Talented suppliers? Strategic change and innovation in the UK aerospace industry
The 1990s marked the start of extensive re-structuring in the aerospace industry throughout the world. While the ensuing consolidation among prime contractors has been widely researched, the changes affecting the aerospace supplier base have received less attention. This exploratory study focuses on the supplier base and points to extensive re-structuring. Unlike many earlier studies, the lean supply model was found to be a rather powerful influence, with suppliers moving away from subcontractor status and taking on the mantle of ‘talented’ suppliers. However, the bolder predictions of lean supply, in terms of the dynamics of innovation, were less apparent, although there were signs that some suppliers, who genuinely warranted the title ‘talented’, were engaging in valuable process innovations.
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