University of Twente Student Theses


Skill Requirements for Initial Supplier Integration in Industry 4.0 : a case-based research in the German metal manufacturing industry

Strauch, Phillip (2021) Skill Requirements for Initial Supplier Integration in Industry 4.0 : a case-based research in the German metal manufacturing industry.

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Abstract:Within the growing body of Industry 4.0 related research, an increasing number of sophisticating technologies can be identified that connects buying and supplying organizations. However, the initial integration of suppliers in these systems and the buying company is a function within the Purchasing and Supply Management department that got little attention regarding the required skills in literature. As skill development is crucial for the company’s success, this research aims to understand the technological system interfaces that prescribe the needed role and ultimately find the function-/ and role-specific skill requirements. Furthermore, it aims to understand the impact of the international distance towards the supplier and the product portfolio on these requirements. By conducting qualitative research in the form of eight semi-structured interviews in the German metal manufacturing industry, a new skill cluster for the initial supplier integration has been found. Starting with system usage, a high current share of eProcurement technologies with the perspective for Big Data and automation is connected to the role of the Cross-functional Supplier Onboarding Manager. This role stresses the system-specific integration embedded in the cross-functional management task. The required skills reflect this bipolar orientation so that Communication skills, Cross-functional abilities & knowledge, and Networking skills represent the cross-functional management, and Computer Literacy and Product Knowledge the technical task. The direct impact of internationality adds Language skills and Cultural Awareness to this portfolio. Indirectly impacting is the product portfolio by changing the system interface. Non-critical items use more standardized interfaces, shifting the focus on the technical onboarding, whereas strategic items sourcing employ individual communicative systems, stressing the need for closer personal interactions. Limited are these findings by the qualitative methodological approach, the industrial and geographical specification, and only two influencing variables. Hence, future research directions are discussed and suggested.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:International Business Administration BSc (50952)
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