Achieving Sustainability in SME Manufacturing Operations via the Use of Flexible Integrated Technology and Product Symbiosis

  • Alan DaviesEmail author
  • Michael Packianather
  • John White
  • Sajith Soman
Conference paper
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 52)


This paper outlines how the economic and environmental sustainability of SMEs in particular can be improved by ensuring that their manufactured product’s Sustainable Life Cycle Costs (SLCC) are minimised. It advocates that this may be achieved through the correct use of Manufacturing Management Informatics (MMI), initially to ensure the correct selection of engineering materials and subsequently for product-manufacturing system—process—recycling design. By adopting such an approach, which in essence employs Flexible Integrated Technology (FIT) it is proposed that a company can not only achieve a significant reduction in their operational costs but also establish a lasting improvement in their productivity, competitive position, economic and environmental sustainability and overall profitability. Within the paper, a proposed methodology for achieving minimum sustainable life cycle costs is outlined. This emphasises the requirement for and correct use of manufacturing management informatics in product, manufacturing system, process and recycling design, to ensure efficient low cost sustainable manufacture. A case study is included, which assesses the effectiveness of the approach proposed by utilising a comparative before and after example in a construction industry SME. This indicates how the proposed methodology can be implemented in an incremental and concurrent manner via the use of existing concepts, strategies, innovative thinking and suitable manufacturing management informatics software.


Sustainability Flexible integrated technology Product symbiosis 



The authors would like to than Innovate UK, ASTUTE and CAMSAC for their support.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Davies
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael Packianather
    • 1
  • John White
    • 2
  • Sajith Soman
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Engineering (MMM)Cardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  2. 2.Brick Fabrication Ltd, Gemini WorksPontypoolUK

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