Agility is the ability to thrive in a fast changing environment.
Agile manufacturing is the idea that a successful company should be adaptable and flexible enough in all of its operations to respond rapidly to changes in demand and bring highly customer-targeted products to market faster.
Possible areas of change include:
Creation - build something new
Capacity - increase/decrease existing resource mix
Capability - add/decrease resource types
Reconfiguration - change relationships among modules
Migration - event-based change of fundamental concepts of science and technology
Improvement - continuous, incremental upgrade
Performance - real time change
Recovery - reincorporate corrected failures
These areas of change lead to possible changes in the following metrics
Industrial competition is changing from individual companies to amount extended enterprises of manufacturers and their suppliers, all linked via advanced computer and communication systems. These value-adding chains operate under conditions in which the ability to change is as important or even more important than the ability to be unchangingly efficient. When change is imposed from outside the company is faster than the ability of the company to change internally, that company is doomed.
Successful production for global markets in competitive industries with rapidly changing customer demands for lower prices, improved quality, and enhanced functionality will require manufacturing enterprises to have two attributes: a wide geographic distribution of operations and agility, which involves a degree of coordination across a company's facilities and resources that had not yet been attained.
The concept of agility requires innovative organizational approaches to distributed decision making and an intense sharing of information and responsibilities among project team members rarely seen today. Interaction around members of the supply chain is partially a technical issue, centering on the development of advanced communication and computers systems that can handle the massive amount of information flowing among team members. More problematic, however, will be the personal and organizational interactions within the team
Agility is more of a people issue a business process issue than a technical one.
A next-generation product development and manufacturing effort would operate as follows: after a new product category is identified, and extended enterprise of prequalified suppliers, service providers, consultant, and others would be assembled quickly via the internet; this virtual team would design and manufacture the product, then disband.
The canonical definition of agility seems to encourage short-term relationships among suppliers. This does not seem appropriate for the manufacture of complex products, where long-term relationships are among suppliers and manufacturers seem to be key. This kind of "virtual partnership" might not work well enough for the manufacture of simple commodity products involving international standards.
What does this look like in industrial applications?
A company is selling virtual products to customers, which are unique products that don't exist until a customer needs them as opposed to something out of a catalog.
For example, a man sits down in front of a terminal and designs a valve. He then programs all of the tools paths for machining and manufacturing the valve on a very advanced CNC machine system and the sends the data into the shop on a waiting machine. After manufacture, components are assembled on automated equipment.
This process for simple prototypes can have a turnaround to the customer in as little as 72 hours. In a sense, bringing the customer into the design process creates a form of virtual corporation.
However, the designs created can also be sent to other plants all over the world. This will allow for customers to have access to a CAD terminal and design their own system. Then the pneumatic technology is applied, sent back to the customer, then back to the nearest facility to send to the customer the next day.
What will this process look like in Web3?
Computer network technology, allows enterprises to select coadjutants dynamically to form alliance, utilize respective advantages, and develop low-cost, and high-quality products.
Interaction among members of the supply chain will be a particular technical issue that centers on the development of advanced communications and computers systems that can handle the massive amount of information flowing among team members. More problematic, however, will be the personal and organizational interactions within the team.
A web-based machining parameter selection system for agile turning has been developed, which is based on internet technology. This system for agile turning provides a method for the manufacturing of products among the geographical distributed partners and offer technical support for the creation of dynamic alliance among enterprises.
Users can choose appropriate machine tools, cutting tools and cutting parameters for the turning process. Furthermore, performance evaluation of the turning process can be performed successfully by the estimation the turning force, power consumption, vibration status, and workpiece distortion using this system.