Lean manufacturing is a term applied to companies that are very good at managing what is in their control, and finding ways to continuously improve areas within their shop management that prove to be inefficient. But manufacturers that have worked for years to get Lean and become Leaner may be wondering, “What’s next?”
Agility is the ability to thrive and prosper in an environment of constant and unpredictable change. Agile manufacturing deals with the things that are not readily controlled. This relatively new concept is seen as the next step after Lean in the evolution of production methodologies, but many have not yet begun to implement these new tactics. In fact, a recent study found that while 40 percent of respondents are engaged in Lean manufacturing, less than four percent pursued agile manufacturing.
The basic concept of agile manufacturing is developing what could best be called a nimble mindset when it comes to understanding market environments. In short, rapid changes in the market environment are not something to be feared, but should be seen as opportunities to beat the competition to the punch. Rapid changes in the market call for rapid responses. This notion of changeability is at the heart of new movements in manufacturing based on production agility.
To read the rest of this article please click here.