Manufacturing Strategy: Text and Cases by Terry Hill

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So manufacturing management's attention must increasingly be towards strategy. This does not mean that operations are unimportant, but the balance and direction of management activity needs to reflect the relative impact on business performance of strategy and operations whilst recognizing that both need to be done well. Top management has, by and large, perceived corporate improvements as coming mainly through broad decisions concerning new markets, takeovers and so on. However, the building blocks of corporate success are to be found in creating effective, successful businesses where manufacturing supports the market requirement within a well-chosen, well-argued and well-understood corporate strategy.

Each crisis is viewed as a 'temporary situation' which often militates against recognizing the need to review strategies fundamentally. By the time this need becomes obvious the business is often at a serious competitive disadvantage. The aims of this book are to reverse the reactive response and shortterm perspectives held by manufacturing and to turn the role into one which seeks to manage manufacturing strategically by setting out the managerial and corporate issues which need to be addressed to establish competitive advantage.

Manufacturing executives tend to respond to corporate needs and difficulties without evaluating the consequences or alternatives and then explaining these to others. Any senior executive, including those in manufacturing, must be able to say 'no' from a total business perspective and with sound corporate-related arguments. In typical situations, production managers accept the current and future demands placed on the systems and capacities they control, then work to resolve them. In this way, they decide between corporate alternatives, but only from a narrow functional perspective of what appears best for the business.

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