Agile manufacturing in practice


An evolutionary transformation of business environment, with change as a main characteristic, is taking place. Manufacturing companies, even those operating in relatively stable conditions with good market positions, are facing rapid and often unanticipated changes in their business environment. Agile manufacturing is proposed in response to the circumstances as a solution and is perceived as a vital characteristic that manufacturing companies need to have in order to maintain their competitive advantages in the new order of world business. Each company will respond in a specific and different way to the changing circumstances by deploying its own agile characteristics. Agility in manufacturing may be achieved through the implementation and integration of appropriate practices which provide the required abilities for a company to respond properly to changes. Based on this concept, a methodology for achieving agility in manufacturing organisations is developed. The methodology is applied in two manufacturing companies and data collected from the applications are used to validate the methodology. This paper provides a brief summary of the methodology and details its implementation and validation in the two case study companies. Practices are proposed to support the achievement of agility in the two organisations.

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