model for prototype and serial production, the authors highlight factors that determine the relative advantages and disadvantages of the lead factory concept in comparison to an archetype network. The archetype network mirrors those networks that have not implemented special strategic plant roles.
Findings – The analysis shows that the lead factory concept benefits from an efficient knowledge transfer. Particularly, it is more profitable than the archetype network under the following conditions: there are a high number of production plants; the adaptation costs for implementing the transferred prototype from the lead factory to the plant are low; the manufacturing costs for the prototype are high; and the manufacturing processes are not highly specific or knowledge intensive.
Originality/value – The paper enables better understanding of the conditions under which the lead factory concept is advantageous for transferring knowledge within an intra-firm network.
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