A review of research and practice for the industrial networks of the future

Rob Dekkers, David Bennett

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter


Academic researchers have followed closely the interest of companies in establishing industrial networks by studying aspects such as social interaction and contractual relationships. But what patterns underlie the emergence of industrial networks and what support should research provide for practitioners? First, it appears that manufacturing is becoming a commodity rather than a unique capability, which accounts especially for low-technology approaches in downstream parts of the network, for example, in assembly operations. Second, the increased tendency towards specialisation has forced other, upstream, parts of industrial networks to introduce advanced manufacturing technologies for niche markets. Third, the capital market for investments in capacity, and the trade in manufacturing as a commodity, dominates resource allocation to a larger extent than was previously the case. Fourth, there is becoming a continuous move towards more loosely connected entities that comprise manufacturing networks. Finally, in these networks, concepts for supply chain management should address collaboration and information technology that supports decentralised decision-making, in particular to address sustainable and green supply chains. More traditional concepts, such as the keiretsu and chaibol networks of some Asian economies, do not sufficiently support the demands now being placed on networks. Research should address these five fundamental challenges to prepare for the industrial networks of 2020 and beyond. © 2010 Springer-Verlag London.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnterprise networks and logistics for agile manufacturing
EditorsLihui Wang, S.C. Lenny Koh
Place of PublicationLondon (UK)
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-84996-244-5
ISBN (Print)978-1-84996-243-8
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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