Manufacturing system flexibility: The "capability and capacity" approach

J. M J Cheng, J. E L Simmons, James M. Ritchie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Flexibility is widely recognized, in research literature and in more popular publications, as being of crucial importance in manufacturing. However, there is evidence of confusion among the numerous definitions of flexibility and it is arguable that, even now, the concept is not well understood. Furthermore, there is no simple approach for the systematic incorporation of flexibility level by level within the hierarchy of a conventional manufacturing system. Introduces a unifying and simple set of concepts for flexibility from a management perspective. The purpose of this "capability and capacity" approach is to interpret and integrate various types of flexibility throughout the manufacturing system. Use of this approach leads to four important principles for the integration of a system's overall flexibility. Analyses flexibility types within manufacturing using the proposed approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-158
Number of pages12
JournalIntegrated Manufacturing Systems
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1997


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