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Designing and managing manufacturing networks: a survey of Swedish plants
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Production Economics. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Production Economics. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2009 (English)In: Production planning & control (Print), ISSN 0953-7287, E-ISSN 1366-5871, Vol. 20, no 2, 101-112 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The design and management of the manufacturing network for a firm is an important factor for its competitive position. By manufacturing network we mean the plant or plants of a manufacturing firm and the relationships with external suppliers. The way that these operate together is crucial for supporting the competition of the products in the marketplace. This article presents the results of a survey of 106 Swedish manufacturing plants. We find that the markets and supply networks of Swedish plants are global, but there is a focus on Europe. The main reason for locating a plant in Sweden is proximity to skills and knowledge, and we find no pure low-cost plants. The overall level of site competence is very high. There are many significant differences between how internal and external suppliers are selected. The choice of internal suppliers, i.e. those suppliers in the manufacturing network that belong to the same firm, is to a large extent based on a single corporate decision reflecting quality and competence, while external suppliers are chosen based on quality, price and delivery dependability considerations. This study provides a broad analysis of the manufacturing networks in which Swedish plants operate, and the roles of these plants.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2009. Vol. 20, no 2, 101-112 p.
Keyword [en]
empirical analysis, operations management, supply chain management, survey research, Sweden
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-17137DOI: 10.1080/09537280802705252ISI: 000263561600002OAI: diva2:202127

This is an electronic version of an article published in:Andreas Feldmann, Jan Olhager and Fredrik Persson, Designing and managing manufacturing networks-a survey of Swedish plants, 2009, PRODUCTION PLANNING and CONTROL, (20), 2, 101-112.PRODUCTION PLANNING and CONTROL is available online at informaworldTM: Taylor & Francis

Available from: 2009-03-23 Created: 2009-03-07 Last updated: 2014-03-18Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. A Strategic Perspective on Plants in Manufacturing Networks
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Strategic Perspective on Plants in Manufacturing Networks
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation addresses the topic of manufacturing network strategies, with a particular focus on the plant perspective. Research on manufacturing networks aims at contributing decision support on how to set up and how to coordinate factories that act in a global setting. Manufacturing networks are networks consisting of wholly owned plant, as opposed to supply chains management where also plants belonging to other organisations are considered. Research on the role of the plant in manufacturing networks can help to gain insights in how the network works and how to achieve network-related competitive advantages. Over the last two decades there has been a trend in increased globalisation and when companies expand beyond their home markets there is a leap in complexity that needs to be handled. A survey of Swedish plants shows that a large majority of medium and large sized plants are part in some kind of manufacturing network, making research on such networks highly relevant.

The overall objective of this dissertation is to investigate how factories fit into the network in terms of roles, strategic autonomy and market configurations. Much research has either focused on networks as a whole, often assuming similar or identical plants, or the focus has been on plant internal decision. This research addresses the borderland between plant and network. This dissertation addresses two research objectives. The first is to investigate the relationship between networks and plants roles with particular focus on Swedish based networks and plants and the second is to test and further develop the theory on plant roles.

The empirical data that was used in the dissertation was the product of a mail survey and a case study at a manufacturer of heat exchangers. The survey was sent to 563 Swedish factories and included information on competitive priorities, processes, plant roles, performance, suppliers, risk as well as general product and company information. Using focus groups, the case company was followed from the start of the project in January 2006. Following the case company during five years gave the opportunity to study networks in transformation.

The research contributed to several insights to the area of plant roles and manufacturing networks as well as to practitioners in manufacturing. Internal and external suppliers are handled differently in terms of selection criteria, which indicates different roles in the network. Detailed exploration of individual site competences has lead to an improved model based on competence themes and links between the plant level and the network level have been established. Additionally we contribute to the manufacturing strategy process area by investigating and suggesting a model for strategic decision autonomy in manufacturing networks. The results are aimed at providing guidance for decision making in manufacturing networks as well as providing an improved foundation for further research in the area.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2011. 34 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1380
Empirical research, manufacturing networks, performance, plant roles, site competences, strategy
National Category
Engineering and Technology
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-68666 (URN)978-91-7393-134-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-06-10, ACAS, Hus A, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2011-05-27 Created: 2011-05-27 Last updated: 2011-05-27Bibliographically approved

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