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Article
Publication date: 13 November 2007

Daniel Vázquez‐Bustelo, Lucía Avella and Esteban Fernández

Despite the fact that agile manufacturing has been frequently promoted as a means of improving business competitiveness, little empirical evidence exists in the literature…

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7477

Abstract

Purpose

Despite the fact that agile manufacturing has been frequently promoted as a means of improving business competitiveness, little empirical evidence exists in the literature validating its positive link with business performance. The purpose of this research paper is to analyse agile manufacturing in Spain and study whether it is a critical factor for success in different industries.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual model is drawn up, based on the literature and a previous case study, to relate turbulence in the environment with agile manufacturing practices and business performance. The model is tested on a large sample of Spanish manufacturers using a survey methodology to obtain information and a structural equation model to analyse the data.

Findings

The results obtained show that, in turbulent environments, the integrated use of agile manufacturing practices promotes manufacturing competitive strength, leading to better operational, market and financial performance.

Research limitations/implications

This study has two main limitations. First, it is difficult to determine the most suitable unit of analysis when studying agile manufacturing. Second, single respondent bias may be considered a limitation.

Practical implications

Managers should consider the integrated implementation of agile manufacturing practices in order to develop manufacturing strength and to outperform competitors in turbulent business environments.

Originality/value

This study adopts a systematic approach to the analysis of agile manufacturing, considering various agility practices or enablers in an integrated way and relating them not only to environmental characteristics but also to business performance. This approach is especially interesting because most of the literature on agile manufacturing deals with agility strategies or techniques in an isolated way. The study also tests the suitability of agile manufacturing in real organisations – for the first time in the Spanish context.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 27 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2001

Amir M. Hormozi

Agile manufacturing is a new and revolutionary way of manufacturing and assembling products. It is the next logical step in the evolutionary chain of manufacturing

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4328

Abstract

Agile manufacturing is a new and revolutionary way of manufacturing and assembling products. It is the next logical step in the evolutionary chain of manufacturing technologies, following on the heels of its predecessors, craft production, mass production, and lean production. This paper explains what agile manufacturing is, and what needs to be done to successfully pave the way for its implementation. Successful implementation requires changes in five areas: government regulation, business cooperation, information technology, reengineering, and employee flexibility. The potential benefits of successfully implementing agile manufacturing are much too great for an organization to overlook, as are the potential consequences of failing to implement it. Though many organizations have made strides toward implementing agile manufacturing, there is much work that needs to be done. Corporations need the backing of strong infrastructure to make agile manufacturing successful. This will require cooperation between government and business.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article
Publication date: 3 May 2016

Marco Leite and Vanessa Braz

For decades multiple management philosophies directed toward lean production and mass were assumed as to respond to process inefficiencies and rampant consumerism…

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2479

Abstract

Purpose

For decades multiple management philosophies directed toward lean production and mass were assumed as to respond to process inefficiencies and rampant consumerism, optimizing operation costs. However, new customization and flexible productions philosophies have been gaining ground in some industries, such as the agile manufacturing. From a literature review that addresses the history of this philosophy, it is clear that agile manufacturing is not fully comprehended, with very scarce information about practical cases. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper the authors describe an exploratory methodology approach, with three semi-structured case study interviews. The goal is to study which of agile manufacturing practices are being applied in the studied companies and what is the perceived effect that these have on operational performance. Since most of these companies develop highly customized products, the role of agility on new product development can have a huge impact on their operational performance.

Findings

Agile manufacturing is not yet a widespread philosophy of managing for the companies studied, being virtually unknown as a global concept. However, it was found that many of the practices of agile manufacturing are already implemented in these companies without association with this philosophy. It was also concluded, by the finding through respondents opinions, that agile practices contribute positively to the studied companies operating performance.

Originality/value

The novelty of this research derives from observation of agile manufacturing practices in SMEs. This research is useful to SMEs implementing agile manufacturing principles.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2018

Mohit Goswami and Gopal Kumar

This paper aims to analyze the agile manufacturing practices in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) within the auto-ancillary sector spread across eastern India. Using…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyze the agile manufacturing practices in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) within the auto-ancillary sector spread across eastern India. Using statistical method, a number of crucial insights have been captured and discussed in detail.

Design/methodology/approach

A structural equation model (SEM) encapsulating pertinent agile manufacturing attributes and enablers as the focal construct is conceptualized and validated in this research. The SEM model is evolved in a manner that agile attributes and agile enablers are modeled as latent dependent and manifest variable, respectively.

Findings

A number of key hypothesis entailing interactions of key agility enablers, i.e. manufacturing responsiveness agility, manufacturing strategy agility, workforce agility, technology agility, manufacturing management agility, etc. are conceptualized and validated.

Originality/value

The authors specifically focus on evolving agile manufacturing framework (characterized by agility enablers and attributes) that lies at the intersection of SMEs, automotive sector and an emerging economy.

Details

Measuring Business Excellence, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1368-3047

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Article
Publication date: 4 October 2019

Rahul Kumar, Kanwarpreet Singh and Sanjiv Kumar Jain

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effects of agile manufacturing practices on business performance of Indian medium and large-scale manufacturing industry.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effects of agile manufacturing practices on business performance of Indian medium and large-scale manufacturing industry.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey questionnaire was designed to attain the research objectives. Agile manufacturing questionnaire was sent to around 500 randomly selected manufacturing organizations in the northern spectrum of India through e-mails and posts, out of which 154 usable responses have been received. This study investigates the inter-relationships between various agile manufacturing implementation practices and business performance measures using various statistical techniques. This paper deploys Games–Howell hoc test to establish the statistical significance of business performance improvements, progressively accrued over a reasonable period of time, through holistic agile manufacturing implementation.

Findings

The paper validates the contribution of agile manufacturing toward realization of the significant improvements in various business performance measures such as customer-related achievements, financial achievements, business-related achievements, operational achievements, employee-related achievements, and supplier-related achievements. Further, the discriminant validity test has been used in this paper for classifying highly successful and moderately successful organizations.

Research limitations/implications

The paper only concentrated on manufacturing organizations in northern India. The results of this paper cannot generalize across all the sectors and spectrum of Indian manufacturing organizations.

Originality/value

This paper develops an insight into the strong potential of agile manufacturing implementation practices in affecting business performance measures.

Details

World Journal of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-5945

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Article
Publication date: 13 April 2012

Helio Castro, Goran D. Putnik and Vaibhav Shah

The aim of this paper is to analyze international and national research and development (R&D) programs and roadmaps for the manufacturing sector, presenting how agile and…

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2461

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to analyze international and national research and development (R&D) programs and roadmaps for the manufacturing sector, presenting how agile and lean manufacturing models are addressed in these programs.

Design/methodology/approach

In this review, several manufacturing research and development programs and roadmaps – national programs from the USA and Canada, and international programs from the European Union and from one international organization – are reviewed.

Findings

The major finding of this review is that the main concerns in agile manufacturing, as highlighted in these programs, are networks, supply chain and product/service customization, and lean manufacturing's inclination towards achieving better cost efficiency. Although the lean manufacturing approach has been considered in many past and present programs, analysis of the most recent programs shows a greater priority is given to the agile manufacturing approach. The path towards sustainable manufacturing is delineated by pro‐active attitude and action towards customers.

Research limitations/implications

The study analyzes two national R&D programs from the USA, one international program from the European Union, three international roadmaps from the European Union, one business plan from Canada and one international roadmap from the global organization Intelligent Manufacturing Systems.

Practical implications

The findings of this paper are intended to help managers, researchers and practitioners from the manufacturing sector to enhance their understanding and define suitable strategy for their organizations' sustainability and identify suitable manufacturing path with respect to agile and lean philosophies. This study could also help academics in defining course curricula for students more coherent with the R&D policies and/or requirements towards sustainable manufacturing with respect to agile and lean philosophies.

Originality/value

There are reviews comparing agile and lean manufacturing paradigms, but there are no reviews about how the two manufacturing concepts are addressed in manufacturing R&D programs and roadmaps.

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Article
Publication date: 6 March 2017

Mohamed El Mokadem

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how manufacturing strategies could affect the supplier selection criteria used by business firms.

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1827

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how manufacturing strategies could affect the supplier selection criteria used by business firms.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey strategy was used to empirically understand the research argument. First, principal component factor analysis was employed to validate the underlying structure of the supplier selection criteria. Then, simple regression analysis was employed to test the research hypotheses.

Findings

Organizations pursuing lean strategies will emphasize factors that improve their efficiency when selecting their suppliers, while organizations pursuing agile strategies will assert factors that improve their ability to respond to customer unique requirements when selecting their suppliers.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides new insight for researchers to understand the effect of manufacturing strategies on the classification of supplier selection criteria. However, the small sample size might limit the ability to generalize research findings. Further research is required to confirm the findings using a wider sample.

Practical implications

This research provides practitioners with useful insights into how to select their suppliers based on their manufacturing strategies.

Originality/value

This paper classifies supplier selection criteria into three distinct groups: lean, agile, and common capabilities. Lean capability refers to the list of criteria that are highly relevant in selecting suppliers for lean implementers. Agile capability refers to the list of criteria that are highly relevant in selecting suppliers for agile implementers. Finally, common capability refers to the list of criteria that have comparable relevance in selecting suppliers for both lean and agile implementers.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 28 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article
Publication date: 18 September 2009

Mattias Hallgren and Jan Olhager

Lean and agile manufacturing are two initiatives that are used by manufacturing plant managers to improve operations capabilities. The purpose of this paper is to…

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17977

Abstract

Purpose

Lean and agile manufacturing are two initiatives that are used by manufacturing plant managers to improve operations capabilities. The purpose of this paper is to investigate internal and external factors that drive the choice of lean and agile operations capabilities and their respective impact on operational performance.

Design/methodology/approach

Lean and agile manufacturing are each conceptualized as a second‐order factor and measured through a bundle of distinct practices. The competitive intensity of industry and the competitive strategy are modeled as potential external and internal drivers, respectively, and the impact on quality, delivery, cost, and flexibility performance is analyzed using structural equations modeling. The model is tested with data from the high performance manufacturing project comprising a total of 211 plants from three industries and seven countries.

Findings

The results indicate that lean and agile manufacturing differ in terms of drivers and outcomes. The choice of a cost‐leadership strategy fully mediates the impact of the competitive intensity of industry as a driver of lean manufacturing, while agile manufacturing is directly affected by both internal and external drivers, i.e. a differentiation strategy as well as the competitive intensity of industry. Agile manufacturing is found to be negatively associated with a cost‐leadership strategy, emphasizing the difference between lean and agile manufacturing. The major differences in performance outcomes are related to cost and flexibility, such that lean manufacturing has a significant impact on cost performance (whereas agile manufacturing has not), and that agile manufacturing has a stronger relationship with volume as well as product mix flexibility than does lean manufacturing.

Research limitations/implications

Cross‐sectional data from three industries and seven countries are used, and it would be interesting to test this model for more industries and countries.

Practical implications

The results provide insights into the factors that influence the choice of lean or agile manufacturing for improving operations, and the results that can be obtained.

Originality/value

To the authors' knowledge, this is the first large‐scale empirical survey of leanness and agility simultaneously, using data from manufacturing firms in Europe, Asia, and North America. The model incorporates a wide perspective on factors related to lean and agile manufacturing, to be able to identify similarities and differences.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 29 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 23 July 2019

Rahul Kumar, Kanwarpreet Singh and Sanjiv Kumar Jain

In the past, the insufficiency of the traditional business practices to meet vibrant customer demands in continuously changing business environment has severely affected…

Abstract

Purpose

In the past, the insufficiency of the traditional business practices to meet vibrant customer demands in continuously changing business environment has severely affected organizational competitiveness. The purpose of this paper is to develop and propose a new framework for smoother and effective implementation of agile manufacturing by identifying and integrating a set of significant agility principles and techniques.

Design/methodology/approach

The present work proposed a framework for agile manufacturing by deploying the comparative analysis of 17 frameworks published in peer-reviewed journals.

Findings

The proposed conceptual framework constitutes of eight pillars for agile manufacturing implementation. The proposed framework relies on a strong foundation of leadership support. The roof of the proposed framework of agile manufacturing is supported by the pillars constituted of seven elements, an industry must deploy for successfully implementing agile manufacturing, namely, human resource-related issues, organizational culture-related issues, supplier-related issues, customer-related issues, innovation, concurrent engineering and information technology.

Originality/value

This work is the first attempt, in the best knowledge of the authors, to employ comparative analysis for critically analyzing a wide range of agile manufacturing frameworks. The findings of this study will assist researchers and managers in agile manufacturing implementation in more a smoother and effective way in manufacturing industries.

Details

World Journal of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-5945

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Article
Publication date: 8 March 2021

Meriem Khalfallah and Lassaad Lakhal

This empirical study aims to explore the relationship between Total quality management (TQM), Total productive/preventive maintenance (TPM) and Just-in time (JIT). It also…

Abstract

Purpose

This empirical study aims to explore the relationship between Total quality management (TQM), Total productive/preventive maintenance (TPM) and Just-in time (JIT). It also seeks to examine the relationship between Just-in time (JIT) and agile manufacturing.

Design/methodology/approach

Data for the study were collected from a survey of 205 industrial companies and the relationships proposed in the framework were tested using structural equation modeling.

Findings

The results indicate that (1) TPM has a positive impact on TQM and JIT, (2) TQM has a positive effect on JIT and (3) JIT has a direct positive relationship with agile manufacturing. In addition, the results reveal an indirect effect of TPM and TQM on agile manufacturing through JIT.

Research limitations/implications

The conceptual model proposed and tested in this study can be used by researchers for developing Lean manufacturing practices (TQM, TPM and JIT) and agile manufacturing theory. In addition, this model shows to practitioners the importance of integrating TQM, TPM and JIT in manufacturing firms. In other words, this study shows practitioners how firms can support their agile manufacturing system.

Originality/value

This research presents an innovative approach since it examines simultaneously the interdependencies between TQM, TPM and JIT and their direct and indirect link with agile manufacturing using structural equation modeling.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

Keywords

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