This paper reports how three UK “old economy” manufacturers are adapting their operations to meet the challenge of the “new economy”, in which it is claimed that dotcoms can deliver virtual products to cybercustomers at the speed of light. Successful manufacturing is not only about producing better goods than competitors but also about delivering a product/service package that solves customers' problems. Although e‐commerce can be used to reduce operating costs, any such advantage may be shortlived. The almost limitless connectivity of the Internet offers the opportunity to deliver an enhanced service to customers through improved communication throughout the supply chain. A differentiation strategy based on service enhancement can offer manufacturers a route to sustainable competitive advantage as an alternative to trying to compete on price alone. The cases illustrate how manufacturers can use e‐commerce for competitive advantage in the new economy.
Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 1, 2004
Keywords: Electronic commerce; Manufacturing industries; Competitive strategy; United Kingdom
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