Lemke, Fred; Goffin, Keith; Szwejczewski, Marek (Emerald, 2003)
Supplier partnerships can be the key in enhancing the performance of manufacturing companies. Consequently, partnership has been strongly recommended by academics and practitioners alike. Surprisingly, the concept of partnership is only poorly understood. Many authors have identified the advantages that it can bring but far less has been published on the attributes of partnership itself. What is known is that partnerships are “close” relationships and thus, the level of relationship closeness is an appropriate angle for exploring supplier partnerships. Research was conducted using the repertory grid technique with an exploratory sample of ten managers from four German engineering companies. It revealed that supplier partnerships are very different from other forms of relationship and identified five distinct attributes of partnerships. These findings have a number of implications for both practitioners and researchers.
Vereecke, Ann; Pandelaere, Els (Vlerick Business School, 2004)
Since the introduction of the concepts of lean manufacturing, agility and mass customization it is questioned to what extent the trade-off between cost and flexibility still holds. It has been the objective of our research to test the trade-off theory empirically using the data of the International Manufacturing Strategy Survey (IMSS). Our research confirms the well accepted manufacturing profile of low cost producers, which typically use a line process, and of flexible producers, which typically produce in a job shop. However, we also observe that some companies manage to overcome the cost/flexibility trade-off, by introducing the concept of postponed manufacturing. These companies are characterized by an assembly-to-order policy of standardized semi-finished products, produced in a line process. Flexibility and low cost are thus obtained by playing with the position of the decoupling point. Keywords: manufacturing strategy, mass customization, flexibility
Offshoring manufacturing to low labor cost countries has become trendy. Nearly everyday one sees an announcement in the business press of companies moving to China or India. Whilst production cost is an important consideration in choosing a location for the factory, we argue that one should not become victim of a herd effect and that other parameters e.g. quality, flexibility, transportation and energy costs, etc. need to be taken into consideration in the determination of the optimal manufacturing network. Relocating a factory is changing the strategic architecture of the company's manufacturing network and requires a long term view and a good model to design the architecture of the manufacturing network. Based on empirical survey research and a set of case studies we provide such a model to think about the roles of factories in the strategic manufacturing network of the firm. But we go beyond a classification and a descriptive model and we provide a set of six managerial issues that require senior management's attention in determining the optimal manufacturing network and its dynamic evolution. We argue for example that senior management needs to build a balanced portfolio of different types of factories, has to have a performance measurement system adapted to the type of factory, as well as the appropriate leadership for each of the different types of factories and needs to actively manage the dynamics and the flows of innovation in the factory network. Key words: international manufacturing, network management, outsourcing
Vandevelde, Anneke; Van Dierdonck, Roland; Clarysse, Bart; Debackere, Koenraad (Vlerick Business School, 2002)
There is limited empirical evidence to support the importance of design-manufacturing (DM) integration on the performance of new product development projects. This article focuses on the impact of integration processes and their outcomes on multidimensional project performance. When considering integration as interaction processes, we find that the degree of interaction is positively correlated with respect for time and prestige. If one succeeds in smoothing the production start-up, which is an outcome of integration, a better respect for time, budget and technical specifications is realized. Finally, we provide some insights into the perceived room to improve integration. Even though perceptions do not always correspond with reality, it is interesting to examine them since product development decisions are often taken in response to an individual's perceptions (Kleinschmidt & Cooper, 1995).
Vandevelde, Anneke; Van Dierdonck, Roland; Clarysse, Bart (Vlerick Business School, 2002)
This article describes the major barriers across the design-manufacturing interface and examines ways to overcome them to achieve a smooth production start-up. An integration model reveals that formalization facilitates a smooth production start-up. Independent of the degree of formalization during the early development stages, a formal approach is preferred when the new product is introduced into production. Another facilitating factor is the empathy from design towards manufacturing, which can be stimulated by managerial actions. Although the complexity and newness of product and technology hinder a smooth production start-up, their effect seems to vanish by introducing formalization and by striving for a design team that has empathy towards manufacturing.
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