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Managing resource dependencies in electric vehicle supply chains: a multi-tier case study

Dimitra Kalaitzi (Aston Logistics and Systems Institute, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University, Birmingham, UK)
Aristides Matopoulos (Aston Logistics and Systems Institute, Engineering Systems and Management, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University, Birmingham, UK)
Ben Clegg (Department of Operations and Information Management, Aston Business School, Aston University, Birmingham, UK)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 11 March 2019

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the Niche Vehicle Network, which is part of the Advanced Propulsion Centre UK, for financially supporting this research. The authors would also like to thank all the companies and people who took part in the empirical research.

Citation

Kalaitzi, D., Matopoulos, A. and Clegg, B. (2019), "Managing resource dependencies in electric vehicle supply chains: a multi-tier case study", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 256-270. https://doi.org/10.1108/SCM-03-2018-0116

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited