The competitiveness of UK vehicle component manufacturers
This dissertation presents the results of using a multidisciplinary "business policy" approach to examine the competitive situation of UK vehicle component manufacturers. With the cooperation of the companies involved in six product sectors, detailed studies have been made comparing the strategies and performances of UK competitors over several years, as well as those of selected competitors in Japan, Germany and the USA. The UK vehicle component industry has undergone an unprecedented decline in performance. The causes of this decline are many. External factors outside the control of the companies concerned include the declining competitiveness of UK based vehicle manufacturers and the exceptionally unfavourable UK business environment including the pressure on real wages. But the decline in competitiveness of UK vehicle component manufacturers is not solely due to these factors outside their own control. Just as important is the lack of strategic management capability at the top management level of the companies themselves. Before the recession many of the companies failed to see the changes that were occurring in the pattern of competition and that their competitive position was slipping. Few recognised that competition was becoming more European or even more global. Even fewer were able to effectively analyse the situation, select a viable long term strategy and pursue it with commitment. Such a strategy required a choice of the part of the market in which to compete as well as how to compete particularly as far as longer term production strategy (productivity, quality, flexible manufacturing systems etc) was concerned. The recession only added to this problem and obscured the underlying cause. Many companies were forced to retrench but still have not recognised the longer term strategic issues which must be addressed if the long term decline is to be reversed.