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The reduction of production lead time using holonic manufacturing: experiment and analysis

Patricio Torres-Palacio (Department of Management, Ricciardi College of Business, Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, Massachusetts, USA)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Article publication date: 1 October 2019

Issue publication date: 20 April 2020




In modern industrial processes, the need of reducing lead time is imperious. This goal is pursued by “Holonic” structures, which are systems based on a network of collaboration. The purpose of this paper is to appraise the possible benefits, in terms of production duration, of such organizations compared to non-holonic arrangements. In addition, this analysis represents virtual teams, which are a significant and strategic attribute of holonic manufacturing systems.


The experiment performed in this paper is a simulation of an automobile assembly process under both a holonic and a non-holonic structure to observe lead times and the distinctive characteristics of each organization. Other targets of this research are to monitor the advantages that either strategy may offer in terms of efficiency and to examine a possible model of how virtual teams can be used in holonic networks.


The findings are unexpected. An initial expectation might lead to the belief that, given the better coordination and communication of holonic networks, lead times would be diminished. This experiment, utilizing virtual teams of university students, indicated otherwise.

Research limitations/implications

It should be noticed, however, that future experiments in real manufacturing assembly processes are recommended to complement the findings of this study.


The management of lead times is indeed a complex task that includes a diversity of variables. Holonic structures should balance several factors that might play a role in lead times and ultimately in the success of a project. An original experiment with the participation of many universities in different countries is presented in this study. The exposure of global characteristics of modern manufacturing structures constitutes the main value of this research.



Torres-Palacio, P. (2020), "The reduction of production lead time using holonic manufacturing: experiment and analysis", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp. 648-668.



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