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"Analyse the benefits and problems for a firm trying to increase the flexibility of its operations"

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Introduction

"Analyse the benefits and problems for a firm trying to increase the flexibility of its operations" Simon Puncher Flexibility is the ability and the willingness of a firm to change its operations in response to changing circumstances. In the ever changing marketplace, a company not able to redevelop a product, department, or itself "over-night" may miss out in terms of sales to one of its competitors. Customers demand more and more in terms of different products, and more styles and companies need to be flexible enough to adapt production to meet these needs. Fashionable and successful lean production techniques also require no more resources, such as stock or even staff than is required at that time and so flexible work forces may be required to meet seasonal trends. ...read more.

Middle

Working in a team, producing a product from start to finish is likely to be far more motivating than a repetitive, tedious job on a mass production line. Staff are likely to be needed to be more highly trained to perform the wider range of jobs flexible production requires. Although costly for the firm, staff are likely to be more motivated through their more enriched and more responsibility bearing jobs. This in turn could lead to higher levels of productivity and a less absenteeism and staff turn-over. In the long run, this is likely to save the firm money. Employing a large number of staff to meet busy periods has the downside that in quieter periods many workers have very little to do. ...read more.

Conclusion

For the staff the benefits are less great. There will be a huge amount of job insecurity associated with being a flexi-worker and this is likely to make you less motivated and therefore less productive. Having external employees who are frequently changing may also result in there being less of a "team feel" to the company which could weaken internal staff relations. The benefits to a company trying to become more flexible are clearly very strong. Most of these benefits are however financial ones and in a company trying to keep all of its stakeholders happy, flexible production may not be the best answer. As far as staff are concerned, the wider range of tasks and responsibility involved in a flexible job may enrich their working life and make them feel more motivated, at the expense of job security however. ...read more.

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