Concept of Agile Manufacturing

The Agile Manufacturing was presented in the first time at the publication in the USA of a report entitled 21st Century Manufacturing Enterprise Strategy. So, it has been introduced as a method of increasing competitive advantage in response to increasingly competitive global markets. Agile concept focuses on the fast response to changeable of customer demand. The key component in agile manufacturing is flexibility. The agile manufacturing methods can be adjusted and consolidated into companies of any size to ensure the growth and success. The changeable of customer and technological requirements that make the manufacturers develop agile supply chain capabilities in order to be competitive. So, many companies use the flexibility and agility to respond the customers’ requirement and markets demand in real time.

The new concept of agility manufacturing need to secure competitive advantage from the production process that can be both efficient and responsive. Agility can be defined as the ability of an organization to succeed in a constantly changing, and unpredictable business environment. The agility has four basic principles that to improve customer interaction by providing added value in order to satisfy customers’ needs.

The lead time to satisfy customer demands is important for both lean and agile. High product quality levels are also important for both lean and agile. In the case of lean, minimal lead times are required because time is waste and should be removed if possible. In the other hand, in the case of agile, minimal lead times are required to be able to respond volatile customer demand as quickly as possible. So, the concept of lean can be used to eliminate waste, when demand is smooth by planning to maximize profit by the way of reducing the physical cost. And the concept of agile, the main point is the extreme of volatile market demand. The lean concept try to offer the good quality products at lower price by removing inventory and waste from the process, in the other hand, agile concept try to serve as quickly as possible to the customer requirements and specifications.

To understand the evolution of lean and agile paradigms, a brief history of industrial production processes need to be described. There have been three major phases or paradigm shifts of industrial production in the modern world. These phases are as follows:

  1. Craft production. This phase is in which craftsmen contracted and completed individual projects on a job-by-job basis. Customer requests were typically for unique products, which varied to some extent from a previously manufactured item.
  2. Mass production. This phase is largely associated with the coming of age of Henry Ford’s mass production assembly line this was the time in which “cookie-cutter” products were rolled off the end of the line at breakneck speeds. Product variety was minimal at the beginning of this phase and increased somewhat as time progressed.
  3. Lean/JIT production. This is a phase which only recently has been recognized as a viable production alternative. Lean/Just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing attempts to use the advantages of mass production in concert with the principles of JIT and elimination of waste in order to minimize the total cost of producing a product.

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