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005
Publications

2017

Institutional networks for supporting the internationalisation of SMEs: the case of industrial business associations

Authors
Costa, E; Soares, AL; de Sousa, JP;

Publication
JOURNAL OF BUSINESS & INDUSTRIAL MARKETING

Abstract
Purpose - This paper aims to study and explore the activities and the use of institutional network resources by industrial business associations (IBAs) to support and facilitate internationalisation processes of small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Other goals are to understand the internationalisation follow-up process and the future vision of IBAs to improve this internationalisation support. Design/methodology/approach - Based on empirical evidence and following an abductive approach, this paper presents a qualitative exploratory field research, providing insights from interviews performed with 20 IBAs based in Portugal. Findings - The findings suggest that the current institutional network support to internationalisation is mainly provided through promotional activities; counselling, training and technical and legal support; information sharing; and cooperation with other institutional entities. Each support category is explored and explained and a new conceptual model is developed to represent these findings. Regarding the internationalisation follow-up, IBAs provide a continuous support for the international operations by using some instruments and mechanisms to assist SMEs after an internationalisation initiative. Finally, collaboration and the use of new information technology are the main aspects to improve IBAs' support in a near future. Research limitations/implications - The qualitative methodological approach adopted in this work can imply a larger difficulty to obtain a generalisation of the findings. Another limitation is that the participating IBAs are based in only one country. Practical implications - Findings can help SMEs to understand the functioning and the benefits of using the institutional network resources of IBAs in overcoming their lack of resources to operate in international markets. IBAs can also understand their current position in terms of internationalisation support and think about new ways for improving this support. Originality/value - This paper contributes to a better understanding of the influence of institutional networks in SME internationalisation by exploring the specific role of one of the institutional actors rather than focusing on the institutional network as a whole. Therefore, this study details the current activities and uncovers other types of support provided by IBAs that are not based on export promotion programmes. New knowledge is also obtained about the specific information content, information sources and means and channels of information sharing used by IBAs for supporting SME internationalisation.

2017

A dynamic multi-objective approach for the reconfigurable multi-facility layout problem

Authors
Azevedo, MM; Crispim, JA; de Sousa, JP;

Publication
JOURNAL OF MANUFACTURING SYSTEMS

Abstract
The multi-facility layout problem involves the physical organization of departments inside several facilities, to allow flexible and efficient operations. This work studies the facility layout problem in a new perspective, considering a group of facilities, and two different concerns: the location of departments within a group of facilities, and the location of departments inside each facility itself. The problem is formulated as a Quadratic Programming Problem with multiple objectives and unequal areas, allowing layout reconfigurations in each planning period. The objectives of the model are: the minimization of costs (material handling inside facilities and between facilities, and re-layout); the maximization of adjacency between departments; and the minimization of the "unsuitability" of department positions and locations. This unsuitability measure is a new objective proposed in this work, to combine the characteristics of existing locations with the requirements of departments. The model was tested with data from the literature as well as with a problem inspired in a first tier supplier in the automotive industry. Preliminary results show that this work can be viewed as an innovative and promising integrated approach for tackling real, complex facility layout problems.

2017

A simulation-optimization approach to integrate process design and planning decisions under technical and market uncertainties: A case from the chemical-pharmaceutical industry

Authors
Marques, CM; Moniz, S; de Sousa, JP; Barbosa Povoa, AP;

Publication
Computers & Chemical Engineering

Abstract

2016

Information, knowledge and collaboration management in the internationalisation of SMEs: A systematic literature review

Authors
Costa, E; Soares, AL; de Sousa, JP;

Publication
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFORMATION MANAGEMENT

Abstract
Information and knowledge can be seen as key resources for improving the internationalisation processes of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Collaboration has also been considered as an important facilitator of these processes, particularly by nurturing information and knowledge sharing. However, the current literature is unclear about the way SMEs can access information and assimilate knowledge in a collaborative network context, to support decision-making. This paper systematically reviews the literature, examining the role of information, knowledge and collaboration in internationalisation decisions of SMEs. To this end, 38 relevant journal articles were analysed, with the identification of some important issues, as well as gaps in the existing empirical knowledge. This analysis provided valuable input for the development of research suggestions and directions for future work in this area.

2016

Layout Design and Reconfiguration in a Collaborative Manufacturing Network

Authors
Azevedo, MM; Crispim, JA; de Sousa, JP;

Publication
COLLABORATION IN A HYPERCONNECTED WORLD

Abstract
This study explores strategic agility of an automotive corporate group and its influence on facility layouts and operational performance. Strategic agility is viewed here as a firm's strategic intent to achieve agile operations through collaboratively deploying the layouts of a set of facilities, driven by a management focus on improving its responsiveness and adaptability to customers' requirements. Our "collaborative multi-facility layout problem" involves the physical organization of departments between and inside several facilities geographically dispersed, that collaborate in manufacturing a complex product in a given time window. The model proposed in this work allows us to analyse the benefits of new horizontal collaboration forms with respect to several objectives, namely costs (material handling inside and between facilities, re-layout) and adjacency between departments. A case study of a first tier supplier in the automotive industry shows the applicability potential of the approach to real-life problems. The results show that horizontal collaboration among the facilities can positively influence the performance of the corporate group as a whole, and that of each firm individually.

Supervised
thesis

2017

Collaboration and information management in the internationalisation of SMEs: a case in industrial business associations

Author
Eric Simão Macieira da Costa

Institution
UP-FEUP

2017

Modelo de apoio à decisão de investimento em campanhas de marketing

Author
Filipe Miguel Queiroz Pedrosa

Institution
UP-FEUP

2017

Contributions for network design in urban freight distribution systems

Author
Lucas Rebouças Guimarães

Institution
UP-FEUP

2017

Maximização da margem dos produtos importados através da reversão do Incoterm

Author
Guilherme Barcelos de Almeida

Institution
UP-FEUP

2017

A Decision Support System for Investments in Public Transport Infrastructure

Author
Marcos Paulo Schlickmann

Institution
UP-FEUP