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Journal cover: International Journal of Operations & Production Management

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Online from: 1980

Subject Area: Operations and Logistics Management

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The flexibility of manufacturing systems

Document Information:
Title:The flexibility of manufacturing systems
Author(s):Nigel Slack, (Brunel University, London, UK)
Citation:Nigel Slack, (2005) "The flexibility of manufacturing systems", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 25 Iss: 12, pp.1190 - 1200
Keywords:Flexible manufacturing systems, Manufacturing industries
Article type:Conceptual paper
DOI:10.1108/01443570510633594 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:This article was also published in International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Volume 7 Issue 4.

Purpose – Many of the pressures from the manufacturing environment are turning manufacturing managers' attention to the virtues of developing a flexible manufacturing function. This paper, originally published in 1987, focuses on flexibility in manufacturing.

Design/methodology/approach – Assessses how managers in 10 companies view manufacturing flexibility in terms of how they see the contribution of manufacturing flexibility to overall company performance; what types of flexibility they regard as important; and what their desired degree of flexibility is.

Findings – Flexibility has different meanings for different managers and several perfectly legitimate alternative paths exist towards flexible manufacturing. The results of the investigations in these ten companies are summarised in the form of ten empirical “observations”. Based on these “observations” a check-list of prescriptions is presented and a hierarchical framework developed into which the various issues raised by the “observations” can be incorporated.

Originality/value – Provides a focus on flexibility in manufacturing, as determined in 1987.

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