Alinhamento estratégico das operações : estudos de caso na interface com marketing
Zanon, Celeste José
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This research presents a discussion on the strategic alignment of operations associated with an understanding of market requirements. This subject is a essential strategic issue for operations and demands an appropriate level of interaction between their interfacing processes with marketing. The first objective of this thesis is to analyse these processes in three multinational manufacturing companies located in Brazil. This analysis was grounded in three theoretical bases: the strategic alignment of operations, the operations-marketing interface and strategic consensus. It aimed to answer the following research question: how is operations alignment implemented in the interface with marketing? The second objective is to evaluate the results of the application and evaluation of a framework, which is designed to improve operations strategic alignment. The following research question was developed: which factors in the framework‟s implementation affect the strategic alignment of operations in the interface with marketing? This research addresses an under-studied area that is subject to the influence of unquantifiable human behaviours related to managers‟ strategic tasks. Studies on perceptions, behaviour, interests, conflicts and power can reveal management‟s representations which are important for the strategic alignment. Therefore, this study employed a qualitative approach and a case study method to investigate how operations alignment is implemented and to understand the factors associated with the framework. This study verified that strategic operations alignment is established through the analysis of issues related to introducing new products, meeting demand and responding to tactical and operational problems. Therefore, meetings about introducing new products and meeting demand (Sales and Operations Planning S&OP) are key determinants of capacity choices in operations, infrastructure and control systems. Consensus on operations activities is achieved during S&OP meetings, but only on issues of capacity; this restriction limits operations alignment from reaching a broad and shared understanding of the business. In the case of technological choices, strategic alignment is established through the efforts of operational managers. These managers reconcile the needs of the marketing department with the recommendations of the engineering, research and development departments, the recommendations of the headquarters specialists and issues of cost and flexibility. The factors affecting the strategic alignment of operations included the balance between intra-functional trade-offs; perceptions of managers based on scientific evidence; the joint investigation of the competitive context; reflections on the customer needs and operational performance; low perception disparity; break-downs in organisational protections and an understanding of inter-functional trade-offs.