تجزیه و تحلیل استراتژی تولید به عنوان عامل توضیحی رقابت در شرکت های بزرگ صنعتی اسپانیایی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|10656||2001||19 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Production Economics, Volume 72, Issue 2, 20 July 2001, Pages 139–157
This work focuses on analysing the growing importance of manufacturing strategies for the competitiveness of firms. It is considered that the emphasis on certain manufacturing competitive priorities (or capabilities) and decisions or practices (on the key decision areas) and their internal coherence can be the base for achieving sustainable or lasting advantages over competitors, thus originating superior business performance. The aim of this research work is to analyse whether or not there exists a correlation between the manufacturing strategy and the competitive success or business performance of a sample of large Spanish industrial firms. The database used is mainly made up of the information from a mail survey, aimed at the industrial firms set up in Spain which in 1994 (study reference date) employed over 200 workers. The results obtained, with the proposed methodology, reveal that it is not possible to identify a direct relationship between the manufacturing strategy and business performance of the sample of firms analysed. In this sense, the chosen manufacturing strategy, that is to say, the emphasis on certain manufacturing competitive priorities and decision areas (or practices) and their coherence, does not enable us to distinguish between best and worst performers, and so does not allow us to explain the level of competitiveness of the sample of large Spanish industrial firms analysed in this work.
The aim of this work is to test whether there exists any correlation between the manufacturing strategy and competitive success (measured by business performance) of a sample of large industrial firms set up in Spain. To this end, the work is structured in the following way: firstly, the concept of manufacturing strategy and its influence on firms’ competitiveness is analysed; secondly, in the light of the literature on the subject, the proposed objectives and hypotheses to be tested are described; thirdly, the methodology used to collect the data, the variables analysed and the description of the sample are presented; finally, following the description of the statistical analyses and the discussion of the main research results, the conclusions and limitations are presented. In the past, manufacturing has been considered as an eminently technical function, the result of a set of decisions which are merely routine, operational and exclusively focused on obtaining maximum efficiency. Traditional management has overlooked any strategic consideration regarding manufacturing activities. In fact, Skinner  was the first to articulate and propound the concept of manufacturing strategy, used to avoid the isolation of this area from the rest of the functional areas and from the firm's competitive strategy. Leong et al.  point out that, except for terminology, there exists wide agreement in published work on the appropriate content of manufacturing strategy1, and thus, the most important elements of the content of manufacturing strategy can be captured in two broad areas: (1) competitive priorities (or capabilities) and (2) strategic decision categories. Manufacturing competitive priorities (or capabilities) may be defined as a consistent set of goals for manufacturing . The review of various works enables us to state the existence of four key manufacturing competitive priorities (or capabilities): cost or efficiency, flexibility, quality and delivery. These competitive priorities are compiled, among others, in the works of Skinner  and , Hayes and Schmenner , Mayer and Moore , Romano , Buffa , Hayes and Wheelwright , Fine and Hax , Hayes , Hayes et al. , Leong et al. , Schroeder and Lahr , Corbett and Van Wassenhove , and Tunc and Gupta .2 On the other hand, different authors make different classifications of the manufacturing decision categories. In particular, the taxonomy designed by Hayes and Wheelwright  and Hayes et al.  distinguishes between the manufacturing strategic decision categories of a structural and infrastructural nature. According to these authors, structural decisions cause a long-term impact, are difficult to reverse or undo once they are in place and require substantial capital investment to alter or extend them; they include decisions related to: (a) capacity (amount, timing, type), (b) facilities (size, location, specialisation), (c) technology (equipment, automation, linkages) and (d) vertical integration (direction, extent, balance). Infrastructural decisions are considered more “tactical” in nature because they encompass myriad ongoing decisions, they are linked with specific operating aspects of the business and generally do not require highly visible capital investments; among these it is fitting to mention those concerning: (a) workforce (skill level, wage policies, employment security), (b) quality (defect prevention, monitoring, intervention), (c) production planning/materials control (sourcing policies, centralisation, decision rules), (d) organisation (structure, control/reward systems, role of staff groups), (e) new product development processes and (f) performance measurement and reward systems.3 In the past, top management was exclusively concerned with structural decision areas; however, at the current time it is observed that world-class manufacturers pay the same attention to infrastructural decision areas (specially, those related to workforce management), as these constitute the bases for long-term competitiveness. The studies on the strategic nature of manufacturing have their origin in the seminal work of Skinner and consider that production management can be a fundamental cornerstone for the competitive strategy of a firm, or at least on an equal level with the rest of the functional areas. This is also the approach underlying, among others, the works of Hayes and Schmenner , Skinner , Buffa , Hayes and Wheelwright , Fine and Hax , Swamidass , Hayes et al. , Cleveland et al. , Hill , Marucheck et al. , Schroeder and Lahr  and Corbett and Van Wassenhove . It is suggested that manufacturing can contribute to firms’ success supporting the implementation of the competitive strategy. Thus, manufacturing can become one of the main competitive advantages of the firms in the extent that the strategy of this area is in line with the competitive strategy and supports its implementation. The key to business success lies in the explicit formulation of a manufacturing competitive priority (or capability) and the implementation of the corresponding manufacturing decisions upholding it.4 In general, it is argued that firms have to make choices with respect to the four manufacturing competitive priorities (or capabilities); they cannot achieve favourable results in more than one competitive priority and its attainment is possible by making appropriate strategic decisions or practices in certain key decision areas, that is to say, implementing a set of specific manufacturing decisions. In this sense, there exist trade-offs between the different competitive priorities . This approach refers, precisely, to the impossibility that a firm may focus successfully on simultaneously obtaining more than one competitive priority. Hence, the consistency between the pursued competitive priority and the decisions implemented to achieve it, that is to say, the implementation of manufacturing decisions which support the competitive priority that emanates from the competitive or corporate strategy enables firms to obtain superior business performance. On the contrary, the firms that do not maintain consistency between the pursued competitive priority and the manufacturing decisions or practices they implement do not achieve superior business performance. According to this approach, manufacturing strategy is characterised as consisting of a pattern of many individual decisions that affect the ability of the firm to meet long-term objectives . In this sense, the effectiveness of the manufacturing strategy can be measured by assessing the degree of linkage or consistency between the competitive priorities which are emphasised and the corresponding decisions regarding the structure and infrastructure of operations . Nevertheless, based on the experience of Japanese manufacturers, it has been observed that some firms tend to simultaneously achieve acceptable levels in the four competitive priorities, owing to the implementation of certain manufacturing practices such as continuous improvement, elimination of waste, total quality management (TQM), worker empowerment, teamwork, cooperation with suppliers and customer orientation. In these firms the model of trade-offs cannot be applied and they are known as world-class manufacturers .5 The production function is the determinant factor of their competitive strategies; hence, their competitive success lies in the creation and exploitation of the resources and capabilities generated in the production area.6 Despite these contributions, the model of trade-offs is still considered as the most appropriate for describing the manufacturing strategy . Finally, after analysing the historical perspective of manufacturing strategy and reviewing the field from several different perspectives, Voss  defends the existence of three different paradigms of choice and content in manufacturing strategy: (a) competing through manufacturing capabilities – the firm should align its capabilities with the key success factors, its corporate and marketing strategies and the demands of the market place, (b) strategic choices in manufacturing strategy – based on the need for internal and external consistency between choices in manufacturing strategy (the choices made are contingent on context and strategy) and, (c) best practice – characterised by, for example, world-class manufacturing that will lead to superior performance and capability.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This work has tested the possible existence of a correlation between the manufacturing strategy content and the business performance of a sample of large industrial firms set up in Spain. These firms have been classified in terms of their business performance and it has been checked that there do not exist significant differences between the manufacturing strategies content of the high, medium and low performers. In this way, we reach the conclusion that there does not seem to exist any profile of manufacturing strategies which can be clearly associated with each group of firms and thus, it is not possible to identify a manufacturing strategy content characteristic of the best performers. In other words, there do not exist significant differences between the best and worst performers regarding the manufacturing competitive priorities and decisions they consider most important. On the other hand, we have analysed whether the implementation of coherent manufacturing strategies, that is to say, whether the implementation of manufacturing decisions which are consistent with the pursued competitive priorities, is a distinguishing characteristic of the high-performing firms (compared to medium and low performers). In this sense, no significant differences were observed in the consistency between the manufacturing competitive priorities and decisions of the high-, medium- and low-performing firms; furthermore, in general, for the set of firms analysed, and according to the proposed model, it is possible to state that there exists a high consistency in the planned manufacturing strategies. In conclusion, in accordance with the results obtained in this research work, it is not possible to identify a clear relation between the manufacturing strategies and the business performance of the sample of firms under analysis. For all of these reasons, it is fitting to consider that, with the data available and the methodology used, the manufacturing strategy does not allow us to explain the competitiveness (or the business performance) of the sample of Spanish industrial firms analysed in this work. The results obtained may be due to the fact that, in general, the firms do not have clearly specified manufacturing competitive priorities and decisions (or practices) which would enable them to achieve such competitive priorities. Hence, they apply different combinations of competitive priorities and decisions (or practices) which may even become inconsistent and do not explain or determine business performance. Thus, it can be stated that, in general, the Spanish factories are at Stage 2 of development in manufacturing's strategic role according to the model devised by Hayes and Wheelwright  and Hayes et al. , that is to say, the so-called “externally neutral” stage. It is therefore to be supposed that an efficient management of the manufacturing area would improve the results of the firms analysed and increase their competitive advantages. Nevertheless, obtaining better performance is not always associated with the manufacturing strategies implemented, but rather with the success of the strategies of other departments such as R&D or marketing, or with the contacts and market knowledge of top management. Finally, it is fitting to point out that the underlying hypothesis (regarding the incidence of the manufacturing strategies on the competitiveness of firms) is present in most of the literature on production strategic management, although empirical works testing this hypothesis are scarce. In this sense, and in our opinion, the main limitations or difficulties of this type of empirical research, and of this research work in particular, are the following: the confusion regarding the terminology and concepts in manufacturing strategy, the difficulty in choosing the suitable unit of analysis – firm, business unit, manufacturing business unit or factory – , the representativeness of the sample analysed, the questionable reliability of the information supplied by the managers and the difficulty in obtaining a suitable measure of firms’ competitiveness. All of these limitations justify the scarcity of the empirical analyses on this subject. Thus, this work is of an exploratory nature: the methodology used could be revised (specially the manufacturing competitive priorities and decisions identified as coherent) and, as the sample is not representative of the objective population, its conclusions cannot be extrapolated to the rest of the population. Despite these limitations, the main contribution of this work lies in the identification and obtaining of the necessary data, establishing the specific hypotheses and designing a methodology enabling us to test one of the most relevant arguments in the production strategic management literature: the influence of manufacturing strategy on the competitive success of the firms.