Managing global network operations along the engineering value chain

Yufeng Zhang, M Gregory

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    63 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose - This paper aims to improve understanding of how to manage global network operations from an engineering perspective. Design/methodology/approach - This research adopted a theory building approach based on case studies. Grounded in the existing literature, the theoretical framework was refined and enriched through nine in-depth case studies in the industry sectors of aerospace, automotives, defence and electrics and electronics. Findings - This paper demonstrates the main value creation mechanisms of global network operations along the engineering value chain. Typical organisational features to support the value creation mechanisms are captured, and the key issues in engineering network design and operations are presented with an overall framework. Practical implications - Evidenced by a series of pilot applications, outputs of this research can help companies to improve the performance of their current engineering networks and design new engineering networks to better support their global businesses and customers in a systematic way. Originality/value - Issues about the design and operations of global engineering networks (GEN) are poorly understood in the existing literature in contrast to their apparent importance in value creation and realisation. To address this knowledge gap, this paper introduces the concept of engineering value chain to highlight the potential of a value chain approach to the exploration of engineering activities in a complex business context. At the same time, it develops an overall framework for managing GEN along the engineering value chain. This improves our understanding of engineering in industrial value chains and extends the theoretical understanding of GEN through integrating the engineering network theories and the value chain concepts.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)736-764
    Number of pages29
    JournalInternational Journal of Operations & Production Management
    Issue number7-8
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


    • Engineering operations
    • Value chain
    • Global engineering networks (GEN)
    • Network organizations
    • Industrial engineering


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