Manufacturing strategy frameworks suitable for SMEs
Journal article, 2014
Purpose - The paper aims at increasing the understanding of how manufacturing strategy formulation can be facilitated in SMEs.
Design/methodology/approach - 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.
Findings - 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.
Practical implications - Based on an assessment of the existing manufacturing strategy frameworks we have been able to identify one framework that fulfils 10 out 14 of the theoretical and empirical requirements.
Originality/value - 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.