This theoretical paper presents, extends and integrates a number of systems and
evolutionary concepts, to demonstrate their relevance to manufacturing strategy formulation.
Specifically it concentrates on fitness landscape theory as an approach for visually mapping the
strategic options a manufacturing firm could pursue. It examines how this theory relates to
manufacturing competitiveness and strategy and proposes a definition and model of
manufacturing fitness. In accordance with fitness landscape theory, a complex systems
perspective is adopted to view manufacturing firms. It is argued that manufacturing firms are
a specific type of complex system ± a complex adaptive system ± and that by developing and
applying fitness landscape theory it is possible to create models to better understand and visualise
how to search and select various combinations of capabilities.