Flexible workshop: about the concept of flexibility
This paper is an introduction to the problem of flexibility. We would like to show the predominant factors of flexibility, since not being aware of them may lead to a failure in the conception and the management of flexible production systems. After having described the present situation and having judged current achievements, this paper suggests definitions for the notions of polyvalency, apparent flexibility, dedicated activity, and specifies the relationship existing between these notions. Flexibility will be considered in relation to the concept of learning. Finally it shows that the flexible workshop, although production oriented, gives firms using it the appearance of services companies.
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