Hayes and Wheelwright describe four stages of manufacturing competitiveness:
Stage I- internally neutral
Stage I companies consider their manufacturing organisation to be internally neutral, in that its role is simply to "make the stuff", without any surprises. Such companies believe that their product designs are so unusual or their marketing organisation so powerful that if the product can simply be delivered to customers, as advertised, the company will be successful. The operations function is internally focussed and reactive. They are viewed as necessary evil. The best that the organization hopes for is that operations do not mess up
Stage II- externally neutral- telecom
Stage II companies look outward and ask their manufacturing organisation to be externally neutral, that is, able to meet the standards imposed by their major competitors. Such companies tend to adhere to industry practice and industry standards. They buy their parts, materials and production equipment from the same suppliers that their competitors use, follow similar approaches to quality and inventory control, establish similar relationships with their workforce, and regard technicians and managers as interchangeable parts - hiring both, as needed, from other companies in the industry.
Stage III- internally supportive- automobile ford
Stage III companies have a manufacturing organisation that is internally supportive of other parts of the company, with a co-ordinated set of manufacturing structural and infrastructural decisions tailored to their specific competitive strategy.
Stage IV- externally supportive- apple
Stage IV companies regard their manufacturing organisation as externally supportive, that is, playing a key role in helping the whole company achieve an edge over its competitors. Such companies are not content simply to copy their competitors, or even to be the "toughest kid on the block" in their own neighbourhood. They seek to be as good as anybody in the...
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