On Manufacturing Strategies : Implementation and utilization at some Swedish manufacturing industries

Abstract: This thesis discusses the issue of manufacturing strategies. Many articles and books on this matter have been published during the last 30 years, the majority being focused on American or British companies. Research on the formulation and implicationof manufacturing strategies in Swedish companies, however, is limited. This thesis focuses on findings from two large-scale Swedish companies, Saab Automobile AB and Ericsson Mobile Communications AB, known for their work on manufacturingstrategies, and from 62 medium sized enterprises. The main objectives of the manufacturing system are to manufacture products that satisfy the customer as well as to give the manufacturer a good return on investment. The studies show that manufacturing strategies play an important role in these efforts and they always form the base for the specification of the manufacturing system. Furthermore, the studies show that SAAB and Ericsson work actively with manufacturing strategies. The most important factors vary, but quality, cost, delivery precision and, concerning consumer products, Time To Market (TTM) are always considered essential to the success of the company. It is also essential that the top management ofthe company recognize this importance of the strategies. Strategies are not directly used in the daily work, but the personnel work towards short-term, easily comprehensible,targets that are derived from the manufacturing strategies.To get a wider view of the situation in Swedish industry, a survey among a large number of medium sized enterprises was performed. The result showed that also these companies work with strategies, however, not as systematically as Saab and Ericsson and the strategies are not always documented and implemented. The most valued competitive priorities were quality and delivery precision/reliability. It was also shown that a majority of these companies had certified quality management or environmental management systems.

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