The Role of Company Standards in Supply Chains – The Case of the German Automotive Industry

TitleThe Role of Company Standards in Supply Chains – The Case of the German Automotive Industry
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsGroßmann, A-M, von Gruben, P
EditorBlecker, T, Kersten, W, Ringle, CM
Title of ProceedingsInnovative Methods in Logistics and Supply Chain Management
Conference LocationHamburg
ISBN Number978-3-8442-9878-9; 978-3-8442-9880-2
ISSN NumberISSN (print) 2365-4430, ISSN (online) 2365-5070
Keywordscompany standards, standardization management, supplier management, Supply Chain Management

Company standards cover aspects such as quality assurance, testing
procedures and terms of delivery. They are used not only internally but also
imposed on suppliers. In this function, company standards have a potential to
facilitate knowledge diffusion along the supply chain as well as assuring
supplier’s quality and have an impact on the bargaining power equilibrium
between the buyer and its supplier. Especially in the automotive industry these
aspects play an important role. This article uses a mixed methods approach to
explore the employment of company standards in the supply chain of the
German automotive industry with a special focus on the company’s position
within this supply chain. We analyze quantitative data from the German
standardization panel to map the usage of company standards on different
stages of the supply chain. An extensive qualitative analysis reveals how
company standards play a role in the automotive supply chain. By examining
the network that company standards span between manufacturers, suppliers
and raw material producers we are able to highlight the various ways of
diffusion of codified knowledge along the supply chain. This analysis reveals
that especially large and powerful downstream players are able to burden their
company standards on their suppliers but also upstream producers can provide
their standards to their customers. Suppliers use different tactics to deal with
heterogeneous external company standards they receive from their buyers. The
results show that company standards can be a tool to manage the delivered
quality of suppliers in the automotive industry but the different company
standards of multiple buyers can lead to increased efforts on part of the