6.6.7 Summary of key points

The nature of a production environment is characterised by high complexity, unpredictability and multilevel decision-making. Moreover, nowadays there are a large number of different production methods and technologies available and each of them should be used and applied carefully by the manufacturing companies according to their special needs, type of product, production capacity, etc. For manufacturing SMEs to be successful with the above-mentioned challenges, they need to have a framework to base their decisions on and build a successful and innovative production strategy.

The main objective of this component was to present you the basics for production strategies; a new set of tools for introducing innovations and improving your production capacity. You have learnt about the main elements of a production strategy (production planning and inventory management). You were given several examples showing how important production strategies are and where they can be used to reduce costs and improve quality. You also learnt about three decision-making levels, what are the main tasks involved, the time scale as well as the level of uncertainty each level has in production. Finally we presented you with two case-studies to see how changes and innovation in production units can improve flexibility and quality!