This thesis is concerned with the decision process of strategic positioning within global supply chains. The research provides insights into how companies currently form positioning decisions, and set out to develop a systematic methodology to assist practitioners in forming their strategic positioning decisions. Manufacturing in the UK is increasingly exposed to the effects of global competition. Many companies are facing difficulties to define the most advantageous position in their global supply chains in order to maximise their business competitiveness. The position of a company is concerned with deciding a boundary and configuration of internal and external business activities to the company and is directly related to initiatives such as outsourcing, make or buy, and offshoring. Unfortunately, current methodologies and tools do not provide adequate support to provide a holistic view for making such decisions. Hence, the purpose of this thesis is to provide a generic and practical methodology that is an integrated and holistic approach that assists practitioners to deal with strategic positioning within global supply chains. The research programme commenced by exploring the process and content of positioning decision from four actual manufacturing companies. The results from the exploratory case studies and existing contribution from literature have then been synthesised to form a pilot methodology. This is captured in the form of a paper-based workbook. This methodology has then been evaluated and refined through a primary application in two case studies with the researcher taking a role as a participant. Finally, wider applicability of the methodology has been assessed through four more case studies covering different types of manufacturing with the researcher not intervening but instead observing. The final methodology referred to in this thesis as the “SPGC methodology” has demonstrated that it provides practical support to industrial decision making. The outcome of this research is the step-by-step SPGC methodology supporting practitioners to deal with strategic positioning within global supply chains. The overall approach has been demonstrated to be feasible, usable and useful, and has been used in a range of manufacturing companies. This research has filled an industrial need and literature gap and has made a significant contribution to the knowledge on how manufacturing companies can form a strategic positioning within global supply chains
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