Theory and practice of manufacturing strategy
This paper first proposes a methodology for manufacturing strategy development based on a critical review of the theory of manufacturing strategy. The methodology captures the essential factors that must be considered, and the steps that must be taken, by a firm attempting to design a viable manufacturing strategy. An exploratory study of the process of formulating and implementing manufacturing strategy practised by three firms is conducted. Their experiences in the manufacturing strategy process are reported and analysed. While the practice of each firm is different, the process of manufacturing strategy formulation seems to be in line with the conceptual models discussed in the literature. Our findings offer some evidence that manufacturing is slowly shedding its image as the 'missing link' in corporate strategy. While managers of the studied firms are fully aware of the competitive advantages that manufacturing can provide, they are not totally committed to articulating a manufacturing strategy because of concerns about its successful implementation. It is proposed that further research on manufacturing strategy focus on such implementation issues as the infrastructure, corporate culture, performance measurements, decision-making and managerial styles.(Author abstract)
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