Design for agility: A scheduling perspective

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing

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End Page



Agility is the ability of a company to produce a variety of products in a short time and at a low cost. This demands that products and manufacturing systems be simple, robust, and flexible to allow for quick response to the changing market. Scheduling of manufacturing systems in a changing environment is complex. This paper attempts to simplify scheduling of manufacturing systems through appropriate design of products and manufacturing systems. An attempt has been made to generate rules that allow to design products and systems for easy scheduling. Four design for agility rules are proposed in the paper. The first rule deals with decomposition of a manufacturing system. The rule simplifies the scheduling problem and reduces the total changeover cost. The second rule is concerned with design of products with robust scheduling characteristics. Product designs with robust scheduling characteristics can improve the response of a manufacturing system to the changes in the product demand and mix and reconfigurability of the system. The third rule results in a streamlined assembly line which has the type of product flow that simplifies scheduling. The fourth rule emphasizes the reduction of the number of stations in an assembly line. Examples are provided to demonstrate the benefits from using these rules. The implementation of the four rules is also discussed.



Published Article/Book Citation

Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, 14:2011-05-06T00:00:00 (1998) pp.415-427.

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