Critical operations capabilities in a high cost environment
Sammanfattning: Many manufacturing firms, driven by the goal of beating the competition, have relocated their manufacturing operations from a high to a low cost environment, creating issues for the western social welfare. In order to maintain manufacturing in high cost environments, firms located in such environments must improve their competitiveness.Research has shown that firms need to be able to identify, develop and improve the operations capabilities that have the highest impact on the competitiveness. However, there is presently no coherent and contemporary framework of operations capabilities in the literature. There is also a lack of knowledge about operations capabilities in a high-cost environment. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to investigate critical operations capabilities in a high-cost environment.This purpose has been addressed through two studies. The first investigated critical operations capabilities in a general environment, and was conducted through a systematic literature review (Paper I). The second study investigated critical operations capabilities in a high cost environment and was conducted through a focus group (Paper II) and a multiple case study (Paper III).The result of this research is a framework of operations capabilities in a high cost environment. The framework includes seven dimensions and 23 operations capabilities. Specifically, the dimensions are: cost, quality, delivery, flexibility, service, innovation and environment. The findings revealed that quality is considered as the most critical dimension in a high cost environment, while environment is considered as the least critical in a high cost environment. The findings also revealed two additional operations capabilities in the empirical data, which are 'flow efficiency' and 'employee flexibility'.This research contributes to the current body of knowledge by introducing a novel perspective and original thinking about operations capabilities in a high cost environment. The framework of operations capabilities could support both practitioners and researchers in the identification and development of critical operations capabilities for winning strategies in a high cost environment.
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