Platforms, Markets and Innovation
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Platforms, Markets and Innovation

Edited by Annabelle Gawer

Annabelle Gawer presents cutting-edge contributions from 24 top international scholars from 19 universities across Europe, the USA and Asia, from the disciplines of strategy, economics, innovation, organization studies and knowledge management. The novel insights assembled in this volume constitute a fundamental step towards an empirically based, nuanced understanding of the nature of platforms and the implications they hold for the evolution of industrial innovation. The book provides an overview of platforms and discusses governance, management, design and knowledge issues.
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Chapter 10: Outsourcing of Tasks and Outsourcing of Assets: Evidence from Automotive Supplier Parks in Brazil


Mari Sako1 1. INTRODUCTION Supplier parks represent a recent template for organizing in the global automotive industry in the last decade. The template combines outsourcing and co-location of suppliers on automakers’ sites. Its implementation began in Brazil, with Volkswagen’s modular consortium in Resende in 1996, followed closely by other greenfield sites, including General Motors in Gravataí in 2000 and Ford in Camaçari in 2002. This chapter draws on evidence from these three sites to analyze supplier parks as an example of what Gawer (Chapter 3 in this volume) calls supply chain platforms. Supplier parks consist of multiple firms that develop modules and systems that fit the product platform designed by the automaker. As such, the use and maintenance of the product platform becomes an interfirm (rather than an intra-firm) affair, requiring attention not only to product design performance but also to supply-chain design performance. Because suppliers with divergent interests come together in a competitive– cooperative ecosystem, the performance of supply chain design depends on the development of site-specific norms and the structuring of incentives to enhance site-wide performance. This chapter considers three design parameters in supply chain platforms, namely the degree of task outsourcing, the pattern of asset ownership, and the nature of relational governance. The key contribution of this chapter lies in systematically comparing the three supplier parks with theoretical perspectives that combine engineering design, organization economics and economic sociology. In particular, outsourcing of tasks (a focus of engineering analysis) facilitates the disintegration of asset ownership (a focus...

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