This article reviews the existing literature on manufacturing strategy, explores its strengths and weaknesses, and proposes a new, more dynamic, planning framework. The new approach is based on the concept of strategic manufacturing initiatives (SMIs). SMIs are major manufacturing efforts that seek improvement over a specified time period; they include both quantitative goals and specific milestones. The article describes a planning process that managers can use to develop an effective mix of SMIs for their organizations. It begins with the overall business strategy and progresses through four stages of distillation or filtering. The article concludes with recommendations on how best to link SMIs with long-term planning.
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