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Major decisions in manufacturing have often been treated as a management task. Investments and changes in manufacturing have become more complex in the last few decades. This implies that more functions and individuals have to be involved in the decision‐making processes. The final decision, when investments are made in manufacturing, is either the result of many decisions influenced by the individuals, or on the basis of advice from individuals who have no formal power to make decisions. To ensure that the decisions made are strategically connected, manufacturing strategies and goals have to be broken down to, and understood by, the functions and levels that influence the decisions. A study of 125 manufacturing units in Sweden shows that companies with a manufacturing strategy break down goals and strategies to lower levels than companies without a manufacturing strategy. The companies having a manufacturing strategy also plan manufacturing on longer terms, are more active in future plans and are less concerned about short‐term goals when they invest in manufacturing technology.
Based on an empirical study of 184 Swedish manufacturers. Providesan operationalization of manufacturing strategy. Bases the definition ofa manufacturing strategy on the…
Based on an empirical study of 184 Swedish manufacturers. Provides an operationalization of manufacturing strategy. Bases the definition of a manufacturing strategy on the competitive means which the business units emphasize to compete on the market, and the nature of manufacturing objectives. Formulates and tests hypotheses within areas of manufacturing strategy that have been identified as missing themes in the literature. Shows that companies that have a manufacturing strategy are significantly more profitable than those without one. They are also significantly better in competing with dependable deliveries. Argues that companies with a manufacturing strategy, regardless of the direction of the strategy, have identified quality programmes and other preventive actions as being fundamental issues in manufacturing. Thus gives support to the research that suggests that competitive priorities should be sequentially applied in manufacturing.
Within the framework of the Swedish Manufacturing Strategy Project a panel study of 66 manufacturing business units has been made. These 66 companies participated in a questionnairebased study performed both in 1986 and in 1989. The results showed that the companies have tended to consolidate their positions in existing markets rather than put emphasis on efforts to enter new markets. The competitive means used to support this strategic direction are in 1989 even more biased towards high quality products, reliable deliveries and aspects of flexibility. The importance of low price as a competitive means has been dramatically reduced. This strategic emphasis has even more accentuated the concern for personnel issues within manufacturing. In order to create the competitive advantage depicted, great emphasis is put on decentralisation of the organisational structure at the plant level.