Now showing 1 - 10 of 53
  • Publication
    Linking network targets and site capabilities : a conceptual framework to determine site contributions to strategic manufacturing network targets
    Purpose - To cope with the increasing challenges of globalisation, various manufacturing companies have established intra-company manufacturing networks. The purpose of this paper is to link the strategic network targets (i.e., accessibility, thriftiness represented by economies of scale and economies of scope, mobility, and learning) with the capabilities and characteristics of the constituting sites of the manufacturing network and thus facilitate the identification of mismatches and the discussion of possible development paths for the network. Design/methodology/approach - We derive a conceptual framework from the literature which is tested with a single case; a manufacturing network consisting of 8 manufacturing sites. Case data were collected based on 24 interviews with operations managers at network level and a standardised online survey among the sites' management teams. Findings - Results indicate that manufacturing network and site levels need to be related when striving for a fit between manufacturing strategy, network strategy, and site capabilities and characteristics. Research limitations/implications - Single case studies have only limited generalisability. Nevertheless, the case demonstrates the usefulness of several dimensions when analysing manufacturing networks on site and network level. Originality/value - This paper represents the first attempt to link strategic targets of intra-company manufacturing networks with site capabilities and characteristics. Thereby, it provides a theoretical basis for future research on the relationship between strategic targets of manufacturing networks and their fulfilment. The developed manufacturing site portfolio, moreover, extends the site role typology discussion by a multi-dimensional perspective and represents a starting point for a multi-faceted discussion of site roles.
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    Digging Deeper into Supply Risk : A Systematic Literature Review on Price Risks
    Purpose-Risks related to the purchase prices of industrial consumption factors (raw materials, semi-finished/finished goods, auxiliary materials, and operating materials) exert an increasing influence on manufacturing companies' business continuity and economic sustainability. The aim of this paper is both to provide an overview of existing knowledge pertaining to the management of price risks in manufacturing companies from an operations management (OM) perspective and to establish an agenda for future research. Design/methodology/approach-A systematic literature review was conducted following the literature search approach of vom Brocke et al. (2009). In total, 138 relevant articles were identified, analysed, and synthesised. Findings-The literature review reveals that the existing OM literature devotes little attention to price risks and their management in manufacturing companies. In particular, further empirical investigation is required to support decisionmaking in various risk contexts. Social implications-This paper emphasises that in addition to existing national resource funds and inter-company alliances, alternative concepts are required to secure both stable prices and access to natural resources. Otherwise, in the future, small- and medium-sized companies, along with companies based in countries lacking available resource funds, will not have an opportunity to engage in fair competition. Originality/value-To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first literature review to focus on price as a specific supply risk.
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  • Publication
    Tradeoffs are not Exogenous
    (Taylor & Francis, 2013-06)
    Deflorin, Patricia
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    Trade-offs between competitive priorities are often seen as exogenous - managers accept them as a given downside while simultaneously addressing multiple competitive priorities. However, some companies seem to face fewer trade-offs than others. The question is how companies reduce their trade-offs to successfully compete on multiple competitive priorities simultaneously. We address this question by theorising that bundles of action programmes are needed to reduce trade-offs between competitive priorities. We examine four Swiss manufacturing plants and show how the selection of action programmes influences the simultaneous competition on multiple competitive priorities. We show that successful competition on multiple competitive priorities does not happen by accident but is achieved by aligning competitive priorities, action programmes, infrastructural/structural changes and contextual factors.
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    Scopus© Citations 4
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  • Publication
    Turning sustainability into action: Explaining firms' sustainability efforts and their impact on firm performance
    This research seeks to shed more light on how manufacturing firms adjust their strategy according to the sustainability challenge. Strategic decisions are influenced by strategic long-term considerations, which take into account aspects that lie within firms' boundaries and beyond. Therefore, the first step of this paper is to operationalise the sustainability challenge by identifying relevant drivers for sustainability that firms are exposed to. Second, we develop a framework showing which dimensions affect decisions concerning a sustainability move and which dimensions are affected by these decisions. A sustainability move can contain initiatives emphasising the adoption of new manufacturing technologies, the development of new, sustainable products or the integration of green practices into the supply chain. Next to the influence of sustainability drivers, we explain firms' decisions concerning a sustainability move with past performance, firm size and current level of sustainability action. Depending on whether initiatives are led by strategic or ad-hoc decisions, firms have to explore new knowledge and/or exploit existing knowledge to realise competitive advantage. The goal of this research is to provide an explanation of how decisions of sustainability moves are motivated and which dimensions in the firm are affected by these moves.
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    Scopus© Citations 276
  • Publication
    The lead factory concept: benefiting from efficient knowledge transfer
    (Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2012-05-02)
    Deflorin, Patricia
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    Dietl, Helmut
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    Lang, Markus
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    Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to compare two distinct network structures to determine and show which structure is more profitable. Specifically, it aims to show which factors render the lead factory concept advantageous. Design/methodology/approach - Based on a simple, two-stage model for prototype and serial production, the authors highlight factors that determine the relative advantages and disadvantages of the lead factory concept in comparison to an archetype network. The archetype network mirrors those networks that have not implemented special strategic plant roles. Findings - The analysis shows that the lead factory concept benefits from an efficient knowledge transfer. Particularly, it is more profitable than the archetype network under the following conditions: there are a high number of production plants; the adaptation costs for implementing the transferred prototype from the lead factory to the plant are low; the manufacturing costs for the prototype are high; and the manufacturing processes are not highly specific or knowledge intensive. Originality/value - The paper enables better understanding of the conditions under which the lead factory concept is advantageous for transferring knowledge within an intra-firm network.
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    Scopus© Citations 16
  • Publication
    An End-User Taxonomy of Enterprise Systems Flexibility: Evidence from a Leading European Apparel Manufacturer
    (Taylor & Francis, 2012-04-03) ;
    Boyle, Todd A.
    Through this research the authors identify the major dimensions of enterprise systems flexibility from the perspective of various end users. To explore the concept of enterprise systems flexibility, on-site interviews were conducted with 20 members of a leading European clothing manufacturer, ranging from functional employees to the CEO. Results of analyzing the data using content analysis highlight that end users view Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) flexibility in terms of five major dimensions, specifically system connectivity, process integration, hierarchical integration, user-customizability, and consistency.
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    Scopus© Citations 7
  • Publication
    Learning to be lean: The influence of external information sources in lean improvements
    (Emerald Group Publishing, 2011)
    Boyle, Todd A.
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    Stuart, Ian
    Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of management exposure to external information sources, such as training sessions, plant visits, and conferences, in helping manufacturing organizations achieve lean goals. Design/methodology/approach - A model is proposed highlighting the relationship between various key drivers of lean, external information sources, management commitment to lean, and lean thinking. To empirically test the model, 1,000 surveys were mailed to Canadian manufacturers with 109 usable surveys returned. Analyzing the data using partial least squares, the common sources of management information on lean and their effectiveness for lean improvements are discussed. Findings - The final model confirms that management exposure to external information sources and commitment to lean both influence lean thinking within organizations. However, the direct relationship between external information sources and lean thinking is not supported. Instead, an indirect relationship exists, where increased exposure to sources of lean information, increases management commitment to lean, and ultimately the extent of lean thinking in the organization. Practical implications - The practical implications of this research are that it will help manufacturing managers identify both organizational and environmental factors that may facilitate or inhibit the extensive use of lean in their organization, and the impact that their own understanding of lean and commitment to lean improvements will have on the overall success of a lean program. Originality/value - The paper should help improve understanding of the differences in the extent of lean thinking between plants in the same company, organizations in the same industry, and organizations across industries.
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    Scopus© Citations 86
  • Publication
    Challenges in the transformation to lean production from different manufacturing process choices : a path-dependent perspective
    (Taylor & Francis, 2011-07)
    Deflorin, Patricia
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    The implementation of lean production remains popular among industrial companies and the requirement for individualised steps in its implementation is widely accepted; however, research has not yet considered the different process choices available to the companies. The conclusions drawn from the automotive industry's mass production environment may be misleading, given the different conditions of many other industries. We therefore compare case data from a craft producer with the rich, case-study based literature of mass producer companies that highlight the transformation from mass to lean production. We derive a list of specific challenges a craft producer must approach using a different strategy than a mass producer. This study adds to the lean production theory by demonstrating how different manufacturing process choices influence the lean transformation process and its successful implementation. It provides specific propositions concerning the transformation to lean by considering the different processes of craft and mass production companies. Furthermore, the case study gives an in-depth understanding of the challenges a craft-oriented company faces when becoming lean.
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    An Empirical Examination of the Best Practices to Ensure Manufacturing Flexibility - Lean Alignment
    (Emerald, 2009-01-01)
    Boyle, Todd A.
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    Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to identify the best practices managers use to improve manufacturing flexibility and ensure the tools and techniques selected for flexibility improvement are in line with broader organizational and manufacturing goals, such as lean production. Design/methodology/approach - A number of best practices are identified based on a review and synthesis of the conceptual frameworks for improving manufacturing flexibility and are presented to North American manufacturing managers. Results of analyzing the data from 168 managers indicate the best practices, techniques, and major groups involved in improving flexibility. Findings - Results support these best practices, with the most important practices being: incorporating the role of manufacturing flexibility into the manufacturing strategy; identifying the major potential sources of uncertainty faced by the manufacturing department; and identifying the general capability of the manufacturing department to address these potential sources of uncertainty. The results also indicate a growing preference to reducing sources of uncertainty, in addition to responding to it, as demonstrated by the use of lean tools and practices. Originality/value - This research empirically develops a framework linking manufacturing flexibility and lean decisions; and subsequently addressing an area under examined by the extant literature. In addition, this study empirically tests many of the best flexibility practices identified in the literature and in doing so provides some empirical support for the frameworks developed in previous studies. This research also highlights the practices, which managers should consider when attempting to improve flexibility in their manufacturing facility, while keeping in mind broader organizational strategies such as lean.
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    Scopus© Citations 61