This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Operations Essay

7953 words - 32 pages

Competing Through

by Steven C. Wheelwright and Robert H. Hayes

Harvard Business Review
Reprint 85117


J A N U A RY– F E B R U A RY 1 9 8 5

Competing Through Manufacturing
by Steven C. Wheelwright and Robert H. Hayes


anufacturing companies, particularly
those in the United States, are today facing
intensified competition. For many, it is a
case of simple survival. What makes this challenge
so difficult is that the “secret weapon” of their fiercest competitors is based not so much on better product design, marketing ingenuity, or financial strength
as on something much harder to duplicate: superior
overall manufacturing capability. For a long ...view middle of the document...

This is all to the good. What
managers still lack, however is a powerful descriptive framework for understanding how their manufacturing organizations are contributing overall strategic goals, as well as the other kinds of contribution those organizations could be asked
to make. This article provides such a framework.
Drawing on their extensive field research, the authors outline a developmental continuum of four stages that, taken
together, identify the different roles that manufacturing can play in a company’s efforts to formulate and achieve its
strategic objectives. Even more important, they make clear the key choices and managerial challenges at each of these
Mr. Wheelwright, the Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, and Byers Professor of Management at Stanford Graduate School of
Business, is a recognized expert on manufacuring industries and the coauthor, with Mr. Hayes, of two previous articles
in HBR.
Mr. Hayes is William Barclay Harding Professor of Management of Technology at Harvard Business School and the
coauthor of three McKinsey award-winning articles in HBR: “Managing Our Way to Economic Decline” (July–August
1981), and “Managing as if Tomorrow Mattered” (May-June 1982) with David A. Garvin.
This article is adapted from their new book Restoring Our Competitive Edge: Competing Through Manufacturing
(Wiley, 1984).

Copyright © 1985 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved.

Stages in Manufacturing’s Strategic Role

Minimize Manufacturing’s Negative
Potential: “Internally Neutral”

Outside experts are called in to make
decisions about strategic manufacturing
Internal, detailed management control
systems are the primary means for
monitoring manufacturing performance
Manufacturing is kept flexible and


Achieve Parity with Competitors:
“Externally Neutral”

“Industry practice” is followed
The planning horizon for manufacturing
investment decisions is extended to
incorporate a single-business cycle
Capital investment is the primary means
for catching up with competition or
achieving a competitive edge


Provide Credible Support to the
Business Strategy: “Internally

Manufacturing investments are screened
for consistency with the business strategy
A manufacturing strategy is formulated
and pursued
Longer-term manufacturing developments
and trends are addressed systematically


Pursue a Manufacturing-Base
Competitive Advantage: “Externally

Efforts are made to anticipate the
potential of new manufacturing practices
and technologies
Manufacturing is involved “up front” in
major marketing and engineering
decisions (and vice versa)
Long-range programs are pursued in
order to acquire capabilities in advance
of needs.

far more complex than is suggested by the simple
dichotomy between “weakness” and “strength.”
There is no single end that every manufacturing...

Other assignments on Operations

Operations Decisions Essay

1920 words - 8 pages Assignment 1: Operations Decisions ECO 550- Managerial Economics and Globalization 7/21/2012 1. Briefly describe the details of the fictitious business that you created for this assignment. There are currently 100 workers being utilized that work for 20 days per month at a wage of $70 per day. The workers produce 6,000 units of output per month with variable costs of $2,000 per day. The fixed costs are not disclosed and we are told

Operations Management Essay

2841 words - 12 pages 1. Explain how operations management activities affect the customer experiences described in the Museum of Science and Industry anecdote at the beginning of this chapter. What “moments of truth” would a customer encounter? Operations Management, focuses on the goods, service and processes in creating customer experiences and satiations. This is done by job design and customer flow, the importance of service management skills, creating a

Operations Management

1474 words - 6 pages Richard J. Meadows Bellevue University MBA 626, T303, Operations Management Field Exercise 20 May 2012 Overview Kinetic Concepts, Incorporated (KCI) headquarters is located in San Antonio, Texas. They have been in business since 1976 and have operations in the United States, Austria, Germany, United Kingdom, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy and Canada with a total

Operations Management

578 words - 3 pages management and production plolicy is a key to success in the world economy. Not many people would say go for production --> also many professors Reduce cost - Increase revenues (quality, performance) - Operations are very important also for service industry --> main ongoing process of consultancy market: majority is operations (= production of goods and services). Double effect: Production as a transformation process of inputs --> people and facilities. We are the inputs of Bocconi and it has to transform us in sth better.

Global Operations

507 words - 3 pages Global Operations Management Globalization strategies haves changed the face of international business. The Internet and technological advances have opened doors for smaller organization to participate in the global market. Today with all the advances in technology more companies have become more global in their commercial activities. Ease of access to new markets for supply and demand, faster and more reliable global transportation, greater


2095 words - 9 pages ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR UNIT-I: Introduction - Organizational Behavior – Nature – Management Functions – Management Roles – Management Skills – Systematic Study; Foundations of Individual Behavior-Attitudes – Types of Attitudes. Introduction: Definition: Organization Behavior: • A field of study that investigates the impact that individuals, groups, and structure have on behavior within organizations, for the purpose of applying

Chapter Operations Management

566 words - 3 pages Chapter 2: Operations Strategy and Competiveness This chapter explains the importance of business strategy and the ties it has with operation strategy. A business strategy includes the company’s visionary mission, its market, and core competencies. This is what ultimately makes the companies long term plan. The overall model for development operations strategies are marketing strategy, finance strategy and operational strategy. Operational

Saigon Catering Company - Operations

1545 words - 7 pages Operations of The Saigon Catering Company Introduction This paper sets out to look at the operational problem of a catering business called The Saigon Catering Company (SCC). SCC is a small event catering company based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam which caters for parties hosted by expatriates (non-Vietnamese) either at their offices or their homes. The enterprise was started about three years ago with $100,000 capital. The owners are two

Operations Management - Inventory

3966 words - 16 pages 1.1 INTRODUCTION Inventory Management An Inventory is a Stock or Store of goods kept to meet customers expected demand. Inventory can also be defined as the stored accumulation of transformed resources in a process, and it usually applies to material resources but may also be used for inventories of information. Almost all operations keep some kind of inventory, most usually of materials but also of information and customers (Customers

Zara Operations Strategy

4086 words - 17 pages ZARA’S OPERATIONS STATEGY, A CRITIQUE OF A BUSINESS CASE. 1.Excecutive summary. Operations management is in regard to all operations within the organization responsible for creating goods and services that organizations pass to their customers. This function is at the heart of all organizations, giving the means of achieving their aims and reason for their existence. These activities include: managing purchases, inventory control, quality

Operations And Supply Chain Management

4042 words - 17 pages Chapter 01 Operations and Supply Chain Management Learning Objectives for Chapter 1 1. Understand why it is important to study operations and supply chain management. 2. Define efficient and effective operations. 3. Categorize operations and supply chain processes. 4. Contrast differences between services and goods producing processes. 5. Identify operations and supply chain management career opportunities. 6

Similar Documents

Operations Essay

1579 words - 7 pages operations strategy at all. They would say that new product and service development is one of the three major processes that any organization must master in order to succeed (the other two of course being operations and marketing). We would agree with this. In fact, it is because the topic is so important that we include it within our broad treatment of operations strategy; it is not that new product and service development is a subset of operations

Operations Essay

5309 words - 22 pages of operational choices available to execute on your competitive essence. Some companies have tried to manage this complexity by establishing guiding principles about where and how capabilities can be shared across geographies, what should be outsourced or who will make which decisions. Many have also relied on a longstanding practice to achieve global efficiency: standardizing and centralizing backoffice operations while managing customer-facing

Operations Essay 2993 Words

2993 words - 12 pages ------------------------------------------------- Manzana insurance ------------------------------------------------- Manzana insurance Operations Analysis Operations Analysis Executive Summary Manzana Insurance specialises in commercial insurance, with the Fruitvale branch typically processing 40 requests per day and the product mix being 60% new policies and 40% renewal requests. The operating performance of

Operations Strategy Essay

632 words - 3 pages February 9, 2012 BUSM 302 Operations Management Operations Strategy of Dell The main function of an operations strategy is to ensure that a plan is in place for the operations of the company so that is can as productive as possible with the use of available resources. These companies have to ensure that their operations plan is place and that it is functioning properly in order to achieve desired results within the market place. I am