Developing a Manufacturing Strategy: Principles and Concepts

  • Terry Hill


Companies invest in a wide range of functions and capabilities in order to make and sell products at a profit. Consequently, the degree to which a company’s functions are aligned to the needs of its markets will directly affect its overall revenue, rate of growth and level of profit. The size of investment in the processes and infrastructure within manufacturing is significant. Getting it right, therefore, is fundamental to a firm’s overall success. If a company could change its manufacturing processes and infrastructure without incurring the key penalties of delay and increased investment, then the strategic decisions within manufacturing would be of little concern or consequence. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that a lack of fit between these investments and a company’s markets will lead to a business being well wide of the mark. Many executives are still unaware ‘that what appear to be routine manufacturing decisions frequently come to limit the corporation’s strategic options, binding it with facilities, equipment, personnel, basic controls, and policies to a noncompetitive posture, which may take years to turn round’.1


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Notes and references

  1. 1.
    Skinner, W., ‘Manufacturing — Missing Link in Corporate Strategy’, Harvard Business Review, May–June 1969, p. 13.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    These perspectives are well covered in S Kotha and D Orne ‘Generic Manufacturing Strategies: a Conceptual Analysis’, Strategic Management Journal, vol. 10, 211–31 (1989).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Also, refer to W. Skinner, Manufacturing — The Formidable Competitive Weapon (New York: John Wiley, 1985). The section entitled ‘Wanted: A New Breed of Manufacturing Manager’ provides insights on developments in production management in the period 1980 to 1984 and the changing task to meet, among other things, the strategic role in manufacturing.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    This argument was put forward in T. J. Hill, ‘Manufacturing Implications in Determining Corporate Policy’, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 1, no. 1, p. 4.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    These include D. A. Aaker, Developing Business Strategies (New York: John Wiley, 1988)Google Scholar
  6. H. I. Ansoff, Corporate Strategies (New York: Penguin, 1987)Google Scholar
  7. P. J. Below et al., The Executive Guide to Strategic Planning (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1987)Google Scholar
  8. A. C. Hax and N. S. Mailuf, Strategic management: An International Perspective (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall International, 1984)Google Scholar
  9. B. Houlden, Understanding Company Strategy (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1990)Google Scholar
  10. G. Johnson and K. Scholes, Exploring Corporate Strategy (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall International, 1989)Google Scholar
  11. M. E. Porter, Competitive Strategy (New York: The Free Press, 1980), and J. Quinn et al., The Strategy Process (1988).Google Scholar
  12. 6.
    These are based on a presentation by D. Fisher (Ernst & Young) at Princeton, NJ, June 1992.Google Scholar
  13. 7.
    See Terry Hill, The Essence of Operations Management (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall International, 1993), p. 25.Google Scholar

Further Reading

  1. Buffa, E. S., Meeting the Competitive Challenge: Manufacturing Strategy for U.S. Companies (Homewood. Ill.: Richard D. Irwin. 1984).Google Scholar
  2. Gunn, T. G., Manufacturing for Competitive Advantage (Cambridge, Mass.: Ballinger, 1987).Google Scholar
  3. Mather, H., Competitive Manufacturing (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall International, 1988).Google Scholar
  4. Samson, D., Manufacturing and Operations Strategy (Sydney: Prentice-Hall, 1991).Google Scholar
  5. Skinner, W., Manufacturing in Corporate Strategy (New York: John Wiley, 1978).Google Scholar
  6. Slack, N., The Manufacturing Advantage (London: Mercury Books. 1991).Google Scholar
  7. Voss, C. A. (ed.), Manufacturing Strategy (London: Chapman & Hall, 1992).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Terry Hill 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Terry Hill
    • 1
  1. 1.London Business SchoolUK

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