The reference approach is a new system dynamics support method. This paper explores the possibility of using this method to design strategies that transform the production function into a competitive weapon. First, the requirements of a manufacturing strategy design tool are identified. Next, the manufacturing strategy of a case study is designed using the reference approach. Based on this application, the possibility of using the reference approach as a tool for the design of the manufacturing strategy is discussed. The analysis concludes that the reference approach is a valuable tool for the computer aided design of a manufacturing strategy.