Manufacturing strategy formulation in small and medium-sized enterprises
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of any national economy and key drivers for economic growth. To sustain their competitiveness, it is essential that SMEs take advantage of their capabilities and support market requirements. This research encourages an increased focus on work with manufacturing strategies in SMEs. The purpose of this research is to increase our understanding of manufacturing strategy formulation in SMEs. To provide SMEs with useful advice on how to work with manufacturing strategies, this research focuses on internal and external key factors that are considered to be significant for manufacturing strategy formulation in SMEs. Manufacturing strategy formulation was investigated in three case studies in Sweden and two supplementary case studies in Singapore. The results in this research are presented in six papers and are encapsulated and extended in the summarising chapters of the compilation thesis.
Internal key factors for manufacturing strategy formulation are mainly identified from the literature about larger companies and are categorised in the following ways: procedure (what should be done), alignment (consistency between strategies, manufacturing strategies and manufacturing decisions), management (how the formulation is managed) and realisation (how the formulations are executed). The internal key factors seem to be of general value for all kinds of companies, but how the internal key factors are reflected in each individual company’s manufacturing strategy formulations may vary due to the characteristics that SMEs exhibit. The internal key factors are synthesised into a model that provides practical guidance for manufacturing strategy formulation and aims at facilitating learning in SMEs through a structured way of working.
External key factors are addressed in two of the appended papers and the influence of these factors is further analysed in the summarising chapters. The external key factors identified were macro environment, industry, supplier, competitive environment and national culture. Two of these external key factors, competitive environment and national culture, were found to be more influential for manufacturing strategy formulation in SMEs.
manufacturing strategy process