InterKom - Communication design in interorganizational production networks
Due to the increasing demands in industrial production, such as increasing competitive pressure and shortening product and technology life cycles, many companies merge into production networks. The main reasons for the steadily growing importance of these inter-organisational production networks are access to resources and new markets, the concentration on core competencies and the increase in production capacities. The cooperation is decisively influenced by the communication between the companies. As a result, communication relationships, which in addition to knowledge transfer also make a significant contribution to knowledge generation, must be adapted to the changed framework conditions.
In order to face this challenge, it is necessary to develop a standardized method for the quantitative analysis and design of communication interfaces in interorganizational production networks. The method is intended to enable companies to systematically quastion, shape and optimize their communication relationships. Therefore, the network of communication interfaces on an operational level, which has been investigated only in fragments up to now, will be tapped and communication in interorganizational production networks will be described. This is to be done, among others, by locating the interfaces, the type of communication and emerging barriers, like different technical jargon or time zones, and success factors as standardized forms. Such a method is currently being developed at the Institute of Production Systems and Logistics (Leibniz Universität Hannover) together with the Knowledge Architecture - Laboratory of Knowledge Architecture (Technische Universität Dresden) in a research project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The research project is based on the findings of two predecessor projects and continues these in a cross-company context, considering current trends. In previous projects, the communication interfaces in individual factories and their dynamic orientation have already been investigated. The current project deals with the design of communication interfaces in inter-organizational production networks and focuses on the challenge of communication between factories. The analysis methods created for this purpose are intended to enable factory planners and managers for the first time to quantitatively measure the performance of their communication networks in order to subsequently identify weak points in inter-organizational communication individually and purposefully with the results and to improve communication flows. For this purpose, sets of measures are derived specifically for the interorganizational context and all intermediate results are validated several times during the entire research project with partners in practice. Furthermore, the typologies identified in the studies serve as predictor for the emergence of potential communication barriers and help to proactively avoid them and even implement performance-enhancing measures. The development of descriptive, effective and procedural models for the collection and evaluation of the necessary data is to be made available to companies in order to be used extensively. Finally, the research project closes the gap in research for quantitative analyses of the communication of inter-organisational production networks at the operational level.