Decisions in manufacturing related issues are usually organized into categories, generally known as decision categories. There are various proposed frameworks relating to decision categories in manufacturing. The number of decision categories differs a little among several authors. We will bifurcate the decision categories of manufacturing into structural and infrastructural categories.
Structural categories consider physical categories, tangibles, which demand a usually huge capital investment and will therefore be difficult to change or alter once set up. The infrastructural categories figure out how the organisation’s systems, policies,and practices are going to be managed. Even though it not necessarily demands large capital investments, changing or development of these categories can be equally as challenging and time consuming as the structural categories.
Example of Manufacturing Strategy Decision Categories
|Structural Decision Categories||Type of sub-decisions|
|Process technology||Process choice, technology, integration, etc.|
|Facilities||Size, place, specialisation and focus|
|Capacity||Amount, time, increment size|
|Vertical integration||Direction, degree, balance|
|Infrastructural Categories||Type of sub-decisions|
|Performance measurement||Measurements, strategies to measure, feedback|
|Introduction of new products||Rate of introduction|
|Organisation||Design and style, human resources, competency development|
|Manufacturing planning and control||System design, decision support, system integration|
An extensive definition of manufacturing strategy is given by Platts et al.: “a pattern of decisions, both structural and infrastructural that establish the capability of a manufacturing system and specify the way it will operate, in order to meet a set of manufacturing objectives that are in conjuction with the overall business objectives.”
The operationalisation of manufacturing strategy comes by a pattern of decisions. Decisions within the manufacturing functions figure out which resources to utilize, what routines should be used, i.e. exactly what techniques to use and emphasise in order to accomplish the manufacturing objectives. The group of practices, routines and resources used eventually establish the operating characteristics of the manufacturing system