Flexibility-enabled lead-time reduction in flexible systems

S. Wadhwa, K. S. Rao, Tung Sun Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents the results of a conceptual study and simulation experimentation aimed at understanding the underlying mechanisms of sequencing flexibility-enabled manufacturing lead-time reduction. In spite of a large body of literature on flexibility, the exact mechanism that enables flexibility to reduce the lead time is not fully understood. As a part of our research efforts on the proactive application of flexibility for the performance enhancement of manufacturing systems, we are motivated to study how flexibility can be employed in a proactive manner to reduce the manufacturing lead time and to develop an understanding of the underlying mechanisms. Towards this end, we have developed simulation models of simple flexible manufacturing systems and studied the effect of sequencing flexibility on the lead-time performance under different conditions of part load and machine load balancing. The studies indicated that sequencing flexibility has a significant effect on the lead-time performance of the manufacturing system, and the effect of flexibility varies under different conditions of load balancing. Further studies indicate the existence of complex interactions between the sequencing flexibility, process concurrency, processor load balancing, and manufacturing lead time. This paper intends to discuss some of the interesting results of these studies with a focus on the inherent mechanisms of sequencing flexibility-enabled lead-time reduction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3131-3162
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Concurrency
  • Load balancing
  • Manufacturing lead time
  • Sequencing flexibility
  • Theory of flexibility-enabled lead-time reduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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