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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2017

Maike Scherrer and Patricia Deflorin

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the prerequisites for lateral knowledge transfer in manufacturing networks.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the prerequisites for lateral knowledge transfer in manufacturing networks.

Design/methodology/approach

Data stem from a single case study involving 26 interviews at the management level of a manufacturing network and a survey of 17 manufacturing plants in the network.

Findings

The requirements for lateral knowledge transfer between knowledge-sending and knowledge-receiving plants are similar strategic orientation, product portfolio similarity and process similarity. If the knowledge-sending and knowledge-receiving plants meet at least one of these requirements, then knowledge transfer is facilitated. Plant age, functional ties and geographical proximity do not seem to be important in lateral knowledge transfer.

Research limitations/implications

The results come from a single case study, limiting their generalisability. Further research should consider the influence of the network’s coordination mechanism on lateral knowledge transfer.

Originality/value

The paper investigates prerequisites for lateral knowledge transfer in manufacturing networks, shedding light on the fundamental factors that must be in place at the knowledge-sending and knowledge-receiving plants.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2017

Sebastian Pashaei and Jan Olhager

The purpose of this paper is to explore how integral and modular product architectures influence the design properties of the global operations network.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how integral and modular product architectures influence the design properties of the global operations network.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors perform a multiple-case study of three global manufacturing companies, using interviews, seminars and structured questionnaires to identify ideal design properties.

Findings

The authors find that the choice of integral vs modular product architecture lead to significant differences in the preferred design properties of global operations networks concerning number of key technologies in-house, number of capable plants, focus at assembly plants, distance between assembly plant and market, and number of key supplier sites. Two of these were identified through this research, i.e. the number of capable plants and number of key supplier sites. The authors make a distinction between component and assembly plants, which adds detail to the understanding of the impact of product architecture on global operations. In addition, they develop five propositions that can be tested in further survey research.

Research limitations/implications

This study is restricted to three large manufacturing companies with global operations. However, the authors investigated both integral and modular products at these three companies and their associated global operations network. Still, further case or survey research involving a broader set of companies is warranted.

Practical implications

The key aspects for integral products are to have many key technologies in-house, concentration of production at a few capable plants, and economies-of-scale at assembly plants, while long distances between assembly plants and markets as well as few key supplier sites are acceptable. For modular products, the key aspects are many capable plants, economies-of-scope at assembly plants, short distance between assembly plants and markets, and many key supplier sites, while key technologies do not necessarily have to reside in-house – these can be accessed via key suppliers.

Originality/value

This paper is, to the authors’ knowledge, the first study on the explicit impact of product architecture on global operations networks, especially considering the internal manufacturing network.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 April 2021

Agnese Rondoni, Elena Millan and Daniele Asioli

Plant-based eggs have recently been developed to provide consumers with a healthier, animal-friendlier and more sustainable alternative to conventional eggs. The purpose…

Abstract

Purpose

Plant-based eggs have recently been developed to provide consumers with a healthier, animal-friendlier and more sustainable alternative to conventional eggs. The purpose of this paper is to investigate intrinsic and extrinsic attribute preferences for three prototypes of plant-based egg, namely the liquid, powder and egg-shaped.

Design/methodology/approach

Nine focus groups in the United Kingdom and nine in Italy were conducted, with a total of 180 participants. A thematic analysis of results was conducted.

Findings

In terms of intrinsic product attributes, consumers' preferences for colour, shape, taste, ingredients, nutrients, method of production and shelf-life for plant-based eggs were revealed. Regarding the extrinsic attributes, preferences for price, packaging, country of origin and product naming emerged. Similarities and differences between consumers from the two countries are also discussed. Differences in preferences also emerged between vegan and non-vegan consumers.

Research limitations/implications

This study adds to the existing knowledge on consumers' preferences for new plant-based food alternatives and identifies future quantitative approaches based on qualitative findings.

Practical implications

Results from this study can assist plant-based egg manufacturers in improving their products in line with consumers' expectations, which may help reducing risk of product failure.

Originality/value

This study is the first to investigate consumers' preferences, expectations and needs for new food products like plant-based eggs and provides information that can be practically applied by manufacturers, as well as suggestions for future research.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 2002

Robert J. Vokurka and Benito E. Flores

This research determines and updates industry’s use of plant charters and their characteristics in terms of plant structure differences, competitive priorities…

Abstract

This research determines and updates industry’s use of plant charters and their characteristics in terms of plant structure differences, competitive priorities, manufacturing improvement initiatives, and performance. Industry differences are identified and compared to a 1982 study. The most predominant plant charter strategy remains a product plant charter assignment. Responses to a survey indicated that plants are created differently, i.e. there are structural differences between the plant charter strategy types. However, in general, the competitive priorities, efforts to improve manufacturing effectiveness, and resulting performance are essentially the same. This suggests seemingly similar manufacturing strategies regardless of the plant structure being used.

Details

Industrial Management & Data Systems, vol. 102 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-5577

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 15 November 2011

Yang Cheng, Sami Farooq and John Johansen

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of changes at the manufacturing plant level on other plants in the manufacturing network and also investigate the role…

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2879

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of changes at the manufacturing plant level on other plants in the manufacturing network and also investigate the role of manufacturing plants on the evolution of a manufacturing network.

Design/methodology/approach

The research questions are developed by identifying the gaps in the reviewed literature. The paper is based on three case studies undertaken in Danish manufacturing companies to explore in detail their manufacturing plants and networks. The cases provide a sound basis for developing the research questions and explaining the interaction between different manufacturing plants in the network and their impact on network transformation.

Findings

The paper highlights the dominant role of manufacturing plants in the continuously changing shape of a manufacturing network. The paper demonstrates that a product or process change at one manufacturing plant affects the other plants in the same network by altering their strategic roles, which leads to the subsequent transformation of the manufacturing network.

Originality/value

A review of the existing literature investigated different elements of a manufacturing network independently. In this paper, the complex phenomenon of a manufacturing network evolution is observed by combining the analysis of a manufacturing plant and network level. The historical trajectories of manufacturing networks that are presented in the case studies are examined in order to understand and determine the future shape of the networks. This study will help industrial managers make more knowledgeable decisions regarding manufacturing network management.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 31 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1984

Martha Cooper

Freight consolidation across time and customers, use of warehouses, and direct LTL distribution systems are compared on distribution costs and delivery times for selected…

Abstract

Freight consolidation across time and customers, use of warehouses, and direct LTL distribution systems are compared on distribution costs and delivery times for selected product characteristics and demand patterns. The results can assist managers in determining whether using freight consolidation is a viable alternative to direct shipments from plants or warehouses.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Materials Management, vol. 14 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0269-8218

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Article
Publication date: 2 October 2018

Dipankar Bose, A.K. Chatterjee and Samir Barman

Process flexibility (PF) is seen as a hedging instrument against demand uncertainty. This paper aims to examine capacity decisions for both flexible and dedicated…

Abstract

Purpose

Process flexibility (PF) is seen as a hedging instrument against demand uncertainty. This paper aims to examine capacity decisions for both flexible and dedicated processes under production policies such as make-to-order and make-to-stock. The study identifies some relative benefits, in terms of expected profit, of the process flexible plant over the dedicated ones. Furthermore, the advantage appears to be contingent upon the decision on the preset service level.

Design/methodology/approach

Using the sample-based optimization procedure, a detailed computational analysis is undertaken to identify the conditions under which a flexible plant is preferred over a dedicated plant. A combination of genetic algorithm and sample-based optimization procedure is used to capture the effects of preset service level. The factors controlled in this paper include the demand variance, demand correlation, capacity investment cost and the product price.

Findings

According to this study, in a dedicated process changing to a flexible process is not justified for the same level of demand correlation even with high demand variance. In fact, a strict control on the preset service level prefers the dedicated strategy. The advantage of a flexible plant increases as the demand correlation decreases, product price decreases, price asymmetry increases or capacity investment cost increases. With a preset service level constraint, a flexible process should be preferred to a dedicated one only when the capacity investment cost is high or the products have low contribution margins.

Originality/value

The PF index is introduced in this paper to measure the benefit of a flexible plant over a group of dedicated plants. The benefits were found to be contingent upon the decision on the required service level.

Details

Journal of Modelling in Management, vol. 13 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5664

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2016

Marek Szwejczewski, Michael T Sweeney and Alan Cousens

The purpose of this paper is twofold; first, to investigate whether the manufacturing specializations of network plants fulfilling similar strategic plant roles (Ferdows…

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2243

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold; first, to investigate whether the manufacturing specializations of network plants fulfilling similar strategic plant roles (Ferdows, 1997) are common in type. Second, to examine current strategic manufacturing network management practice and develop a map of this process.

Design/methodology/approach

Three multisite manufacturing businesses participated in this case research. The first phase of the study consisted of an initial visit made to the headquarters of each firm to be briefed on its manufacturing network strategy and to collect company manufacturing performance data. Visits were then made to 11 network plants to collect site manufacturing performance data and to research the manufacturing specialization of each site and the degree of autonomy of its management team. The second phase of the research comprised a number of additional visits to the headquarters of one of the three case study firms to investigate the process employed to downsize its existing manufacturing network capacity in response to a significant decline in customer demand.

Findings

Three common types of manufacturing specialization have been identified in the networks of plants studied and the case research findings have enabled the development of a process for manufacturing network strategy deployment.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed process for the strategic management of a manufacturing network is based upon the findings of a single case study and thus the generalizability of the findings is limited.

Practical implications

Auditing the manufacturing specialization of network sites is an essential preparatory procedure for determining a manufacturing network strategy. How this information is used to facilitate the management of manufacturing network configuration and coordination and for manufacturing network strategy deployment is detailed in the paper.

Originality/value

A process map has been developed that includes a review of current network configuration and coordination policies, in combination, as these underpin manufacturing network strategy deployment. Such a process map has not been detailed previously in the literature.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2005

Adegoke Oke

PurposeThe issue of manufacturing flexibility has been widely discussed in the literature. One major area of focus has been the development of taxonomies for flexibility…

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4054

Abstract

PurposeThe issue of manufacturing flexibility has been widely discussed in the literature. One major area of focus has been the development of taxonomies for flexibility. This paper aims to review the contributions in this area and to propose a new classification and a framework for analysing flexibility in manufacturing companies.Design/methodology/approachThe study adopts a case study methodology approach. The framework proposed is used to analyse the implementation of flexibility in four UK manufacturing plants in four major industrial sectors: electronics, process, household and general goods and food.FindingsFrom the empirical analysis, various enablers of flexibility are identified. These are classified into three broad sources of flexibility namely fundamental enablers, indirect enablers and generic enablers as well as flexibility avoidance strategies referred to as flexibility evaders.Practical implicationsThe implication is that a mix of flexibility solutions rather than a single solution may be the most appropriate way for delivering flexibility in an organisation. However, the drivers of the need for flexibility have to be correctly identified in order to determine the best solutions for delivering system flexibility.Originality/valueThe development of a refined framework for analysing manufacturing flexibility as well as the identification of various enablers of strategic flexibility are the major contributions of this paper.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 25 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2004

Robert J. Vokurka and Robert A. Davis

A major decision area for manufacturing firms is the strategy that assigns specific products, processes, customers, and markets to individual facilities within…

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1461

Abstract

A major decision area for manufacturing firms is the strategy that assigns specific products, processes, customers, and markets to individual facilities within multi‐facility firms. No empirical studies have been reported that identify differentiating factors in manufacturing structures or overall facility strategies. Based on responses from 305 plants, this research empirically determines the major dimensions differentiating manufacturing facility structures. Most of these support previous theories of decisions being made on differences in products, processes, materials, and customers/markets. Strategic groupings are determined and defined as “standardizers”, “customizers”, and automators”. Differences in each of these groupings are investigated for competitive priorities and performance indicators.

Details

Industrial Management & Data Systems, vol. 104 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-5577

Keywords

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