Manufacturing Flexibility Improvement: Case Studies and Survey of Thai Automotive Industry

Ngamsirijit, Wuttigrai (2008) Manufacturing Flexibility Improvement: Case Studies and Survey of Thai Automotive Industry. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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To deal with dynamic and uncertain business environments, agile manufacturing is of interest to academics and practitioners. However, in order to achieve agile manufacturing, one of its dimensions is of major importance - manufacturing flexibility. It is not possible to achieve agile manufacturing with ineffective management of manufacturing flexibility. Most firms acknowledge how flexibility can be improved but few can successfully implement it to its full potential. In addition, manufacturing firms today tend to improve and implement manufacturing flexibility at a strategic level. This means higher perception of benefits and better awareness of risks.

This research studied the current awareness and practices of manufacturing flexibility improvement in a manufacturing setting, particularly the Thai automotive industry. Through case studies, they can extract more information about the experiences of companies in the planning, implementation and operations of manufacturing flexibility. Thus, the following contributions were made:

First, this research will provide comprehensive overviews and insights on various manufacturing flexibility improvements on aspects of pragmatic management perspectives. Second, this research explored the issues or factors taken into account when manufacturing firms, especially Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), improve their flexibility. Third, the research also explored and validated the major problems in achieving manufacturing flexibility and operating issues critical to manufacturing flexibility performance within manufacturing and supply chain aspects, especially suppliers. The underlying concepts to enhance manufacturing flexibility as well as barriers and enhancers of manufacturing flexibility within individuals and between OEMs and suppliers can be then obtained. In consequence, a framework of manufacturing flexibility improvement incorporating key elements from case studies and surveys was derived.

Finally, the decision-making framework including managerial guidance and strategic evaluation methodology for better evaluating flexibility improvement strategies and achieving manufacturing flexibility were developed and tested. This is sought to create a formal and rational process that guides manufacturers through the strategic evaluation process in relation to manufacturing flexibility improvement. These can be the basis for follow up research in a specific area within flexibility improvement and enhance the development/deployment of flexibility in automotive and other manufacturing enterprises. Overall, an operations strategy can be well established and the highest level of manufacturing flexibility can be achieved. Hence, the firm can maintain or increase its competitive advantages and profitability under uncertain circumstances of manufacturing and supply chain.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: O'Brien, Chris
Keywords: Manufacturing Flexibility, Resource-Based Theory, Case Study, Survey, Analytic Hierarchy Process
Subjects: H Social sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > Nottingham University Business School
Item ID: 10552
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2008
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 15:37

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