The term flexibility is extensively used inmanufacturing literature and yet very loosely defined. Sometimes it isused to characterise a manufacturers strategic intention and othertimes to characterise the manufacturers processes and infrastructure.The terms strategic flexibility and operationalflexibility are introduced to distinguish these two uses. Sixdifferent categories of activity are examined that a manufacturer mayundertake to enhance its operational flexibility and it is pointed outthat machine and equipment configuration often considered to bethe key to manufacturing flexibility by factory automation enthusiastsis just one of these six categories. It is also pointed out thatsuch activities can be found not only on the factory floor, buteverywhere in the manufacturers value chain. It is argued that theseactivities will not only enhance the manufacturers operationalflexibility, but also enhance its productivity as well and thereforewill benefit all manufacturing enterprises, regardless of theirstrategic intentions.
Integrated Manufacturing Systems – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 1, 1991
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