Agile Manufacturing is an operational strategy focused on inducing velocity and flexibility in a make-to-order or configure-to-order production process with minimal changeover time and interruptions.Agile Manufacturing differs with Lean Manufacturing in the sense that lean manufacturing is orientedtoward a repetitive manufacturing environment with order characteristics of high-volume/low-mix, andAgile Manufacturing applies to low-volume/high mix.Agile Manufacturing is oriented toward low-volume/high mix, adding velocity and flexibility in theproduction process. It applies to environments where customized, configurable, or specialized orders,offer a competitive advantage.he benefits generally are specialization, customization, flexibility, lower costs, higher quality, lowerinventory, and shorter lead times. The characteristics of Agile Manufacturing are:i Short time-to-marketi Fast new product developmenti Modular designi Modular assemblyi Short/fast order processing>/li>i Configure to orderi Make-to-Orderi Low volumesi Low quantitiesi High product mixi Configurable componentsi Fast supplier deliveriesi Short lead timesi Short cycle timesi Highly flexible and responsive processesi Highly flexible machines and equipmenti Deployment of Group Technology principlesi Use of Solids Modelingi Use of advanced CAD/CAMi Quick changeoveri Collocated machines, equipment, tools and peoplei Compressed spacei Multi-skilled employeesi Empowered employeesi High first-pass yields with major reductions in defectsThe IssuesAgile Manufacturing is in direct opposition with traditional manufacturing approaches characterized by useof economic order quantities, high capacity utilization, and high inventory. It requires radical change.Excess capacity is welcome instead of taboo. Make-to-order capability replaces mass production and lotsizes based on EOQs.A major issue with Agile Manufacturing is the high capitalization often required for flexibility in theproduction and assembly areas. However payback periods of 2 years or less are common.However, just like anything else, Agile Manufacturing is no panacea, nor should it be embraced as areligion. It is an operational strategy that, if implemented properly, will provide a new dimension to
competing: quickly introducing new configurable and specialized high quality products, and deliveringthem with unprecedented lead times.