Agile manufacturing: a management and operational framework

H. Sharifi, G. Colquhoun, Zoe Dann, Ian Barclay

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Manufacturing companies are now operating in fast-moving commercial environments where unanticipated threats and opportunities are the order of the day. Agile manufacturing in such environments means understanding the environment and being flexible, cost effective and productive with consistent high quality. Each company will respond in a different way to deploy its own agile characteristics. This paper describes research that tackles the problem of identifying what characteristics constitute agile manufacture and proposes a framework for evaluating and developing agile manufacturing. Manufacturing enterprises involve people, organization, technology, processes and information, and no commonly accepted practical reference framework exists to investigate, analyse and evaluate the ability to deal with change. The research is based on a wide-ranging review of agile manufacture and manufacturing architectures. From this review, a conceptual agile manufacturing model was developed and used in a study of 18 manufacturing companies. Subsequently, a framework for analysing and developing a company's agile characteristics is described. The paper concludes by discussing three case studies in detail and proposing the key characteristics of agile manufacturing.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)857-869
    JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


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