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Manufacturing network evolution: a manufacturing plant perspective

Yang Cheng (Center for Industrial Production, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark)
Sami Farooq (Center for Industrial Production, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark)
John Johansen (Center for Industrial Production, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 15 November 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of changes at the manufacturing plant level on other plants in the manufacturing network and also investigate the role of manufacturing plants on the evolution of a manufacturing network.

Design/methodology/approach

The research questions are developed by identifying the gaps in the reviewed literature. The paper is based on three case studies undertaken in Danish manufacturing companies to explore in detail their manufacturing plants and networks. The cases provide a sound basis for developing the research questions and explaining the interaction between different manufacturing plants in the network and their impact on network transformation.

Findings

The paper highlights the dominant role of manufacturing plants in the continuously changing shape of a manufacturing network. The paper demonstrates that a product or process change at one manufacturing plant affects the other plants in the same network by altering their strategic roles, which leads to the subsequent transformation of the manufacturing network.

Originality/value

A review of the existing literature investigated different elements of a manufacturing network independently. In this paper, the complex phenomenon of a manufacturing network evolution is observed by combining the analysis of a manufacturing plant and network level. The historical trajectories of manufacturing networks that are presented in the case studies are examined in order to understand and determine the future shape of the networks. This study will help industrial managers make more knowledgeable decisions regarding manufacturing network management.

Keywords

Citation

Cheng, Y., Farooq, S. and Johansen, J. (2011), "Manufacturing network evolution: a manufacturing plant perspective", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 31 No. 12, pp. 1311-1331. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443571111187466

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited