Referring to institutionalised business organisations, the majority of the firms had joined the local trade association. The only exception was Pelop, which was the smallest firm visited. Haga Metall had three main business networks, two of them situated in the local area.
The areas of cooperation with customers were mainly in product development and information technology (Levi Peterson, ELBE, Pelop, SM Johannesson and Haga Metall). The biggest firms in the district (ELBE, Peltor and SM Johannesson) cooperated with their suppliers by exchanging technical information and achieving higher quality standards. Haga Metall and SM Johannesson also offered training seminars to their suppliers and subcontractors.
Following this line of cooperation, the IUC offered training courses, quality control and information about supplier’s chains although at the time of the study, their main objective was the development of a networking program for the district. These findings indicated that there was a relatively high level of interaction between firms in the industrial area. Most of the interaction was centred in product development and information exchanges. Hardly any interactions were identified among competitors.
Geographical dispersion of interactionAmong the biggest companies in the district, we observed a relatively highly internationalised customer base. All firms except Pelop were selling to both the national and the international market.
With respect to the suppliers, the general objective was to have them as close as possible, provided that they were competitively priced. All the firms had the majority of their suppliers in the region. ELBE had 95% of its suppliers within a 30-km radius from the industrial district, Peltor 75%, and the rest of the firms showed similar figures.
All the firms conceded that the most intense relationships in terms of suppliers were maintained with companies inside the district. However, from the end-customer’s side their most intense relationships were outside the industrial district.
Importance of geographic proximity for interactionOn one hand, three of the firms visited stressed the importance of proximity with their suppliers. The main reasons were that it was usually cheaper and it was easier to do business if they were closer because“they speak the same language”(Haga Metall). This was also pointed out when we visited the IUC,“It is important to have the suppliers inside the region because it reduces costs and there is a better communication due to the language”.
On the other hand, the two remaining firms did not mind whether the suppliers were inside or outside the district. According to SM Johannesson’s owner:“The location does not matter, we want quality”. In addition, Levi’s CEO intimated:“It is not important having your suppliers inside if they are more expensive than the ones outside, we want less cost”.
There appeared to be a trend towards firms in the district being bought by outside companies which may hinder the creation and maintenance of networks. Peltor was one example of such structural change. The IUC representatives believed that this would be the prevalent trend for the following 10 years. This evidence was held by two main reasons: first, the shift in generations, who might not be concerned with networking in the community as much as the previous generations (Levi Petersonand SM Johannesson). Second, there was an increasing competitive pressure that was forcing companies to grow or merge in order to maintain a competitive level of efficiency.Even though the geographic proximity to suppliers had been considered to be beneficial in terms of savings of transaction costs, there was a clear indication for eroding of network ties within the district due to the above-mentioned reasons.
在谈到制度化的商业机构，该公司绝大多数已经加入了当地的贸易协会。唯一的例外是Pelop，这是最小的公司参观。贺金属有三个主要的业务网络，其中两个在本地区位于。 与客户合作的领域主要集中在产品开发和信息技术（列维彼得森，易北河Pelop，钐乔纳森和芳金属）。区内最大的公司（易北河，Peltor和SM乔纳森）与供应商合作，通过交换技术信息，实现更高的质量标准。芳贺金属和SM乔纳森还提供培训研讨班，他们的供应商和分包商。 根据这一合作方式，在信息股提供培训课程，质量控制和资料在研究时供应商的连锁店，虽然，他们的主要目标是在这个地区的网络程序的发展。这些结果显示，有企业之间的互动相对较高，在工业区的水平。的相互作用大部分集中在产品开发和信息交流。几乎没有任何确定的相互作用竞争对手之间。 对interactionAmong区内最大的企业地域分散，我们观察到一个相对高度国际化的客户群。除Pelop所有的公司被出售给国内和国际市场。 关于供应商的总目标是让尽可能地接近他们，只要他们竞争力的价格。所有的企业已在该地区的供应商占多数。易北河已在30公里半径的95％来自供应商的工业区，Peltor 75％，而其余的公司类似的数字显示。 所有的公司承认，在供应商方面的关系进行了最激烈的地区内的公司进行维护。然而，从最终客户端的最激烈的关系，工业区外的。 为interactionOn一方面地利的重要性，该公司的三个访问强调与供应商的近距离的重要性。主要原因是，它通常会更便宜，而且更容易做生意如果他们接近，因为“他们讲同样的语言”（芳金属）。这还指出，当我们参观IUC的，“这是重要的区域内，因为它降低了成本，供应商及有一个更好的交流，由于语言”。 另一方面，剩下的两个公司不介意的供应商是否内外区的。据对SM乔纳森的老板：“的位置并不重要，我们要质量”。此外，Levi 's公司总裁暗示：“这并不重要，里面有您的供应商，如果他们比外面的那些昂贵的，我们希望减少成本”。 似乎有一对区内企业的趋势，正由外部公司收购可能妨碍建立和维持网络。 Peltor是一个这种结构变化的例子。该信息股认为，这将是今后10年流行趋势的代表。这些证据是由两个主要原因：第一，在新老交替，谁可能不符合在社区网络的有关高达（列维Petersonand钐乔纳森）前几代。第二，出现了越来越多的竞争压力是迫使企业增加或合并，以保持竞争力的效率水平。 尽管在地理上接近的供应商被认为是对交易成本的节省方面有益的，有关系的网络侵蚀区内，由于上述原因，明确表示。