Flexible Manufacturing Defined
Beginning in the 70s, flexible manufacturing systems were introduced to help manufacturers become more efficiently. These are designed for systems to react and adapt to changes, or problems in the production process.
Flexible manufacturing systems improve the production process by focusing on machine and routing flexibility. Machine flexibility evaluates how a system can change to create new product types and how a system can change the order of operations on a specific part. Routing flexibility analyzes how a system uses multiple machines to perform the same operations on one part and the system’s adaptability to changes in volume, capacity, or capability. While the goal is to increase process efficiency, there are disadvantages and advantages to consider.
Flexible Manufacturing Advantages
Despite the fact that flexible manufacturing may increase costs initially, it will reduce the process costs and help businesses to create better products, become more efficient, and increase revenue as time goes on.
With flexible manufacturing systems’ ability to improve efficiency, your operations run more smoothly. For example, your process can quickly adapt to changes to reduce delays. Because of flexible manufacturing systems’ ability to change, it prevents product defects, production downtime, and wasted resources for long-term savings. Flexible manufacturing also increases customer service and satisfaction.
Flexible Manufacturing Disadvantages
In addition to the initial cost, it can be a challenge to implement flexible manufacturing. You will need to develop thorough planning, with detailed designs and schedules for the implementation. Skilled employees will need to operate equipment, meaning wages might rise. Maintenance and repairs will require special skill sets because of the complexity of the systems. It may appear that the disadvantages of flexible manufacturing systems loom large at the beginning, in the long run the benefits will likely outweigh the drawbacks.