The paper aims at increasing the understanding of how manufacturing strategy formulation can be facilitated in SMEs.
The research presented in this paper follows a four-stage logic. Initially, a literature review was conducted identifying a number of manufacturing strategy frameworks. Thereafter, theoretical and practical assessment criteria were established. The SME requirements were identified through five case studies. Based on these assessment criteria, identified manufacturing strategy formulation frameworks were evaluated. When a framework was found that fulfilled most of the requirements set out, a detailed analysis of the framework was done, based on criteria related to specific SME characteristics.
In total, 15 different manufacturing strategy formulation frameworks were identified in the literature. To evaluate the suitability of these frameworks in SMEs, a number of assessment criteria were established, both in theory and in practice. These assessment criteria were grouped into three parts based on their character: procedure, realisation and contextual issues. The assessment of the 15 frameworks revealed that among the identified frameworks there was one framework that stood out and fulfilled several of the criteria. However, the frameworks still need to be adapted to the specific SME characteristics.
Although a number of manufacturing strategy frameworks exist, their usability in practice has seldom been investigated. The results presented provide valuable knowledge for the continued work of rendering manufacturing strategy frameworks suitable and thereby useful for SMEs.
The project is financially supported by the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA) and Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore. The authors owe deep gratitude to the five companies that participated in this study. This study is also supported by Chalmers Area of Advance on Sustainable Production and its Sustainable Production Initiative. The authors would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions and comments to improve the quality of this article.
Löfving, M., Säfsten, K. and Winroth, M. (2014), "Manufacturing strategy frameworks suitable for SMEs", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 7-26. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMTM-08-2012-0081
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