TITLE

The Architecture of Manufacturing Networks -- Integrating the Coordination Perspective

AUTHOR(S)
Mundt, Andreas
PUB. DATE
October 2012
SOURCE
University of St. Gallen, Business Dissertations;10/29/2012, p1
SOURCE TYPE
Dissertation
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
A manufacturing network is a valuable construct that constitutes a systemic view on companies’ globally dispersed operations. However, many multinationals fail in leveraging their networks’ full potential, lacking both a holistic understanding and systematic design and management approach. Likewise, except for the design of material flows, research is poor in providing adequate solutions to analyse, develop and improve manufacturing networks. Especially from an operations management perspective, an aggregated view on the network’s plants, their competencies, strategic reasons, and idiosyncratic contributions, as well as an elaboration of the coordination layer in terms of how to organise the interplay between the scattered plants has been addressed very simplified. This study seeks to overcome these limitations, supporting today’s operations leaders in the conceptual and strategic design and management of their intra-company manufacturing networks; not only from a configuration perspective, but, in particular, by integrating the coordination layer. First, the central coordination decision dimensions that network managers face are isolated from operations management literature and validated by practical discussion. Second, each coordination decision dimension is operationalised by a distinct management framework. The frameworks serve as tools stimulating conceptual thinking and the derivation of strategic options for the design of coordination mechanisms. Third, the coordination layer is put in a wider context, linking it with the network configuration, i.e., its organisation, structure, and specialisation. A novel approach for the design of a plant role portfolio is promoted – a framework to systematically create and keep track of the strategic roles the sites play in the network. It is further demonstrated how changes in the configuration of the plant role portfolio affect the network coordination. Fourth, a holistic network management architecture is derived, anchoring the plant role portfolio and the single coordination frameworks. It provides an integral view on manufacturing networks from the operations manager’s superordinate perspective. Finally, the architecture is transformed into a “suggested practice approach” for strategic network design and management. Rather than with a restrictive process relying on prescriptive steps, operations managers are equipped with a discursive approach focusing on the main elements to analyse, and the central decisions to make when conceptually (re-)designing their network.
ACCESSION #
96382215

 

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