This study statistically tests the cumulative model for the building of manufacturing capabilities by comparing and contrasting the manufacturing strategies of 265 North. American, 129 European, and 167 Korean factories by region. The cumulative model suggests that better performing competitors build one manufacturing capability upon another in a sequential, cumulative fashion—starting first with quality, followed by dependability, delivery, cost efficiency, flexibility, and lastly, innovation. The primary findings of this exploratory study are as follows: (1) the data yielded some evidence for the cumulative model, with the Korean data being the most supportive of the model; (2) North American, European, and Korean managers take different approaches to improved competitiveness; and (3) rather than focusing on one or two capabilities, better performing firms generally compete on the basis of multiple capabilities. That quality is not only at the base of the cumulative model but is often among the multiple capabilities shows the importance of quality management globally.
Decision Sciences – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 1995