An Empirical Study of Manufacturing Flexibility in Printed Circuit Board Assembly

Operations Research. Vol. 44, No.1, January-February 1996

18 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2013

See all articles by Fernando Suarez

Fernando Suarez

Northeastern University, D'Amore-McKim School of Business

Michael Cusumano

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Charles H. Fine

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Date Written: February 1, 1996

Abstract

This paper addresses the empirical verification of hypotheses that relate to the strategic use and implementation of manufacturing flexibility. We begin with a literature review and framework for analyzing different types of flexibility in manufacturing. Next, we examine some of the propositions in the framework using data from 31 printed circuit-board plants in Europe, Japan, and the United States. Based on our analysis and findings, we then suggest several new strategic insights related to the management of flexibility and some potentially fruitful areas for further theoretical and empirical research. Our findings include: more automation is associated empirically with less flexibility, as found in other studies; non-technology factors, such as high involvement of workers in problem-solving activities, close relationships with suppliers, and flexible wage schemes, are associated with greater mix, volume, and new-product flexibility; component reusability is significantly correlated with mix and new-product flexibility; achieving high-mix or new-product flexibility does not seem to involve a cost or quality penalty; mix and new-product flexibility are mutually reinforcing and tend to be supported by similar factors; and mix flexibility may reduce volume fluctuations, which could theoretically reduce the need for volume flexibility.

Keywords: manufacturing, flexibility

Suggested Citation

Suarez, Fernando and Cusumano, Michael A. and Fine, Charles H., An Empirical Study of Manufacturing Flexibility in Printed Circuit Board Assembly (February 1, 1996). Operations Research. Vol. 44, No.1, January-February 1996, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2362575

Fernando Suarez (Contact Author)

Northeastern University, D'Amore-McKim School of Business ( email )

220 B RP
Boston, MA 02115
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.fernandofsuarez.com

Michael A. Cusumano

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

E52-555
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-2574 (Phone)
617-253-2660 (Fax)

Charles H. Fine

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

E53-393
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-3632 (Phone)
617-258-7579 (Fax)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
60
Abstract Views
930
rank
418,783
PlumX Metrics