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From a strategic perspective in terms of how a company competes flexibility consists of two dimensions both of which relate directly to how the firm’s processes are designed  One element of flexibility is the firm’s ability to offer its customers a wide variety of products  The greatest flexibility along this dimension is achieved when every product is customized to meet the specific requirements of each individual customer This is often referred to as mass customization Examples of firms that have achieved this level of flexibility include Dell Computers and the National Bicycle Industrial Company in Japan See
OM in Practice box The other dimension of flexibility is how fast a company can change over its production facilities to produce a new line of products This dimension is  growing in importance as product life cycles become shorter and shorter Sony provides a good example here with its ability to quickly produce new models of its Walkman Because it has this high degree of changeover flexibility Sony is able to easily substitute new Walkman models for those models that do not sell well