Make‐to‐order (MTO) companies manufacture goods to customer specification. They produce a large number of different items, each unique because of the particular requirements of each customer. These companies do not commence production of any item until they have a firm order and have agreed a price and delivery date with the customer. Their characteristics and manufacturing management problems contrast sharply with those of Make‐to‐stock (MTS) companies, which mass produce a small variety of similar items. As most of the research to date has been aimed at the latter type of company, the need to develop manufacturing management systems specifically for the MTO sector is evident. A thorough review of the literature carried out at Lancaster illustrated that even modern manufacturing management systems such as Optimised Production Technology (OPT) and Just‐in‐Time (JIT) have failed to address the specific problems of this sector of manufacturing.
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