This paper is an introduction to the problem of flexibility. We would like to show the predominant factors of flexibility, since not being aware of them may lead to a…
This paper is an introduction to the problem of flexibility. We would like to show the predominant factors of flexibility, since not being aware of them may lead to a failure in the conception and the management of flexible production systems. After having described the present situation and having judged current achievements, this paper suggests definitions for the notions of polyvalency, apparent flexibility, dedicated activity, and specifies the relationship existing between these notions. Flexibility will be considered in relation to the concept of learning. Finally it shows that the flexible workshop, although production oriented, gives firms using it the appearance of services companies.
Companies are becoming more and more dependent on data processing systems. In this context, cybernetics again finds its meaning dealing with man‐machine communication problems. The two professions (data‐processing and management) have to find an answer to the same question: how to present a model of a company as a complex system? Decision system analysis follows this trend and suggests a set of concepts and approaches that allows us to analyze and conceive complex systems, whether they be human organizations or systems of artefacts. Despite the fact that it belongs to the cybernetic trend of thinking, the analysis integrates such notions as culture, creativity, well‐being, goals, real time, suggesting a more complete vision of these aspects starting from a logical deductive model, to a renewed cybernetic vision.