In the past, the technical merit and quality of a product were considered the primary metrics for comparison and competitiveness among manufacturing firms. With the rapid rise in the availability of information and the resulting leveling of the technical "playing field" in many ways, other factors have become important. In particular, the ability of a firm to incorporate planned and appropriate change into its manufacturing operations on a regular basis has become a critical factor in ensuring its success. In this paper, the authors discuss this new view of technical competition from the broad perspective of manufacturing operations. In particular, we will consider both internal and external factors that influence the way in which a firm approaches and creates their own unique change plan. These include the evolutionary cycles of change, types of change, the declining costs of computing, the increasing levels of system connectivity, the availability of information and its role in increasing the firm's intellectual capital, and organizational flexibility.