Agile manufacturing: Enablers and an implementation framework

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Tougher competitive situations have led to increasing attention being paid to customer satisfaction, of which timely and customized services are the key concepts. As the product life cycle becomes shortened, high product quality becomes necessary for survival. Markets become highly diversified and global, and continuous and unexpected change become the key factors for success. The need for a method of rapidly and cost-effectively developing products, production facilities and supporting software, including design, process planning and shop floor control system has led to the concept of agile manufacturing. Agile manufacturing can be defined as the capability to survive and prosper in a competitive environment of continuous and unpredictable change by reacting quickly and effectively to changing markets, driven by customer-designed products and services. This article details the key concepts and enablers of agile manufacturing. The key enablers of agile manufacturing include: (i) virtual enterprise formation tools/metrics; (ii) physically distributed manufacturing architecture and teams; (iii) rapid partnership formation tools/metrics; (iv) concurrent engineering; (v) integrated product/production/business information system; (vi) rapid prototyping tools; and (vii) electronic commerce. A conceptual framework for the development of an agile manufacturing system and future research directions are presented in this paper. This framework takes into account the customization and system integration with the help of business process redesign, legal issues, concurrent engineering, computer-integrated manufacturing, cost management, total quality management and information technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1223-1247
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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