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Enabling Successful Collaboration on Digital Platforms in the Manufacturing Industry: A Study of Digital Twins
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this study is to enhance the understanding of how to successfully collaborate on digital platforms in the manufacturing industry by developing a contingency framework. To fulfill this purpose, the following research questions were derived: RQ1: Which challenges arise when collaborating on digital platforms in the manufacturing industry? and RQ2: How can collaboration challenges on digital platforms in the manufacturing industry be managed?

Method – The study was conducted as an explorative, inductive single case study of a digital platform. More specifically, the study examined the development process of a digital twin platform created by a large high-technological company and its collaborative actors. In total, 21 interviews were conducted at eight different companies. The respondents all had experience of digital twin platforms, where some were working with digital twins sporadically and others on a daily basis. The data were analyzed through a thematic analysis.

Findings – The analysis reveals that actors on digital platforms can face five types of challenges that hinder a successful collaboration: disadvantages of dependency, uncertainty regarding data management, varying customer needs, insufficient work methods, and unsuitable payment models. The analysis also reveals four strategies that can be used to address the challenges: transparency strategy, incentive model strategy, servitization strategy, and control strategy. Moreover, these findings are summarized in a contingency framework that explains which types of challenges that can be addressed with which strategies based on the specific prerequisites of each collaboration.

Theoretical and practical implications – The study extends the digital platform literature by providing empirical evidence for several collaboration challenges among the actors on a digital platform, which has previously bee not been studied. Additionally, the study provides evidence of how these challenges can be addressed. Our framework helps manufacturing companies to successfully adopt digital platforms by providing managers with the tools to handle the required collaboration.

Limitations and further research – The study is limited by a single case study of a specific digital platform. Thus, to extend the findings, further research that examines other contexts are recommended. Moreover, the establishment of the studied platform is currently in an early phase which limits the study to hypothetical challenges and management methods. To validate the findings, further research that examines a fully developed and implemented platform is recommended.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 61
Keywords [en]
Digital platform, Digital twin, Manufacturing industry, Collaboration, Challenges, Strategies, Actors, Roles
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-74523OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-74523DiVA, id: diva2:1324680
Educational program
Industrial and Management Engineering, master's level
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-06-18 Created: 2019-06-14 Last updated: 2019-06-19Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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