An audit tool for determining flexibility requirements in a manufacturing facility

Sanchoy K. Das, Prashant Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Two key questions in flexible manufacturing systems design are "Why and where is flexibility needed?" and "What type of flexibility is needed?" We present an auditing tool to support managers in their efforts to answer these questions. The objective of this audit is to estimate the needed flexibility by linking it to the uncertainty experienced in the company's manufacturing operations. The premise of this approach is that the need for flexibility is triggered by some recurring operational change in the company's environment. Introduces two distinct classes of flexibility-related changes on the basis of their source: external and internal. The flexibility audit consists of a structured questionnaire that is designed to identify and prioritize the changes being experienced by the facility. Subsequently prioritizes and links the changes to different flexibility types. Reports the results of the audit in three easy to read tables. Expects the audit to be the first step in any flexible manufacturing design (FMD) effort. Presents a case study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-274
Number of pages11
JournalIntegrated Manufacturing Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


  • Automation
  • Flexibility
  • Flexible manufacturing systems
  • Process planning
  • Strategy
  • Uncertainty


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