Manufacturing strategy and the concept of world class manufacturing

Alan Harrison (Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield, Bedford, UK)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Publication date: 1 April 1998


The concept of world class manufacturing is examined in terms of the definitions which have been developed in recent survey based research. A fundamental flaw in such approaches is that they model a fixed notion of manufacturing competitiveness. The paper presents results from case based research which addresses these issues, and shows how, even in relatively compatible environments, forcing different operations facilities to become similar would potentially undermine competitiveness. The unit of analysis is the manufacturing cell, and evidence is provided which describes the relative postions of the four cells studied. The study concludes that the cells have distinct strategic needs, and that a single “lean” mindset would be inappropriate.



Harrison, A. (1998), "Manufacturing strategy and the concept of world class manufacturing", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 397-408.

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Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited

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