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1. Machine Flexibility

1.1. Refers to the various types of operations that teh machine can perform without requiring a prohibitive effort in switching from one operation to another.

1.2. The machine level provides the basic framework for flexibility. Software functions cannot help to provide any extra flexibility, if the machines are hard and expensive to change.

1.3. Requires considerable attention on the part of the management. Operators need to be trained to acquire programing, maintenace, and diagnostics skills.

1.4. Can be measured by the number of different operations that a machine can perform without requiring more than a specified amount of effort.

2. Material handling flexibility

2.1. Its is the ability to move different part types efficiently for proper positioning and processing through the manufacturing facility it serves.

2.2. Having a flexible material handling system increases availability of machines and thus their utilization and reduces throughput times.

2.3. In highly automated facilities, devices such as automated guide vehicles, robots, and computer control, which can send parts to new paths in case of blocking and machine breakdowns, would be needed to acquire material handling flexibility.

2.4. The material handling flexibility of a given system can be expressed by the ratio of the number of paths that the system can support to the number of paths supported by the universal system.

3. Operation Flexibility

3.1. Is a property of the part, and means that the part can be produced with alternate procress plans, where a process plan means a sequence o operations required to produce the part.

3.2. Allows for easier scheduling of parts in real time and increases machine availability and utilization, especially when machines are unreliable.

3.3. Operation flexibility of a part can be measured by the number of different processing plans for its fabrication.

4. Process flexibility

4.1. Process flexibility of a manufacturing system relates to the set of part types that the system can produce without major setups.

4.2. The main purpose is to reduce batch sizes and reduce inventory costs. Satisfies the strategic need of being simultaneously able to offer to customers a range of product lines.

4.3. Process flexibility of a system derives from the machine flexibility of machines, operation flexibility of parts, and the flexibility of the material handling system composing the system.

4.4. A mesurement would be the volume of set of part types that the system can produce without major setups.

5. Product Flexibility

5.1. Is the ease with which new parts can be added or substituted for existing parts.

5.2. Allows the company to be responsive to the market by enabling it to bring newly designed products quickly to the market.

5.3. It depends on machine flexibility, material handling flexibility, operation flexibility, efficient CAD/CAM interface, rapid exchange of tools and dies, flexible fixtures, etc.

5.4. Can be measured by time or cost required to switch from one part mix to another, not necessarily of the same part types.

6. Routing Flexibility

6.1. It is the ability to produce a part by alternate routes through the system

6.2. Allows for efficient scheduling of parts by better balancing of machines loads.

6.3. Routing flexibility comes about by having multipurpose machines, versatily of material handling systemm and operation flexibility of parts.

6.4. It can be measured with the average number of possible ways in wich a part type can be processed in the given system.

7. Volume flexibility

7.1. It is the ability to be operated profitably at diferent overall output levels. The ability to change planned or asummed delivery dates.

7.2. Volume flexibility permits the factory to adjust production upwards or downwards within wide limits.

7.3. It can be measured by how small the volume can be for all part types together with the system still bein run profitably.

8. Expansion flexibility

8.1. Is the ease with wich its capacity and capability can be increased when needed.

8.2. It is important for firms with growth strategies such as venturing into new markets, since it permits step by step adaptation of the system for expansion.

8.3. It helps to reduce implementation time and cost for new products, variations of existing products, or added capacity.

8.4. It can be measured by the overall effort and cost needed in terms of time to add a given amount of capacity.

9. Program flexibility

9.1. Is the ability of the system to run virtually untended for a long enough period.

9.2. Reduces the throughput time by havieng reduced setup times, improved inspection and gauging, and better fixtures and tools.

9.3. It can be measured by the expected percentage uptime during the second and third shifts.

10. Production flexibility

10.1. It is the universe of part types that the manufacturing system can produce without adding major capital equipment.

10.2. Allows the firm to compete in a market where new products are frequently demanded.

10.3. Minimizes the implemantation time for new products or major modifications of existing products.

10.4. It can be measured by the size of the universe of parts the system is capable of producing.

11. Market flexibility

11.1. Is the ease with which the manufacturing system can adapt to a changing market environment.

11.2. Allows the firm to respond to the change of the environment without seriously jeopardizing the business.

11.3. It can be measured as a efforts in terms of time and cost required to introduce a new product.

12. The property of the system elements that are integrally designed and linked to each other in order to allow the adaptation of production equipments to various production tasks.

12.1. Can be considered as a form of metacontrol aimed at increasing control capacity by means of an increase in variety, speed, and amount of responses as a reaction to uncertain future environmental developments

13. It is the adaptability to a wide range of possible environments that it may encounter. A flexible system must be capable of changing in order to deal with a changing environment

13.1. The relative desirability of a flexible plant increases as the variation in market price increases and as the ability to predict market price before making an output decision increases