|Title of host publication||Wiley Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science|
|Publisher||John Wiley & Sons, Inc.|
|State||Published - 2011|
Agile (flexible) manufacturing, a natural successor to lean manufacturing, emphasizes customized products, efficiency (as pursued through lean manufacturing and other methods for making more with less), and responsiveness for meeting diverse customer requirements in a prompt and personalized manner. Unlike lean manufacturing, which emphasizes mass production in large-scale corporate structures, agile manufacturing is better suited to smaller scale and modular flexible production facilities. In this environment, flexible resources such as a flexible (cross-trained) workforce will become increasingly essential. In this article we show how worker cross-training can improve the performance of manufacturing systems through capacity balancing and variability buffering. We also present effective design and control principles to utilize the potential benefits of a flexible workforce.