The Role of Sustainability in Strategic Thinking in Norwegian Shipbuilding Industry
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The Norwegian shipbuilding industry is one of the most well integrated and well developed shipbuilding industries in the world. It has established its supremacy as the strategic leader in product offerings and technical expertise required to meet the needs of challenging vessel operation environments. However, stiff competition from shipbuilding industries based in low cost countries such as China and South Korea has turned out to be a great challenge to this vital industry. In addition to this, the growing concern about environmental pollution and stringent emission control regulations coming in to force in various parts of the world. This has made sustainability issues a prime focus of the industry. These two factors have made the topic of strategic thinking and sustainability focus in activities, a hot topic of discussion both in the academic circle and the industry alike. There have been a good number of studies and research projects aimed at helping the industry overcome these challenges. But most of these research projects have restricted itself to studying just the technical challenges or business issues plaguing the industry. Even though a few of them have successfully studied and analysed the role of sustainability issues in the strategies of the industry, the topic still seems to lack a clear focus in the industry. This thesis aims at closing this gap between strategic thinking process of the industry and the role of sustainability issues in it. This research work strives at achieving this goal by studying the existing strategic thinking process in the industry and the practical steps it has taken to improve performance related to sustainability issues through a case study method. Further, the thesis analyses these findings in the light of existing literature on strategic thinking and sustainability strategies. The findings from the interviews carried out as part of the case study point towards the industry s need for innovative production methods to improve both financial and environmental performance of the industry. The report focuses on two innovative production concepts that have potential applicability in the industry, namely, lean production and remanufacturing. These concepts are analysed and correlated to sustainable strategies put forward by the Natural Resource Based View (NRBV) proposed by Hart. As the lean production concept has been already introduced in the system to some extent, the thesis focusses on the second concept of remanufacturing. This research work further endeavours to develop a strategic decision making framework that would assist the shipbuilding companies in making a well calculated strategic decision on remanufacturing a vessel. This five stage strategic decision making framework is illustrated and discussed in detail in the thesis. This will help in bridging the gap between existing studies on industrial strategies and environmental challenges. Further work could include testing the framework in a real industrial setting. The author believes that a well framed decision making model that incorporates sustainability solution will be a great contribution to the academic discourse on the aforementioned topics.