Measuring factory focus: An empirical study

Michael J. Pesch, Roger G. Schroeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Focus in the manufacturing plant is generally deemed to be an important element of success in manufacturing strategy. Yet, little work has been completed in the measurement of plant focus and a dearth of empirical evidence exists to support the broad popularity of this concept. This paper presents a plant focus measurement approach and reports the results of a field study that uses a site visit research design to apply the focus measure to a multi-industry sample of manufacturing plants. Regression analysis is used to study the relationships between the plant focus variable and the environmental variables of plant size, number of product lines, plant age, number of processes, and type of processes. Although highly intuitive, these relationships have undergone very little empirical study in the literature. Our study provides evidence of a strong logarithmic relationship between our plant focus measure and the number of product lines. Support is also demonstrated in that our measure of plant focus is linked to the number and type of manufacturing processes. However, the variables of plant age and plant size do not appear related to the plant focus measure. The literature-based multicriteria focus measure can be used by managers and researchers as an objective, formal, and generalizable approach for assessing plant focus, for identifying areas in the plant that detract from focus, and for tracking focus improvement efforts over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-254
Number of pages21
JournalProduction and Operations Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Focused factory
  • Manufacturing focus
  • Manufacturing strategy


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