Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management.

Publication Details

IEEE Engineering Management Review


In 1969, Professor Wickham Skinner, whom many consider as “the father of manufacturing strategy,” published a seminal paper entitled “Manufacturing-Missing Link in Corporate Strategy.” Among the many interesting insights outlined in that article, Skinner is particularly careful to explain the importance of acknowledging the existence of specific trade-offs in the design of production systems. For example, he warns that a failure on the part of executives to recognize the limitations and compromises that are inherent to all technology and human based systems will inevitably result in a diminished ability of firms to compete successfully in the marketplace. Fifty years after the publication of that influential paper, we reassess some of Professor Skinner's contributions to the theory and practice of strategic operations management. In particular, we put forth the argument that strategic trade-offs in the operations of firms is a concept that is still-and will continue to be-important and relevant to practitioners worldwide.