Empirical analysis of enablers and performance outcome of manufacturing flexibility in an emerging economy

Ruchi Mishra (Production Operations Management & QT, Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA), India)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Publication date: 27 February 2020



The objective of this paper is to empirically test and verify the enablers of volume flexibility and product-mix flexibility and to assess the influence of these flexibilities on operational performance.


A research framework consisting of nine pairs of hypotheses was developed using an extensive literature review. Using a self-administered questionnaire, 391 responses were collected, and these responses were analyzed using descriptive statistics, factor analysis, and structural equation modeling techniques.


The findings empirically confirm the enablers of volume flexibility and product-mix flexibility. The proposed model explained 59 percent variance in volume flexibility and 63 percent variance in product-mix flexibility. Volume flexibility and product-mix flexibility together explained 38 percent variance in operational performance.

Research limitations/implications

Theoretically, this study advances flexibility literature in two significant ways. First, the study conducts first of its kind quantitative empirical investigation considering upstream, downstream, and internal integration practices as enablers of volume flexibility and product-mix flexibility. Second, this study adds to the flexibility literature by suggesting the positive influence of volume and product-mix flexibility on the operational performance of firms.


The study reinforces the role of enablers in the development of volume and product-mix flexibilities. Thus, the study provides a comprehensive view of flexibility enablers that can be used as a diagnostic tool, which practitioners can use to assess and deploy flexibility.



The author would like to sincerely thank the anonymous reviewers and the editor for their insightful comments and suggestions.


Mishra, R. (2020), "Empirical analysis of enablers and performance outcome of manufacturing flexibility in an emerging economy", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 31 No. 6, pp. 1301-1322. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMTM-06-2019-0220

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