Influence of flexibilities on manufacturing cells for faster delivery using simulation

Hulya Julie Yazici (College of Business, Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, Florida, USA)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Publication date: 1 December 2005



The effects of cellular manufacturing (CM) on increased delivery speed and resource utilization along with its interaction with volume, mix, routing, and labor flexibilities are not clear for manufacturers and supply chain managers. Aims to focus on this.


Based on real data from a US screen‐printing company, a simulation model is designed to determine the influence of volume, mix, routing and labor flexibilities in presence of volatile demand. Simulation of one and two cell configuration is compared with job shop to determine the shortest delivery and highest utilization.


As volume flexibility increases, delivery is faster in presence of CM compared to job shop. Furthermore, added routing flexibility results in 70 percent shorter lead time with low volume flexibility, and 85 percent shorter lead time with high volume flexibility. Additionally, in the two‐cell design, assignment of fewer, but more multi‐skilled workers shared between cells results in higher utilization and lower lead time.

Research limitations/implications

This study contributes to the manufacturing research by revealing the benefits of CM, and the importance of volume, routing, and labor flexibilities reacting quickly to volatile demand in today's dispersed manufacturing environment. Also, this study demonstrates that labor allocation is equally important in manufacturing cells as the equipment and part decisions are.


The findings provide manufacturers a guideline on how to best set up CM and operational flexibilities to respond faster to volatile demand. The simulation model is successful in showing that cells and manufacturing flexibilities are strong enablers of faster delivery lead time and higher resource utilization.



Julie Yazici, H. (2005), "Influence of flexibilities on manufacturing cells for faster delivery using simulation", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 16 No. 8, pp. 825-841.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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