Flexibility is a key component in any agile manufacturing enterprise. A methodology that a firm may use to design, build and then implement a flexible manufacturing (FM…
Flexibility is a key component in any agile manufacturing enterprise. A methodology that a firm may use to design, build and then implement a flexible manufacturing (FM) solution is presented. An FM solution is defined as an operational intervention that helps the company counter the changes in its internal and external environments. The methodology was developed in collaboration with several industrial partners, and is easy to use and readily applicable in an industrial setting. The FM solution design method is structured as a three‐phase execution. Phase I involves identifying the flexibility needs of the company. Phase II is the actual development of the FM solution and includes models for measuring the current and target flexibility levels. Phase III incorporates a process to address the economic viability of the proposed solutions. Also reported are the results of a survey on the relative importance of the flexibility types.
Two key questions in flexible manufacturing systems design are “Why and where is flexibility needed?” and “What type of flexibility is needed?” We present an auditing tool…
Two key questions in flexible manufacturing systems design are “Why and where is flexibility needed?” and “What type of flexibility is needed?” We present an auditing tool to support managers in their efforts to answer these questions. The objective of this audit is to estimate the needed flexibility by linking it to the uncertainty experienced in the company’s manufacturing operations. The premise of this approach is that the need for flexibility is triggered by some recurring operational change in the company’s environment. Introduces two distinct classes of flexibility‐related changes on the basis of their source: external and internal. The flexibility audit consists of a structured questionnaire that is designed to identify and prioritize the changes being experienced by the facility. Subsequently prioritizes and links the changes to different flexibility types. Reports the results of the audit in three easy to read tables. Expects the audit to be the first step in any flexible manufacturing design (FMD) effort. Presents a case study.
Fast fulfilment is a key performance measure in online retail, and some retailers have achieved faster times by adopting new designs in their order fulfilment…
Fast fulfilment is a key performance measure in online retail, and some retailers have achieved faster times by adopting new designs in their order fulfilment infrastructure. This research empirically confirms and quantifies the fulfilment time advantage that Amazon has achieved, relative to other online retailers. The purpose of this paper is to investigate three research questions: what is the overall mean fulfilment time difference between the new logistics designs of Amazon and the alternative designs of other retailers? For each order what is the distribution of the fulfilment time difference? What is the difference in fulfilment time by product category, price and size?
This research uses an empirical method to evaluate the fulfilment time performance of consumer orders made through the Amazon website and one or more competing online retailers. For 1,000 different products two fulfilment times, one at Amazon and another at a competing omnichannel retailer, are recorded. The analysis is then focused on the comparison between this paired data.
The research confirms that the new logistics methods, including physical facilities, distribution networks and intelligent order processing methods, have resulted in faster order fulfilment times. The performance, though, is not universally dominant and for 33 per cent of orders, the difference is 1 day or less. The fulfilment time difference varied by product, category, price or size.
The ongoing transformation of fulfilment and logistics operations at online retailers has generated several new research questions. This includes the need to confirm the fulfilment efficiency of the new designs and specify time targets. This paper identifies the fulfilment time gap between new and traditional operations. The results suggest that store-based or distribution centre-based fulfilment strategies may not match the new designs.
The study provides a quantitative analysis of the fulfilment time differentials in online retailing. The critical role of fulfilment logistics in the rapidly growing online retail industry can now be better modelled and studied. The survey method representing a single buyer allows for order pair equivalency and eliminates order bias. The results suggest that new warehousing and logistics designs can lead to significantly faster fulfilment times.