Purpose – The ability of a team from a manufacturer and its partners to formulate strategic plans for supply chains is investigated. The research aims to improve the process of formulate strategic plans for supply chains is investigated. The research aims to improve the process of formulation using the strategic operations and logistics planning (SOLP) process. Design/methodology/approach – SOLP involves researchers facilitating many meetings of the planning team in an action research setting at their premises. Combining knowledge from operations strategy and socio‐technical systems (STS), participant observation and semi‐structured surveys are used to obtain rich data. Team members derive order‐winning criteria and design policies along the supply chain for several product groups, using the process to craft strategies whilst researchers study it. One application included managers from supply chain partners whilst the other was limited to manufacturer managers. Working within the corporate plans of the focal company, the formulation is carried out by middle managers. Findings – Carrying out the process twice at a heavy fabrication business (HFB) in Australia demonstrated that a team of chain managers can formulate strategic operations plans for a complete heavy industry chain. Extensive support, in the form of worksheets and facilitation, is important to formulation and extent of implementation of the plans. A case is made that assistance is probably necessary for full implementation of those plans. Research limitations/implications – Whilst limited to cases in a heavy manufacturer, the research is believed to be applicable to a range of medium‐sized supply chains. Practical implications – The need for the team to include supply chain partners and the effect of member's capability and authority is investigated. The extent of implementation and the effect of team attributes on execution is studied. Originality/value – The research demonstrates that a team of chain managers can, with suitable support, formulate strategic operations plans for a complete heavy industry chain. The case sheds some light on the benefits, or drawbacks, of having members of other chain partners present.
Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 1, 2005
Keywords: Strategic planning; Supply chain management; Operations management; Action research
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