Operations strategies applied for the competitiveness of Kenyan large manufacturing firms
Because of the challenges brought forth by the advent of globalization and liberalization Manufacturing firms, the world over, have been forced to have a critical look at their manufacturing practices. It is through such practices that they are likely to remain competitive given the fast pace of change. This research project sought to survey on the manufacturing strategies pursued by the large manufacturing firms in Kenya as a way of remaining afloat in the turbulent ‘libero- global’ environment. The survey was carried out among the large manufacturing firms in Kenya. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect the data necessary for the research The questionnaire was divided into two parts. Part I collected general information on the respondent companies, their products and processes. Part two of the questionnaire gathered information on the operations strategies of the firms. The data was then analyzed by use of descriptive statistics and the hypotheses tested through non- parametric tests, namely; the Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed ranks test and the Kruskal- Wallis test. The Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed ranks test was used to test whether there are any significant differences among the rankings of the competitive priorities. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to compare the differences between the various data attributes of the different classes of companies. Both null hypotheses were rejected through the non-parametric test conducted on the data collected. The findings indicate the presence of trade-offs on one side and order-winners and qualifiers on the other. Also it was found out that all firms, regardless of company characteristics compete on similar operations strategies. The findings of this research indicate that the majority of large manufacturing firms acknowledge that operations-based strategies enhance the competitive capabilities of their firms by contributing to long-term, business performance and success. That in order to mobilize their competitiveness, firms need to emphasize high quality and consistence, low cost and hence low price, time/speed, dependability, Innovativeness, high flexibility, relationship with suppliers, quality staff and teamwork and improve their relationship with the government.