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By Dr Christopher Carr

This publication addresses the common quandary concerning British industry's skill to compete the world over. via an research of the united kingdom automobile elements area, the writer examines the important matters on the center of the competitiveness debate and descriptions why there was any such frequent and critical decline within the functionality of British production. It attracts on findings from visits to thirty British brands and likewise to thirty in a foreign country brands in Germany, america and Japan, matched on a product foundation to permit comparisons and a real foreign point of view. the writer concludes that aggressive decline is due, partially, to a weak spot within the strategic administration potential of many united kingdom businesses, and in addition to the shortcoming of sufficient co-ordination and co-operation among purchaser and provider industries. Dr Carr identifies the rest components of vulnerability and priorities for motion, and at last considers the consequences for Britain's total competitiveness.

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Additional resources for Britain's Competitiveness: The Management of the Vehicle Component Industry

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The key role played by technology in determining competitive success has been evidenced in a number of industries (Pavitt, 1980). The impact of Pilkington’s float glass process in 1958 on the pattern of competition is an example of this. Lorenz (1986) highlights the importance of design. Yet despite an excellent record in terms of fundamental research and inventions. Britain again appears weak in comparison with Germany, in terms of more basic engineering (Hutton and Lawrence, 1981). 34 ACHIEVING COMPETITIVENESS None of this is to deny the importance of financial and marketing principles already discussed; but strategic thinking risks becoming dangerously superficial if more detailed operational and technological issues are not properly addressed.

Continued competitiveness demands that internal policies be continuously and appropriately adapted in the face of increasingly rapid, external environmental change, and this is scarcely going to happen if organisational processes are deficient. Such processes are important both in the formulation and implementation of strategic change (Miles and Snow, 1978; Johnson and Scholes, 1984; Johnson, 1987). Competitiveness ultimately stems from a system’s performance along so many dimensions, that the final reason for differences in company performance is merely the accumulation of slightly better performance in a host of specific areas, rather than any single ‘big issue’.

The American experience would seem to confirm the views economists such as Layard (1986) that more can be done to revive demand levels and employment. However the danger in expecting too much from government is that this encourages people to forget that the major contribution must come from their own genuine willingness to reduce pressure on immediate consumption. So far such a message has been politically unsellable. Unions have tended to prefer to blame successive Conservative governments for unemployment, rather than accepting any trade-off in the living standards of members actually in work.

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