The purpose of this paper is to investigate the resources and capabilities required by manufacturers to develop and deliver multi-vendor solutions.
A multi-case design comprising six UK-based manufacturers: two from each of the aerospace/defence, information technology and telecommunications sectors.
Manufacturers can be characterized by their propensity to include products from other vendors in their solutions; single vendor solution providers (SVSPs) focus on solutions comprising their own products, while multi-vendor solution providers (MVSPs) fully embrace products from other manufacturers. Three capabilities were identified which distinguish MVSPs from SVSPs given the complexity of multi-vendor solutions (expertise specifying the solution, engineers trained in implementing/supporting the solution, partnerships with component suppliers of the solution). These capabilities are underpinned by both technical capability and impartiality in solution specification.
MVSPs need to be impartial when specifying customer solutions. They should be guided by the best interests of the customer rather than the interests of the product-based SBUs. Achieving impartiality can conflict with some manufacturers' product heritage. The research has focused on three sectors; further research is needed to test whether the findings are applicable beyond these sectors.
Solutions are a valuable approach in creating market differentiation, although not all manufacturers will possess the resources/capabilities to be successful.
A continuum of solution providers is proposed; SVSPs at one extreme and MVSPs at the other. The operant resource-based capability “impartiality” was identified as being particularly important to MVSPs in creating value for customers.
Owen Raddats, C. and Burton, J. (2014), "Creating multi-vendor solutions: the resources and capabilities required", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 132-142. https://doi.org/10.1108/JBIM-04-2012-0061Download as .RIS
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