Continuing the series on what makes a GOOD manufacturing organisation we come to:
Manufacturing Effectiveness 12 – The Influence Of Strategy
When working within an organisation most managers are rarely aware of any deliberate strategic intent. Indeed, other than with the very large companies – the automotive, electronic and military aviation sectors come to mind in particular – it is suspected that there is no deliberate strategic intent behind the operation of most companies. In the early days of an organisation’s formation the driving force is that of strategic vision – even if that strategy is not formally defined (or understood). At a later stage in the development of most organisations there is rarely a place for a deliberate corporate strategy – and even if they believed in the benefits of defining a strategy, many small to medium companies would regard the time and energy devoted to strategic analysis as a luxury they could not afford. What is left is, therefore, an emergent strategy Minzberg &Waters (1985) Of Strategies, Deliberate and Emergent, Strategic Management Journal, 6: pp 257-272 of which everyone, including the senior management team, is unaware; however, without a clearly defined intent from senior management, any de facto strategy – and that is what an emergent strategy is – is unlikely to result in an evenly understood set of goals across the different departments within the company.
The worst case scenario of an uneven emergent strategic pattern is that the different functions within an organisation are ‘pulling in different directions’; however, because of the closely intertwined nature of the Manufacturing Mechanism the fact that the individual functions have a different underlying strategic understanding may never be understood. Instead, senior management is likely to look on in bewilderment at the imperfect nature of its manufacturing operation – the next two posts refer.