Manufacturing strategy for start-ups project

This project aims to develop a strategy formulating framework and implementation process to support start-ups in emerging industries in developing and implementing their manufacturing activities.


Research context

Start-ups face critically important decisions when considering whether to enter manufacturing. However, little research has been done on the development of manufacturing strategy in startups in general, and in emerging industries in particular. This is despite the important role startups play as a source of innovation and economic growth in the UK and other western economies.


The internal and external environments of these firms are characterized by volatility and uncertainty, creating conditions which challenge their survival, particularly given the limited resources at their disposal in the early stages of the lifecycle (Garnsey and Heffernan, 2005).


The principal focus for research into new firms seems to be entrepreneurial study, while most research on manufacturing strategy assumes the existence of established manufacturing activities. As a result, there is little collective knowledge about the methodology and tools which can help start-ups design, initiate and manage their manufacturing activities.


The need to research manufacturing strategy development in start-ups is supported in the literature (e.g. Dangayach and Deshmukh, 2001). In addition to enriching academic perspectives on manufacturing strategy for start-ups in emerging industries, this research aims to provide a tested practical strategy development framework and implementation process for start-ups.



The project is focusing on studying startups in emerging industries, set up to design, manufacture and market physical products. It is looking at why, when and how start-ups make the important decision to go into manufacturing, investigating how they develop and implement their manufacturing strategy, and examining the issues and problems they encounter.




The research has adopted a process approach using case studies, and comprises two main phases:

  • developing a framework and process
  • testing and refining the process



  • A roadmap of 'what manufacturing decisions to make when'
  • Determination of manufacturing-related issues and problems encountered by start-ups
  • Identification of the particular features of strategy development in start-ups



Sirirat Lim



Ken Platts

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