Strategic Rules of Manufacturing Essay

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NEW STRATEGIC ROLES OF MANUFACTURING: BEYOND FIT, FOCUS AND TRADE-OFF Yang Cheng, John Johansen, Harry Boer Center for Industrial Production, Aalborg University Fibigerstraede 16, DK-9200 Aalborg, Denmark ABSTRACT This paper aims to view manufacturing from a new angle, and tries to look beyond fit, focus and trade-offs, approaches which may no longer be sufficient for long-term competitive success. Four cases from different industries are described and used to illustrate and discuss the possibility of manufacturing playing new strategic roles. Backward, forward and lateral interactive support are suggested to explicate how manufacturing can realize its new strategic roles. Finally, four new strategic roles of manufacturing are suggested. They are: innovation manufacturing, ramp-up manufacturing, primary manufacturing, and service manufacturing. Keywords: manufacturing strategy, manufacturing roles INTRODUCTION Currently, manufacturing is viewed as a simple process of transforming materials into products mostly. Trying to propose ideas to make manufacturing work more efficiently and/or effectively, most studies take their outset in offering customers what they want at the lowest possible cost (Riis et al., 2007). However, this view no longer suffices as the environment of manufacturing has faced significant changes in the past decade. In fact, the most notable challenges for manufacturing are increased levels of complexity and uncertainty coming from increased globalization, of markets and operations, the diversified demands of customers, drastic reductions in product lifecycles, and manufacturing and ICT technology progress. In a word, the knowledge base for manufacturing has become more complex and this process is likely to continue. Therefore, it is quite important to change our perspectives on manufacturing, from a resource-based to

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