Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate dependencies that arise between companies during the ramp-up of production volume in the electric vehicle (EV) supply chain. Design/methodology/approach: An inter-company case study method has been used. Data were collected via tours of manufacturing plants, workshops and interviews from multiple tiers in a supply chain, namely, a niche EV manufacturer, as well as two of its tier-one suppliers and five of its tier-two suppliers. Findings: As production volumes increased, a more relational approach was found to be necessary in inter-company relationships. The authors’ research showed that key suppliers, in addition to providing the parts, pursued a supply chain orchestrator’s role by offering direct support and guidance to the niche EV manufacturer in designing and executing its development plans. Research limitations/implications: The resource dependence theory (RDT) is used to analyse and explain the changing dependencies throughout the planning and execution of production ramp-up. Practical implications: This study will help supply chain managers to better manage resource dependencies during production ramp-up. Originality/value: This study explores dependencies during the early stages of the production ramp-up process in the EV sector, which is in itself in the early stages of evolution. RDT is used for the first time in this context. This study has moved beyond a simple dyadic context, by providing empirical insights into the actions taken by an EV manufacturer and its suppliers, towards a multi-tier supply chain context, to better manage resource dependencies.
Bibliographical note© Emerald Publishing Limited 2019
Published by Emerald Publishing Limited
Licensed re-use rights only
Funding: Advanced Propulsion Centre UK.
- Case study
- Electric vehicle
- Production ramp-up
- Resource dependence theory
- Supply chain management