The manufacturing strategy-capabilities links in mass customisation and agile manufacturing - an exploratory study
This paper is based on longitudinal case studies of research into strategy formulation within six plants from large firms - three in the car industry and three from the computer industry - that have embarked on mass customisation. The core theme of this paper is that, in spite of the increasing attention given to manufacturing strategy from the seminal work of Skinner through to the plethora of articles in recent times, little is mentioned about its application to paradigms of agility or mass customisation. As a consequence firms attempt to become agile and to pursue mass customisation without appreciating the contribution of plant-specific manufacturing strategies that might enable them to achieve these aspirations. We examine the enablers and strategic blockages in pursuing mass customisation, via a mapping process, and reveal reasons why some firms remain unable to devise and implement manufacturing strategies.
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