Industrial networks of the future: review of research and practice

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? Firstly, 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. Secondly, the increased tendency towards specialization has forced other, upstream, parts of industrial networks to introduce advanced manufacturing technologies to supply niche markets. Thirdly, the capital market for investments in capacity, and the trade in manufacturing as a commodity, dominates resource allocation to a larger extent than previously was the case. Fourthly, there is a continuous move towards more loosely connected entities that comprise manufacturing networks. 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 four fundamental challenges to prepare for the industrial networks of 2020 and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDispersed manufacturing networks
Subtitle of host publicationchallenges for research and practice
EditorsRob Dekkers
Place of PublicationLondon (UK)
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-84882-468-3
ISBN (Print)978-1-84882-467-6
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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