July 14, 2017

Manufacturing Policy - Review and Modification

Business strategy changes and manufacturing policy and strategy have to change. Wickham Skinner advocated the concept of focused factory. Focused factories reflect the business strategy of the organization. So when business strategy changes what happens to the focused factory. It can change and it has to change, asserts Prof. Wickham Skinner in a recent paper published in the journal, Production and Operations Management (October 2015). The paper describes the experience of  Hewlett Packard's plant for computer servers in Germany. It successfully changed its focus in line with the change in environment and the consequent business strategy.

Hendrik Brumme, Daniel Simonovich, Wickham Skinner, and Luk Van Wassenhove present new ideas and understandings about review and modification of focused production operations developed from insights derived from an historical analysis of the evolution of Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) award winning plant for computer servers in Germany. The plant was restructured from an innovation factory to an operational excellence factory and  then  to a solutions factory. The brings out the right timing of focus changes and discusses the critical structural and infrastructural changes required during the focus transitions as well as cross-functional coordination and leadership challenge. The production and related operations constitute a system and even as a focused factory or production system, it can adapt to disruptive change.  The article also lists out seven myths regarding focused factories and rebuts them.

The content is the paper is also reflected in this Knowledge @ Insead post.

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