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Strategies for modern operations management: Answers from European manufacturing companies

Andrea Chiarini (University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy)
Emidia Vagnoni (Department of Economics and Management, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy)

Benchmarking: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-5771

Article publication date: 2 May 2017




This research enlarges the debate on the operations management strategies pursued by manufacturing companies. The purpose of this paper is to focus on issues concerning servitisation and customisation, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and Lean-agile, supply chain orchestration, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and Lean for design management.


A questionnaire of eight questions which stemmed from a literature review was completed by 152 senior operations managers from 120 large European manufacturing companies. Responses were scaled from strongly agree to strongly disagree. The results were tested for reliability using Cronbach’s α test. The questions were tested through a one-sample t-test.


The 152 respondents consider servitisation and standardisation to be a trade-off. They consider integration of ERP strategies with Lean and agile systems and customised products/processes to be difficult. Furthermore, suppliers’ orchestration is considered not that suitable for manufacturing companies and suppliers’ CSR performance measurement excessive. By contrast, a CSR internal performance measurement is helpful for increasing sales. The respondents also indicate that there is a lack of Lean tools for design and development processes and Six Sigma is the only strategy for improving quality performance in design and development processes.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are applicable only to the manufacturing sector. The findings of this research indicate many avenues of research for scholars.

Practical implications

The findings can be very useful for manufacturing operations managers deciding their future strategies on operations.


Findings related to servitisation and customisation, ERP and Lean-agile, supply orchestration for manufacturing companies and Lean and agile for product design are original and open a valuable debate.



Chiarini, A. and Vagnoni, E. (2017), "Strategies for modern operations management: Answers from European manufacturing companies", Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 1065-1081.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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