Market-driven strategies and the design of flexible production systems: evidence from the electronics industry

David Bennett, Paul Forrester, John Hassard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Links the concept of market-driven business strategies with the design of production systems. It draws upon the case of a firm which, during the last decade, changed its strategy from being “technology led” to “market driven”. The research, based on interdisciplinary fieldwork involving long-term participant observation, investigated the factors which contribute to the successful design and implementation of flexible production systems in electronics assembly. These investigations were conducted in collaboration with a major computer manufacturer, with other electronics firms being studied for comparison. The research identified a number of strategies and actions seen as crucial to the development of efficient flexible production systems, namely: effective integration of subsystems, development of appropriate controls and performance measures, compatibility between production system design and organization structure, and the development of a climate conducive to organizational change. Overall, the analysis suggests that in the electronics industry there exists an extremely high degree of environmental complexity and turbulence. This serves to shape the strategic, technical and social structures that are developed to match this complexity, examples of which are niche marketing, flexible manufacturing and employee harmonization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-37
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1992


  • electronics industry
  • flexible manufacturing systems
  • just-in-time
  • marketing strategy
  • production methods
  • quality
  • technological change
  • technology-led strategy


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