The purpose of this research is to develop a framework and an initial list of best management practices for implementing manufacturing flexibility.
To identify these practices, recent frameworks (i.e. 1988 and onward) for implementing manufacturing flexibility in organizations are reviewed. Based on this review, the major management practices for implementing flexibility are identified and synthesized into a new framework.
This framework suggests that manufacturing flexibility should be implemented using a three‐stage approach, labeled: identifying required flexibility (i.e. identifying and justifying the flexibility types, measurements and tools needed to achieve the required manufacturing flexibility), achieving required flexibility (i.e. acquiring and implementing the organizational and technological tools needed to achieve the required manufacturing flexibility) and managing required flexibility (i.e. monitoring and changing the required flexibility types and levels, in light of changing uncertainty and competitive, manufacturing and marketing strategies). Based on this framework, a number of potential best management practices are identified.
This report is conceptual in nature. Future research will focus on empirically testing the practices presented in order to develop a more complete and rigorous list of best management practices for implementing manufacturing flexibility.
This research provides manufacturing managers with a starting point for developing a formal process for identifying, implementing, and monitoring manufacturing flexibility, thus ensuring that the manufacturing flexibility that exists is continually meeting the manufacturing and competitive strategies of the organization. Various conceptual relationships are identified by the presence of arrows in the framework. As a result, the implications of the conceptual framework for researchers is that it provides a very good starting point for conducting exploratory and confirmatory research on the process of managing manufacturing flexibility.
This research synthesizes existing frameworks for implementing manufacturing flexibility in organizations, and addresses a gap in the research, specifically the need to identify and empirically test best management practices for implementing manufacturing flexibility.
Boyle, T. (2006), "Towards best management practices for implementing manufacturing flexibility", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 6-21. https://doi.org/10.1108/17410380610639470Download as .RIS
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