Critical Operations Capabilities for Competitive Manufacturing in a High-Cost Environment: A Multiple Case Study


  • Cinzia Sansone1 (Jönköping University, Sweden)
  • Per Hilletofth1 (Jönköping University, Sweden)
  • David Eriksson1 (Jönköping University, Sweden)

There is increased interest in relocation to and from high-cost environments, but there remains a lack of knowledge with regard to operations capabilities in this specific context. The purpose of this study is thus to investigate critical operations capabilities in a high-cost environment. The research process is based on the investigation of an existing framework of operations capabilities through a multiple case study including five Swedish manufacturing companies. The findings reveal that all the dimensions and capabilities included in the framework were considered critical, and additional operations capabilities could be identified: service quality, supplier dependability, supplier flexibility, supply chain innovation, supply chain sustainability. The investigation underlines the dynamic nature of operations capabilities, which need to be updated constantly according to the environment in which they are developed. This study contributes on a practical level to managers by creating an overview of operations capabilities in a high-cost environment. Through the investigation of critical operations capabilities, it is possible for managers to find new areas of competitiveness, as well as to understand their current areas of excellence. The study makes several contributions, such as the identification of operations capabilities, their investigation and validation in a specific environment.

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