Center for Advanced Management




Prof. Charles Steinfield (Michigan State University)


  • Datum: 26.05.2010
    Zeit: 17:15 - 18:45
    Ort: Raum 024, Ludwigstr. 28 / RG

Cooperative Advantage and Vertical Information Systems Standards: An Automotive Supply Chain Case Study

The establishment of inter-organizational information systems has long been a challenge for companies due to lack of standards, competitive dynamics, and high costs.  In recent years, efforts to promote vertical (or industry-wide) information system (VIS) standards have been energized by the availability of lower cost Internet-based technologies and services, providing new impetus for the implementation of inter-organizational systems (IOS). Yet development, implementation, and effective use of IOS with trading partners remain an elusive goal for many companies, despite growing complexity in supply chains and evidence that lack of interoperable information systems results in enormous costs.  In this study, we use an in-depth case analysis in the automotive sector to 1) illustrate why achieving interoperable information systems in the supply chain is so difficult, and 2) suggest approaches that can resolve some of the collective action dilemmas that have prevented effective IOS development and use in the past.  In particular, we focus on the history of efforts by one large automotive manufacturer to establish electronic linkages with their supply chain partners, within the context of an ongoing project aimed at developing new standards for sharing data in long distance supply chains.  We show that past efforts to connect electronically with trading partners suffered from a limited, dyadic approach to  information exchange requirements as well as a view that such information systems are a source of competitive advantage. This has led firms to pursue individually-focused strategies which are unlikely to achieve either private or collective benefits.  Evidence from a pilot study of the new standard suggests that a cooperative approach to IOS in the supply chain can enhance prospects for industry profitability.  We conclude with a summary of lessons learned, both for practitioners and researchers interested in inter-organizational information systems.