The Effect of Sales Planning Practices on Manufacturing Strategy. An International Comparative Study.
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producers should perceive a manufacturing strategy as the issue of crucial importance for their market position. It describes the use of manufacturing as a competitive weapon, as opposed to a function that is passive with respect to its competitive environment. Manufacturing companies differ in the way they meet the demand for their products. Some deliver products to their clients from finished goods inventories as their production anticipates customers' orders; others, however, manufacture only in response to customers' orders. In this connection the emphasis of manufacturing strategies is now more to competition in terms of time and customization. Time competition requires an emphasis on time which should not be wasted and is supported by fewer and faster activities being performed. On the other hand, customization means performing some activities according to the unique requirements of an individual customer. Competition in terms of time and customization is reflected in one of the most popular classification of manufacturing strategy, namely: make-to-stock (MTO), assembly-to-order (ATO), make-to-order (MTO) and engineer-to-order (ETO). The application of the strategy may determine the extent the producers use forecasting techniques, combine environmental and market data into forecasting process and prepare forecasts for specific purposes. The goal of the paper is to make a cross-national comparison of the effect of forecasting practices on different types of manufacturing strategies applied in 343 producers from Europe, Asia and Africa. In order to achieve an empirical aim a necessary methodology and statistical analyses have been employed. In the result of the analysis multiple regression models have been developed for specific manufacturing strategies of producers from different countries worldwide. It enabled to make cross-national comparisons of the contribution to variance in manufacturing strategy.
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