Paragraph on Virtual Corporations!
To the outside observer, it will appear almost edgeless, with permeable and continuously changing interfaces between company, suppliers and customers.
From inside the firm, it will look like a traditional corporation with traditional offices, departments and operating divisions constantly reforming according to need.
Job responsibilities will regularly shift as will lines of authority in virtual corporations.
In the words of manufacturing expert Earl Hall “The complex product markets of the 21st century will demand the ability to quickly and globally deliver a high variety of customised products. These products will be differentiated not only by form and function, but also by the services provided with the product, including the ability for the customer to be involved in the design of the product. A manufacturing company will not be an isolated facility of production, but rather a node in the complex network of suppliers, customers, engineering and other service functions.”
Building virtual products will require taking a sophisticated information network that gathers data on markets and customer needs, combining it with the latest design methods and computer-integrated production processes and then operating that includes highly skilled employees of the company together with suppliers, distributors, retailers and even consumers.
There will be profound changes in the company’s distribution system and its internal organisation as they evolve to become more customer- driven and customer managed. Supplier networks will have to be integrated with those of customers. Suppliers will become very much dependent on their downstream customers and the customers will be equally trapped by their suppliers.
For many firms the challenge of all this change will prove too great. For some employees, the experience will be more traumatic than that of the changes demanded by the past transformations. The change will be unpredictability, lack of comfortable structure and too much of responsibility. All companies which are contented to maintain status-quo indefinitely may not only encounter change but be forced to endure continuous, unremitting, almost unendurable transmutation.
Corporations that expect to remain competitive must quickly achieve mastery of both information and relationships. The process of corporate revision must be both rapid and complete. The only way to build virtual product is to reise R & D, manufacturing, marketing, sales, service, distribution, information systems and even finance – all must metamorphose.
The employees of the virtual corporation must change as well. Virtual corporations will require large numbers of highly skilled, reliable and educated workers – people who can understand and use the new forms of information, who can adapt to change, and who can work efficiently with others. An environment of team work, one in which employees, management, customers, suppliers and government – all work together to achieve common goals, will be necessary for virtual corporation to thrive. A meaningful corporate restructuring is required instead of blindly installed computer and robotic systems.
The virtual corporation which was a matter of speculation just a few years ago, has now become an economic necessity. It will be central to the new business revolution. It is a vision of the future. The modern manufacturing organisations have adopted techniques such as just-in-time supply, work teams, flexible manufacturing, worker-empowerment, computer-aided design, total quality, mass customisation etc. But the virtual corporation will tie all these diverse innovations together into a single cohesive version of the corporation in the twenty-first century.