Flexible manufacturing (Kidd, 1994): Flexibility is a requirement
for the competitive markets of today.
Lean manufacturing: It involves doing everything with less. Cut away
the excess of wasteful activities, unnecessary inventory, long lead
times, and so on. The purpose of leaning manufacturing includes (1)
just-in-time manufacturing, concurrent engineering, overhead cost
reduction, improved supplier and customer relations, and total
quality management (Womack et al., 1990).
Agile manufacturing: Agility is dynamic and open-ended. Agility is a
name for the reorganization of production, adapted to distinctively
new market forces that have undermined the mass production
organization of business that dominated in the 20th century.It
create a manufacturing firm that can produce in volume and
simultaneously produce variety for market niches. Agile companies
seek to combine the advantages of time compression with techniques
to reduce the cost of variety. Toe goal is to offer almost instant
delivery of small quantities of goods that meet individual
specifications.To becomes agile a form must redesign it processes
and products to meet the expectations of customers for both
customization and responsiveness. Agility is dynamic,
context-specific, aggressively change embracing, and growth
S.T.O.P stands for Strategy, Technology, Organization, and People.
Features of agility
Products: Agility is centered on the customer-perceived value of
products. It aims to decouple cost of production and lot sizes.
Virtual organization: Internal and external co-operation are the
strategies of choice. The aim is to bring agile products to market
in minimum time by leveraging resources through cooperation.
Entrepreneurial: Organizations must organize to thrive on change and
Knowledge-based: Agility embraces the decentralization of authority
and leveraging the value of human and information resources. (??)
Conceptual Agile manufacturing model
Virtual enterprise: An organization with a virtual organizational
structure. It is of special interest because it places the greatest
demands on a company to co-operate in achieving collaborative
Physically distributed teams and manufacturing: New types of logical
infrastructures supporting agility and quick response reduce the
time to reach global markets.
Rapid partnership: Improving the responsiveness of a firm to a
changing market, requires a shared partnership between the core
parts of the firm. Shared understanding of marketing and
manufacturing is the starting point. Necessary is a shared
understanding of the market itself. This is key in moving toward the
ideal of a customer-driven, knowledge enterprise.
Concurrent engineering: The entrepreneurship of empowered teams is
necessary to achieve success in agile competition. Rapid response to
change requires that work be completed as rapidly as possible. This
makes it necessary for people, functions and processes to work as
much as possible in parallel. Concurrent engineering is synonymous
with simultaneous engineering.
Integrated product/process/business information systems:
Communications and information are the technical elements driving
the next industrial revolution. They are central to agility.
Information is increasingly diverse in from including not only
computer text data, but multimedia pictures and voice data as well.
It is possible today to have a database of photographs of customers,
or employees, or products, and by clicking the picture with the
mouse, to get data about the targeted picture item. Computer
Assisted Logistics Management Systems (CALS) imply that a CALS is
narrow in scope, when in fact, the use of CALS requires that all
technical specifications, drawing, manuals, and other documents
relating to products, form all levels of the supplier chain, be
Rapid prototyping: A prototype is a preliminary model of a system
solution that end-users and/or designers can interact with and
analyze. The prototype is constructed quickly and cheaply, ideally,
within days or weeks.
Electronic commerce: Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is the
computer-to-computer exchange of standard business documents such as
purchase orders, invoices, and bills of lading, among organizations.
EDI can produce strategic benefits in that it can help firms
increase market share by locking in their customers - making it
easier for customers or distributors to order from them rather than
A framework for agile manufacturing
Enriching the customer: Becoming a customer-driven enterprise.
Co-operating to enhance competitiveness: Parnering firms within a
physically distributed or virtual manufacturing enterprise.
Organizing to master change and uncertainty: Thrive on change and
uncertainty. Its structure is flexible enough to allow rapid
reconfiguration of human and physical resources.
Leveraging the impact of people and information: Continous work
force education and training are integral to agile company
operations. Companies must invest in information and manufacturing
technologies that can contribute to agility.