The Path to Sustainability
Chapter 8: Effecting Collaborative Strategic Improvement in the Contractual Setting of an Extended Manufacturing Enterprise
INTRODUCTION This chapter describes an action learning initiative which differs from that described in Chapter 7 in one key area: the participating firms in the network action learning group were organized as an EME and the opportunity for action originated in their shared supply chain. It was a strategic network ambitious to become a learning and transformational network, as described in Appendix 2. In this quite different setting, the participating firms were systemically linked by the contractual relationships of system integrator and supplier. Accordingly, in this setting participation in the network action learning network had a compulsory tone to it and met against a background and history of pre-existing relationships between firms with an explicit basis of power inequality. This chapter describes an action learning programme, this time with an objective to facilitate collaborative strategic improvement in the EME. While the chapter describes and reflects on the experience of firms participating in the learning and transformational network, it demonstrates the applicability and achievability of network action learning in a contractual setting. EFFECTING COLLABORATIVE STRATEGIC IMPROVEMENT The focus of this network was collaborative improvement within the supply chain. The suppliers shared contractual relationships with common customers or system integrators. Of interest to each system integrator and, over time, to the suppliers was the development of a set of collaborative relationships with a particular focus on improvement. The rationale was 114 M2539 - COUGHLAN PRINT.indd 114 25/02/2011 14:43 Improvement in a contractual setting 115 that the competitiveness of the system integrator...