Technology competence creates competitive advantages (2/2)

[Deutsche Fassung]

In a former blog entry I presented key results of the study “Technologische Kompetenz und nachhaltiger Wettbewerbsvorteil” (“Technology Competence and Sustained Competitive Advantages”, available only in German) published by the Institute of Technology and Process Management at Ulm University in March 2012. Of a total of 175 German companies – mostly from the mechanical engineering, automobile and metalworking sectors – which participated in the study, 12 out of 114 SMEs (11%) and 5 out of 61 larger companies (8%) belong to the benchmark group. Weiterlesen

Technology competence creates competitive advantages (1/2)

[Deutsche Fassung]

Will innovation create sustainable, long-term competitive advantages? Is there a positive connection between successful innovation (with regard to either products or procedures) and corporate success? The answer to both questions is clearly “yes”. That is the ultimate result of a study on “Technologische Kompetenz und nachhaltiger Wettbewerbsvorteil” (“Technology Competence and Sustained Competitive Advantages”, available only in German) published by the Institute of Technology and Process Management at Ulm University in March 2012. Prof. Dr. Leo Brecht, the director of the institute, says that the study aims to show how technology competence can boost competitiveness, in what way well-performing technology-oriented SMEs differ from their less well-performing counterparts and what the differences between SMEs and larger companies are. 175 companies from all German regions participated in the study. Most of them belong to the mechanical engineering, automobile and metalworking sectors. Weiterlesen

Learn from people from related fields: the RWTH Exchange between Experts

[Deutsche Fassung]

Business is war and peace. But not like in Tolstoy’s novel, in which war and peace alternate. No – in business life, war and peace occur simultaneously. As Ray Noorda, the founder of software company Novell, put it: “You have to compete and cooperate at the same time.” American authors Adam Brandenburger and Barry Nalebuff used Noorda’s term “co-opetition” as the title of their much-noticed book of 1996, in which they described the phenomenon in more detail. They wrote about the new mind-set: “Business is cooperation when it comes to creating a pie and competition when it comes to dividing it up.” Weiterlesen

Revolution and evolution – look back to look forward

[Deutsche Fassung]

New products are often described as “revolutionary” in order to ensure a certain response in the market. In most cases, however, there is nothing revolutionary about the products or procedures. In many cases, product improvements are evolutionary in that they satisfy an existing market demand more quickly or cheaply than their predecessors.

What is it that makes an innovation “revolutionary” – and is it possible to produce this unknown component on the spot? (see also our article on “Supply Chain Mangament – a way to procure innovation”) Weiterlesen

Supply chain management: Just talk to each other

[Deutsche Fassung]

Using the term “supply chain management” in a discussion will initially earn you some confused looks. Some of your discussion partners will think of the complete supply chain – from procurement to processing and ultimately distribution –, others only of sub-suppliers. And quickly, the discussion will move on to commodity prices and other issues.

However, supply-chain management is quite an important issue. Just try to combine this term with the words “partnership” and “key account management”, ideally in the same sentence. Distributors will at once begin to fear that their flexibility is to be restricted or that they may have to accept unacceptable “Terms and Conditions” in their distribution agreements. Weiterlesen

How to relocate production successfully

[Deutsche Fassung]

The relocation of production is nothing new. Nevertheless, each such endeavour is a small adventure.

Without going into specifics, I would like to present an example: the production of a traditional machine, which requires several value-adding steps – from traditional machining (turning, milling, grinding) to further processing (chrome-plating) to mounting and electrical installation. Weiterlesen