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On a Hierarchical Structure of Manufacturing Flexibility Types

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  • フレキシビリティのタイプの階層構造について
  • フレキシビリティ ノ タイプ ノ カイソウ コウゾウ ニ ツイテ

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Recently it is widely noticed that manufacturing environments are surrounded with capricious market situations such as shorter product life cycle, higher product variety, shorter delivery times and so forth. In order to survive this highly uncertain market, the manufacturing systems are called for being capable of adapting themselves to these environmental conditions effectively and rapidly. With the understanding of both external and internal requests for manufacturing systems, the concept of flexibility which refers to the ability of a manufacturing system to effectively and rapidly respond to cost and environmental changes has attracted attention as an effective weapon to achieve the competitive advantages. In this context, a lot of researches on the manufacturing flexibility, especially its definitions, classifications, economic feasibility and its performance measurements, have been conducted, trying to understand it ranging from its nature to its effects on manufacturing performances. However, most of the literature have been devoted to the operational standpoint with modeling approaches, such as hardware requirements or optimal operation strategy for a specific FMS. Therefore it seems that current literature are unsuccessful in providing managerial insights with manufacturing strategic perspectives. In 1996,we performed a survey on manufacturing strategy, called MFP which has been conducted internationally since 1983. This survey was particularly designed to gather information on the competitive factors pertinent to the leading manufacturers in the world, and many an empirical evidence obtained from its survey data have been published. The objective of this paper is to examine the hierarchical structure of manufacturing flexibility types by using the structural equation modeling. And also, the paper provides strategic implications of the flexibility types which may shed some light on the directions of manufacturing strategy in flexibility.



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