Title: A new perspective in manufacturing systems design: turbulence management and rapid re-invention

Authors: Jay Jina, Arindam K. Bhattacharya, Andrew D. Walton

Addresses: International Manufacturing Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK. ' International Manufacturing Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK. ' International Manufacturing Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK

Abstract: Business philosophies such as continuous improvement and TQM have been in existence for some time now and embody a wealth of literature. The principles of Cellular Manufacturing together with various examples of its application and benefits are also well documented. The application of TQM to cellular environments is also well established: the deployment of pertinent measures, making visible performance information, and team-working being but a few of the examples. Whilst these approaches have enabled manufacturing strategies to be developed and appropriate systems to be implemented, adverse influences such as greater turbulence in the external environment have been at play. Increased competition combined with customer demand for quality, speed, product performance and lower costs are putting an ever greater burden on manufacturing. Not only do products need to be launched faster than ever, but manufacturing needs to be flexible in rapidly retuning its facilities. The move to cellular manufacturing, TQM or CIM or other techniques alone is thus no longer enough. Instead, the challenge is increasingly one of compressing the time it takes to continually |re-invent| the manufacturing system in order to meet the prevailing demands of the market place. The factors that cause manufacturing systems to behave suboptimally are discussed. Particular reference is made to market triggered turbulence as exhibited by mix and volume changes and to internally triggered turbulence such as design change. We show how these factors impact on the critical competitive dimension of time and by using case examples, we develop a framework for |continual re-invention| of manufacturing systems so as to harness their full capabilities. By clearly distinguishing the processes which enable re-invention from the core manufacturing processes, we consider some issues critical to success: organization structures, skills profiles and the role of people.

Keywords: manufacturing systems design; time compression; re-invention; turbulence management; organisational structure; skills profile; human factors.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.1996.025486

International Journal of Technology Management, 1996 Vol.12 No.2, pp.144 - 162

Published online: 22 May 2009 *

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