Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to propose a “Fit” manufacturing paradigm for industry so that manufacturing companies can become economically sustainable and can operate effectively in a global competitive market. The proposed Fit paradigm is aimed at providing a new manufacturing management perspective to both academics and industrialists. Design/methodology/approach – The Fit paradigm is developed and proposed as a new manufacturing management strategy towards creating economically sustainable manufacturing organisations. Fit is a theoretical development using the principles of existing manufacturing paradigms along with new and innovative management concepts to create a sustainable approach to manufacturing. Findings – Manufacturing strategies such as lean and agility allow companies to deliver bottom‐line savings in production terms although their effectiveness depends upon the volume and demand profile of their products. The trend towards mass customisation requires companies to provide personalised products and services at mass production prices. This now places a further burden on companies and therefore a holistic manufacturing framework must be developed in order to ensure that the factory of the future is able to meet this new demand. This paper proposes a fit manufacturing paradigm which integrates the manufacturing efficiencies achieved through lean and agility with the need to break into new markets through effective marketing and product innovation strategies to achieve long term economic sustainability. The small scale application of the approach in a case company shows that the initial results to be positive when measured against a fit index which is developed within this paper. Originality/value – The development of a fit paradigm aimed at tackling directly the issues of economic sustainability is proposed and is considered by the authors as one of a kind. Fit will also provide a framework for the implementation of sustainable manufacturing operations within organisations.
Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 25, 2008
Keywords: Manufacturing industries; Lean production; Agile production; Manufacturing systems