Agile manufacturing - a structured perspective

Hossein Sharifi, Zoë Dann, Gary Colquhoun, Ian Barclay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two key characteristics of manufacturing companies discussed in this paper are 'Agility' - the ability of a company to effect changes in its systems, structure and organisation and 'Responsiveness' - the ability of a company to gather information from its commercial environment and to detect and anticipate changes, to recover from changes and to improve as a result of change. Manufacturing companies, even those operating in relatively stable conditions with good market positions, are facing fast and often unanticipated changes in their commercial environment. Being agile in such environments means being flexible, cost effective and productive and producing with consistent high quality. Each company will respond in a specific and different way deploying its own agile characteristics. The problem of identifying, analysing and evaluating agility in an enterprise involving, people, information, processes and organisation is that no commonly accepted practical frame of reference or analytical structure exists. The work described in this paper is based on detailed reviews of the agile capacity of a range of manufacturing companies to provide a framework from which specific models of agility can be developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5/1-5/4
Number of pages4
JournalIEE Colloquium (Digest)
Issue number213
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998

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