Drivers of volume flexibility requirements in manufacturing plants

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39 Scopus citations


This paper presents the results of a major survey and case study of UK manufacturing punts in six major industrial sectors: electronics, process, engineering (capital), engineering (consumer), household goods and food. The paper explores the conditions under which volume flexibility is required by manufacturing plants. The major driver of volume flexibility requirements in manufacturing plants was found to be demand variability regardless of differences in sector, product and other plant characteristics. Other major drivers of volume flexibility were demand uncertainty, short product life-cycle, short product shelf life, supply chain complexity and action of competitors. The applicability of most of these drivers is independent of the industrial sector. Drivers may be generic or may be dependent on the contextual or sectoral characteristics specific to a plant. The requirement for volume flexibility is, therefore, dictated by the specific conditions which a plant is faced with, and the degree of volume flexibility required varies widely.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1497-1513
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Flexibility
  • Manufacturing systems
  • United Kingdom
  • Variance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Decision Sciences
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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