Automobile assembly plants worldwide face increasing pressures in the environmental arena. How a plant responds to these issues has significant implications for the cost and quality of plant operations. This paper uses three case studies of US assembly plants to examine the role of partnerships between original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and their suppliers in improving the environmental performance of manufacturing operations. We find that strong partnerships with suppliers, supported by appropriate incentive systems, were a significant element of the successful application of innovative environmental technologies. Supplier staff members were an important part of achieving environmental performance improvements while maintaining production quality and cost goals. The management factors influencing the extent and nature of supplier involvement are identified. The results of this work point to the importance of suppliers in addressing the manufacturing challenges of the future.
International Journal of Operations & Production Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 1, 2000
Keywords: Innovation; Environmental management strategy; Process Management; Suppliers; Partnering; Motor industry
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