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The Flexibility of Manufacturing Systems

Nigel Slack (Brunel University, London)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 1 April 1987



Many of the new pressures from today's manufacturing environment are turning manufacturing managers' attention to the virtues of developing a flexible manufacturing function. Flexibility, however, has different meanings for different managers and several perfectly legitimate alternative paths exist towards flexible manufacturing. How managers in ten companies view manufacturing flexibility in terms of how they see the contribution of manufacturing flexibility to overall company performance; what types of flexibility they regard as important; and what their desired degree of flexibility is. The results of the investigations in these ten companies are summarised in the form of ten empirical “observations”. Based on these “observations” a check‐list of prescriptions is presented and a hierarchical framework developed into which the various issues raised by the “observations” can be incorporated.



Slack, N. (1987), "The Flexibility of Manufacturing Systems", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 35-45.




Copyright © 1987, MCB UP Limited