This text provides informative, short introductions to the core concepts of Operations Management. This text contains more than 50 concept entries and is fully cross-referenced.An outstanding reference for Operations Management students at all levels.
Process flexibility is the capability of a process to handle different types of products with a small, or nil, change-over cost.
Flexibility as a Capability
In the 1980s, the American car industry suffered from Japanese competition as these started to offer many more model versions than the Americans could. How could the Japanese offer more product variety whilst keeping their prices competitive? They clearly had discovered ways to overcome the cost-flexibility trade-off! Remember that, according to conventional wisdom, manufacturing systems perform well either on cost or on flexibility but not on both these dimensions simultaneously.
[Page 115]There have been several research studies that have shown that the product process matrix is overly prescriptive. In a survey of 128 manufacturing plants, Ahmad and Schroeder (2002) found that only 40 ...