Finnish companies in the aerospace industry have practices that will help them emerge as winners from global competition, reveals Jaakko Sivusuo’s doctoral dissertation in Industrial Management. Competitive advantage can arise, for example, from partnerships, productised services as well as entrepreneurial and passionate individuals.
“Aerospace companies are no longer living in a national bubble, but they have to operate in the heavily competitive international market, whether they want it or not. In these circumstances, organisations are expected to take measures to overcome the competition”, says Sivusuo. The dissertation focuses on companies working in the aerospace industry. These companies, among other things, plan, manufacture and maintain aeroplanes and keep air travel safe.
The industry has experienced major changes over the past decade. Technological developments, B2B cooperation, competition and budget reductions have brought about changes that companies have to respond to. Some of the traditionally manual work is done by machines, the number of simulators in education is growing and cooperation between companies continues to increase year by year.
“Organisations have to react to these changes if they want to emerge as winners from the competition.” In his dissertation, Sivusuo presents concrete solutions by which organisations can build and maintain an edge over their competitors.
Every organisation needs passionate and entrepreneurial individuals to build success
According to Sivusuo, every organisation needs passionate and entrepreneurial individuals to build success. Therefore, organisations must be able to support enthusiasm and testing of new ideas as part of everyday activities. “Partnerships, individuals in the organisation and productised services bring competitive advantage in the aerospace industry,” says Sivusuo. “The role of individuals in building and sustaining success rises to great value. Organisations must also understand what types of individuals can create the best organisation. Such characteristics include passion, creativity and initiative. Obedience and diligence alone are no longer enough.”
The organisations participating in the research have practices relating to maintaining competitive advantage that help to overcome global competition. Concrete examples and organisational history confirm these findings. These include productised services which aim to stand out from competitors and which can, at the same time, provide customers with the best services in the industry.
Long-term cooperation can provide a strong competitive edge
Partnerships and B2B cooperation are strongly highlighted in the research. Long-term cooperation built on the right value base, unified goals and, above all, trust can give the organisation a strong competitive edge. However, this cooperation is not built in a day, but it takes its time. No organisation jumps automatically into a partnership; it is a strategic choice that involves mapping suitable partners.
Although the dissertation focuses heavily on the aerospace industry and its maintenance organisations, the models can be used in other organisations as well. According to Sivusuo, the processes, methods and models are applicable to every organisation, regardless of size and industry.
“My dissertation was inspired by the desire and motivation to learn more about the topic of strategic management. Research organisations and the aerospace industry also attracted my interest”, says Sivusuo. His dissertation was also inspired by his own family. Sivusuo‘s father has previously obtained his doctorate in science from the University of Vaasa – and even from the same discipline.
Sivusuo Jaakko (2019): Dynamic Capabilities – Myth or real deal for sustaining competitive advantage. Acta Wasaensia 414. Doctoral dissertation. University of Vaasa.