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By Hans Bylesjö


This paper presents a model for evaluating manufacturing output flexibility in the process industries. Using an interview survey, perceptions of flexibility were explored in eight plants in four different process industries. The result gave a consistent picture of the most important dimensions of flexibility for the plants investigated. Operational and strategic flexibility seem to be prioritised whilst tactical flexibility was assigned less importance. Other salient dimensions were set-up times, organisational inertia of staff and new product development. A model for evaluating operational, tactical and strategic flexibility in process plants developed from the interviews is finally presented. The importance of flexibility in process industries Process industries such as mining, steel, pulp and food processing are often considered to have inherently inflexible processes. Volume flexibility in these industries is limited compared to non-process industries, with the result that demands for increased flexibility threaten to reduce performance, increase cost and lower productivity

Year: 2011
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