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Manufacturing flexibility, business model design, and firm performance


  • Wei, Zelong
  • Song, Xi
  • Wang, Donghan


With the increasing significance of the business model in a connected economy, a new stream of literature has turned to explore the antecedents of business model design. Beyond external antecedents derived from a rational positioning view, little research has investigated the role of internal manufacturing flexibility. Based on theory of constraints and business ecosystem theory, this examines how manufacturing flexibility affects efficiency- and novelty-centred business model designs and consequent firm performance. We propose and test eight hypotheses using data from one hundred and eighty-six manufacturing firms in China. The results indicate that manufacturing flexibility promotes both efficiency- and novelty-centred business model designs and subsequent firm performance. Furthermore, the relationship between manufacturing flexibility and an efficiency-centred business model design is strengthened by competitive intensity but weakened by demand heterogeneity. In contrast, the relationship between manufacturing flexibility and novelty-centred business model design is weakened by competitive intensity but strengthened by demand heterogeneity.

Suggested Citation

  • Wei, Zelong & Song, Xi & Wang, Donghan, 2017. "Manufacturing flexibility, business model design, and firm performance," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 193(C), pages 87-97.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:proeco:v:193:y:2017:i:c:p:87-97
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpe.2017.07.004

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    2. Hung Nguyen & George Onofrei & Norma Harrison & Dothang Truong, 2020. "The influence of cultural compatibility and product complexity on manufacturing flexibility and financial performance," Operations Management Research, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 171-184, December.
    3. Azadegan, Arash & Srinivasan, Ravi & Blome, Constantin & Tajeddini, Kayhan, 2019. "Learning from near-miss events: An organizational learning perspective on supply chain disruption response," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 216(C), pages 215-226.
    4. Frank, Alejandro G. & Mendes, Glauco H.S. & Ayala, Néstor F. & Ghezzi, Antonio, 2019. "Servitization and Industry 4.0 convergence in the digital transformation of product firms: A business model innovation perspective," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 341-351.
    5. Rizwan Ullah Khan & Yashar Salamzadeh & Hiroko Kawamorita & Gabor Rethi, 2021. "Entrepreneurial Orientation and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises’ Performance; Does ‘Access to Finance’ Moderate the Relation in Emerging Economies?," Vision, , vol. 25(1), pages 88-102, March.
    6. Büchi, Giacomo & Cugno, Monica & Castagnoli, Rebecca, 2020. "Smart factory performance and Industry 4.0," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 150(C).
    7. Nitin S. Solke & T. P. Singh, 2018. "Analysis of Relationship Between Manufacturing Flexibility and Lean Manufacturing Using Structural Equation Modelling," Global Journal of Flexible Systems Management, Springer;Global Institute of Flexible Systems Management, vol. 19(2), pages 139-157, June.
    8. Dalenogare, Lucas Santos & Benitez, Guilherme Brittes & Ayala, Néstor Fabián & Frank, Alejandro Germán, 2018. "The expected contribution of Industry 4.0 technologies for industrial performance," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 204(C), pages 383-394.
    9. Camiña, Ester & Díaz-Chao, Ángel & Torrent-Sellens, Joan, 2020. "Automation technologies: Long-term effects for Spanish industrial firms," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 151(C).

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