Case Studies

Newly created case studies are based upon investigation under the project GVCs in Central Europe - A Perspective of Automotive sector after COVID-19. They can be used during courses as a base for the discussion of theory, trends, or managerial decisions. The case studies are covering the new trends in Global Value Chains, Supply Chain Management, International Marketing, and Management.


Case study by Paweł Folfas, Andżelika Kuźnar, and Eliza Przeździecka: Can Chinese intermediaries be crowded out by the components produced in Poland and other Visegrad countries?

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has triggered an intensive debate about its impact on businesses as well as international production networks, such as automotive sector that constitutes one of the main supply chains in Europe, especially central region. Supply shocks that were caused by labor unavailability, lack of natural resources, and difficulties in transport organization had strongly affected manufacturers in the automotive sector in Europe. It also strongly affected Polish manufacturers. Nevertheless, these results are not only seen in reduction of outcomes due to the lockdowns and lack of resources or disorganized transportation links. Polish producers may also be affected by an impact of the pandemic on Asian economies in terms of international trade and division of labor. To secure smooth supplies in strategic sectors, the authorities of many countries considered that the concentration of production in one place (for instance, in China) is too hazardous (Leonard, 2020). Therefore, the enterprises were attentive to reorganizations in their supply chains. As a result, the new GVCs were expected to be established away from China - primarily in Japan, the US, and the European Union. Poland was supposed to be one of the countries to gain from reconstruction of the global value chains. Despite these expectations and the announced tendency in shifting supply sources out of distant Asian locations to sites much closer to factories in Europe, the effects of the pandemic on Polish automotive manufacturers are not yet as obvious as may be expected.

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Case study by Andrea Szalavetz: Navigating the transformation of the bus industry in Hungary: expanding the product mix and upgrading along multiple dimensions

The case illustrates how product upgrading elicited chain upgrading and functional upgrading. New, high-value activities include the management of the joint venture and the new product-related open innovation activities, the monitoring of the global market for identifying component providers & technology providers, and the expansion of in-house software development activities. The case addresses process upgrading as well, involving the automation of specific manufacturing processes and the procurement of welding robots. Last but not least, notable is the upgrading of the product development process, achieved through integrating smart digital solutions that can augment engineers’ work.

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Case study by Andrea Szalavetz: Upgrading by domestic-owned automotive companies: The role of business development and quality certificates – The case of Tom-Ferr Plc 

The upgrading process among domestic-owned companies follows a completely different upgrading trajectory than by the subsidiaries of multinationals. In their case, business development and innovation are the key drivers of upgrading: it is new business opportunities that entail product and process upgrading – and sometimes chain upgrading as well. Altogether, Tom-Ferr’s case demonstrates that the drivers of the upgrading of domestic-owned companies are different from those of global companies’ local manufacturing subsidiaries. Moreover, their upgrading trajectory is often longer and more diversified than that of captive subsidiaries.

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Case study by Gabor Túry: Continental Automotive Hungary

The disruption of supply chains is still present in 2021, and the shortage of supplies causes large-scale problems for JIT supplies in the automotive sector. The problems are illustrated on supplies of electronic chips or plastic parts from Asia.

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Case study by Andrea Éltető: Effects of COVID 19 on the automotive branch in Hungary

Most OEMs, Tier 1 companies look for alternative suppliers as a consequence of supply chain disruptions. There are some examples that Hungarian companies received orders instead of Asian firms. However, it is a long-term process. Being a supplier means to think in 8-10 years’ time because the company has to deliver spare parts too for several years. Contracts are for a long term. This is one of the examples of how COVID-19 pandemic affected the Hungarian automotive industry presented in this case study, together with the consequences being discussed.

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Case study by Andrea Szalavetz: How to promote the upgrading of local automotive actors and achieve a high road integration of the Hungarian automotive industry in European and global automotive value chains

This case study deals with the transformation of the automotive industry with respect to the related policy measures. Besides other, digitalization or qualified workforce are considered.

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Case study by Andrea Éltető: Effects of COVID 19 and supply chain disruptions - experiences of Hungarian automotive suppliers

The pandemic has strongly affected automotive supply chains. Even before, suppliers had to meet high quality and delivery requirements. Because of the Covid pandemic, however, planning has become insecure and orderings erratic. Demand showed a very high volatility during 2020-2021 and demand patterns seem to change on the long run too.

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Case study by Gabor Túry: Schwarzmüller Vehicle Construction and Trading Ltd. Hungary

This case study´s focus is the supply chain problems that the company was facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The most severe problem reported was the shortage of raw materials (steel). Long-term changes and the impact of the pandemic on the companies are being discussed in this case.

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Case study by Andrea Szalavetz: Gearweel Factory

Fogaskerékgyár Ltd. (Gearwheel Factory) is a domestic-owned company established in 1992. It is owned by three Hungarian private persons and has 60 employees. The case study shows the potential of upgrading and implementation of new technologies. At the same time, it uncovers the managerial challenges and the necessity of careful resource planning.

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