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Advanced Manufacturing Technologies and Strategically Flexible Production. A Review and Outlook

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This Chapter discusses the key problem of integrating the use of advanced manufacturing technologies (AMTs) together with the change in the strategic and organizational approach to manufacturing in order to build superior capabilities, especially strategic flexibility and continuous innovation. In the original paper AMTs were analysed within the context of the Strategically Flexible Production (SFP). The use and effectiveness of various technologies and their computer-based integration were investigated in the light of the emerging paradigm. Data from the International Manufacturing Strategy Survey have shown that the use of integrating technologies varied much within the core adopters of the paradigm, suggesting that SFP did not necessarily require massive information technology support. However, SFP alone or combined with a higher level of integration of stand-alone AMT fostered increased time responsiveness. The commentary suggests that today very similar hypotheses to the ones tested in the original paper could be explored in relation to the currently emerging technologies, such as Industry 4.0 or Smart Factories. In particular we need to ask questions and test propositions around the need of alignment between today’s advanced technologies and work organization practices, and around the relative importance of technology compared to organization in building superior capabilities.

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  1. 1.

    CAD: Computer Aided Design; CAP: Computer Aided Process Planning; CAE: Computer Aided Engineering; CAM: Computer Aided Manufacturing; MRP: Manufacturing Resource Planning.

  2. 2.

    Brazil, India, China, Russia and South Africa.

  3. 3.

    The first three phases are water/steam power, followed by electrical power and, next, information/computing power.

  4. 4.

    Note that the autonomy of machines in the Smart Factory, in the form of self-optimisation, self-configuration and self-diagnosis, is due to the integration of actuators and sensors into the machines.


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Correspondence to Harry Boer .

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Boer, H. (2016). Advanced Manufacturing Technologies and Strategically Flexible Production. A Review and Outlook. In: Bartezzaghi, E., Cagliano, R., Caniato, F., Ronchi, S. (eds) A Journey through Manufacturing and Supply Chain Strategy Research. Springer, Cham.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-31103-6

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-31104-3

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