Dissertação de Mestrado


The Impact of Multinationals' Suppliers’ Clubs on the Internationalization Process of Local Small and Medium-sized Enterprises: The Case of Bosch Braga
João Pedro de Lima Correia Rodrigues

«The main objectives of this study are: to find how Bosch’s Suppliers’ Club in Braga can help the small and medium-sized enterprises involved to start (or boost) their internationalization process; and what is the role of interorganizational relationships and information sharing in this kind of strategic alliance. I also wish to understand the importance that a department focused on the management of this type of partnerships can have to multinational corporations; and to access the benefits of internal management of supply networks, over external management. In my empirical study I scheduled interviews inside Bosch Braga and with some suppliers that take part in this initiative. In a total of nine interviews, five of them were inside Bosch and four were with suppliers. The fact that a substantial number of interviews was conducted, and that both sides of this initiative were studied, gives me confidence that the information that was collected will be all the more useful. The results confirm my expectations. The integration of SMEs in these initiatives gives them the opportunity to enter higher level value chains that characterizes companies with greater size. These SMEs use benchmarking to learn with the multinationals the technical procedures that will be useful in the future. This guarantees them some safety and allows them to produce components that big costumers will be looking for in the future. This jump in quality opens windows for these smaller suppliers. Bosch will now be considered them as strategic suppliers; they can be contacted by any Bosch factory in the whole world and can also be contacted by any company that is interested in their products. When it comes to the strategic alliance department, the feedback was quite positive, with most of the interviewed individuals considering that the suppliers’ club is useful to Bosch: to better monitor its suppliers; to assess the suppliers; and even scan potential new partners that could enter this project. Internal supply network management was also favored over external, since it allows Bosch to have a closer relationship with its partners and share sensible information with more privacy, while keeping total control over its suppliers and making sure they are ready to face the challenges that Bosch and the automotive industry have for them. In terms of contributions, I am sure this dissertation will help scholars to understand the benefits of this type of initiatives and how good they are to smaller local firms. It might also serve as a sort of guideline when managing supplier networks and supplier relationships in general.»
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