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Identifying key enablers to improve business performance in Taiwanese electronic manufacturing companies
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Purpose - Integrated supplier management (ISM), new product development (NPD) and knowledge sharing (KS) practices are three primary business activities utilised to enhance manufacturers' business performance. The purpose of this paper is to empirically investigate the relationships between these three business activities (i.e. ISM, NPD, KS) and business performance (BP) in a Taiwanese electronics manufacturing context. Design/ methodology/ approach - A questionnaire survey was firstly administered to a sample of electronic manufacturing companies operating in Taiwan to elicit the opinions of technical and managerial professionals regarding business activities and business performance within their companies. A total of 170 respondents from 83 companies responded to the survey. Factor, correlation and path analysis was undertaken on this quantitative data set to derive the key factors which leverage business outcomes in these companies. Following empirical analysis, six semi-structured interviews were undertaken with manufacturing executives to provide qualitative insights into the underlying reasons why certain business activity factors were the strongest predictors of business performance. Findings - The investigation showed that the ISM, NPD and KS constructs all played an important role in the success of company operations and creating business outcomes. Specifically, the key factors within these constructs which derived business performance were: (1) supplier evaluation and selection; (2) design simplification and modular design; (3) IT infrastructure and systems; and (4) open communication. Accordingly, sufficient financial and human resources should be allocated to these important activities to derive accelerated rates of improved business performance. These findings were supported by the qualitative interviews with manufacturing executives. Originality/ value - The paper depicts the pathways to improved manufacturing business performance, through targeting efforts into the above mentioned factors within the ISM, NPD and KS constructs. Based on the empirical path model, and the specific insights derived from the explanatory interviews with manufacturing executives, the paper also provides a number of practical implications for manufacturing companies seeking to enhance their business performance through improved operational activities. Keywords - integrated supply management, new product development, knowledge sharing, electronic manufacturing, Taiwan. Paper type - Research paper
International Journal of Operations & Production Management
Copyright 2010 Emerald. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.