Strategies for enhancing agility of make-to-order manufacturing systems
A. Subash Babu Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Powai, India
Agile production, Make-to-order manufacturing, Systems development
Manufacturing firms which deal with products that are made-to-order, fall under the Abstract category of intermittent production systems. This paper relates to make-toIntermittent production systems are geared order (MTO) manufacturing envirto produce in batches or small lots. These onment. Initially, the various systems may be of two types depending on issues of concern and problems encountered in relation to typical the length of the manufacturing cycle time. MTO systems are presented to These are short cycle job shops and long emphasize why agility is required in such systems. The need to have cycle job shops. The job shops have also been classified as machine limited shops and better performance measures is discussed. How some of the prolabour limited shops. These firms typically blems related to typical MTO do not hold finished goods inventory. After systems were dealt with in the the customer order is received, design and past is discussed, by highlighting manufacturing activities will be started and the salient features of some selected contributions made tothe lead time required to complete the types wards enhancing agility in MTO of jobs is high. Typically made-to-order and systems. An outline of the system engineered-to-order products fall in this capresently being developed by the tegory. These types of production environauthor for concurrent and integrated management of MTO manments are characterised by functional layout ufacturing organisations, which is of the equipment, and high flexibility of the conceived mainly as an agile production facilities to cater for a wide range management system for MTO enof products. Each product is unique in terms vironment, is also presented. of design, manufacturing and technological requirement and precedence constraints. The processing times are highly uncertain. The high level of uncertainty, with respect to routeings and processing times and uncertainty of customer orders, makes the production planning and control problem a difficult one. Normally these types of organisations are capital intensive. Typically the long lead time manufacturing systems deal with heavy engineering, make-to-order type and engineered-to-order type of products. In all the above cases it is very difficult to predict the customer requirements and specifications, so keeping inventory is not possible. All the above reasons make the management of long lead time manufacturing systems a more complicated problem. International Journal of Agile Management Systems 1/1  23±29 # MCB University Press [ISSN 1465-4652]
The common problems
A sizeable part of the engineering industry is in the make-to order business. In the general
competitive situation, a company responds to customers' enquiries with a price and a delivery date, although sometimes either may be fixed by the customer. The values chosen for these two parameters clearly have a major impact on the chance of the firm securing the order. If it is secured, then the order gives rise to problems of production control and scheduling and hence to cost, because of the workloads it adds to the various production facilities. The process of generating a quotation is clearly a key function in the management of the company and one that can make or break it. However, it is this process that commonly receives much less attention than it warrants, either in research or in the company. Some of the other main problems in long lead time manufacturing systems are due to the requirements of meeting the due dates, dealing with high amount of work in process inventory and minimising the possibility of low resource utilisation which often leads to conflicting environment. An efficient...
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