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FLEXIBILE MANUFACTURING: EXAMINING HOW THIS COULD CONTRIBUTE TO BMA'S ABILITY TO COMPETE IN THE MARKET BY VUSUMUZI R. SINYOKA SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT PRORAMME (MDP) BULAWAYO, ZIMBABWE YEAR: 2003 TABLE OF CONTENTS ITEM PAGE Executive summary 2 Acknowledgments 3 CHAPTER I Introduction 4 Background 4 Project justification 5 Significance of study 6 Definition of terms 6 Research limitations 7 CHAPTER II Literature review 8 Different approaches 9 CHAPTER III Research methodology 11 Instruments used 11 Subjects 12 Data collection 12 CHAPTER 1V Data presentation and discussion 14 Customer responses 14 Managerial employees 14 Junior and shopfloor staff 15 All categories 15 CHAPTER V Summary 17 Conclusion 17 Recommendations 17 Implementation issues 18 Advantages 18 Disadvantages 19 References 19 APPENDICES Customer questionnaire 20 Shopfloor staff questionnaire 21 Managerial staff questionnaire 22 Tonnage graph 24 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This research project sought to establish the extent to which product design and flexibility would affect the competitiveness of BMA Fasteners in the local and global markets. A number of companies have gone under because they have failed to respond to the changing demands of today's customer due to lack of design expertise and rigid manufacturing systems. In order to be competitive in today's world organisations have to change, be comfortable with short production runs and come up with innovative ideas on new product design. The traditional product is fast becoming irrelevant and consumer tastes and needs are diverse and quick changing. BMA needs to establish how far it has to go with the introduction of new products and in having a flexible manufacturing system. This impacts on all facets of the operations, namely manning levels, market share, cash flow and financial strength, job satisfaction, and inventory management. Man, money, market, machines, minutes, and management are the 6 Ms that drive this concept and determine its success or failure. In this research 6 locally based company representatives were contacted both formally and informally as this touches on competition. ...read more.


System flexibilities * Volume flexibility - a measure of a system's capability to be operated profitably at different volumes of the existing part types * Expansion flexibility - the ability to build a system and expand it incrementally * Routing flexibility - a measure of the alternative paths that a part can effectively follow through a system for a given process plan * Process flexibility - a measure of the volume of the set of part types that a system can produce without incurring any set-up * Product flexibility - the volume of the set of part types that can be manufactured in a system with minor set-up (c) Aggregate flexibilities * Program flexibility - the ability of a system to run for reasonably long periods without external intervention * Production flexibility - the volume of the set of part types that a system can produce without major investment in capital equipment * Market flexibility - the ability of a system to efficiently adapt to changing market conditions Today's manufacturing strategy is to seek benefits from flexibility. This is only feasible when a production system is under complete control of flexible manufacturing technology. Having in mind the Process- Product Matrix you may realise that for an industry it is possible to reach for high flexibility by making innovative technical and organisational efforts. The Volvo process structure that makes cars on movable pallets, rather than an assembly line is a classic example. The process gains in flexibility. Also, the Volvo system has more flexibility because it uses multi-skill operators who are not paced by a mechanical line. So we may search for benefits from flexibility on moving to the job shop structures. Actually, the need is for flexible processes to permit rapid low cost switching from one product line to another. This is possible with flexible workers whose multiple skills would develop the ability to switch easily from one kind of task to another. ...read more.


machines are of limited capacity and the tooling necessary for products, even of the same family, is not always feasible in a given FMS) * Substantial pre-planning activity * Expensive, costing millions of dollars * Technological problems of exact component positioning and precise timing necessary to process a component * Sophisticated manufacturing systems Reference 1. Imai, M, 1986 Kaizen: The key to Japan's Competitive Success - McGraw-Hill 2. Mondem, Y, 1983, Toyota production System: Practical Approach to Production Management, -Industrial Engineering and Management Press 3. Williams,K., Williams J., Haslam C., 1989, International Journal of Operations and Production Management 4. Internatinal Journal of Production Research Vol. 26, 1988 5. Porter M.E, 1990, The competitive advantage of Nations 6. Jimmie Brown, John Harhen, James Shivnam - Production Management Systems - A CIM Perspective QUESTIONNAIRE ON FLEXIBLE MANUFACTURING CUSTOMER FORM NUMBER: COMPANY NAME: LOCATION: INDUSTRY/SECTOR PRODUCT RANGE WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR MOST FROM A SUPPLIER? (Please tick the appropriate grade - A being the highest and D the lowest) A B C D * Price * Quality * Delivery * Service HOW LONG HAS YOUR STOCKING POLICY REMAINED CONSTANT? -------------- COMMENTS AND FURTHER INFORMATION: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ QUESTIONNAIRE ON FLEXIBLE MANUFACTURING SHOPFLOOR STAFF FORM NUMBER: COMPANY NAME: LOCATION: INDUSTRY/SECTOR PRODUCT RANGE (Please tick the appropriate grade - A being the highest and D the lowest) A B C D I. Money and recognition enable me to meet my targets. II. The ability to run different products within a period makes my job interesting. III. Availability of machines is paramount to production. IV. The need to satisfy customers drives the business. COMMENTS AND FURTHER INFORMATION: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- QUESTIONAIRRE ON FLEXIBLE MANUFACTURING MANAGERIAL STAFF FORM NUMBER: COMPANY NAME: LOCATION: INDUSTRY/SECTOR PRODUCT RANGE (Please tick the appropriate grade - A being the highest and D the lowest) A B C D 1. Does product availability affect your ability to service orders? 2. Is your business focussed on core products? 3. A diverse product portfolio contributes to volumes? WHAT ARE YOUR MAJOR PRODUCTION CONSTRAINTS?------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- COMMENTS AND FURTHER INFORMATION: ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 1 ...read more.

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