Flexibility development - A personal retrospective

Miryam Barad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper describes the development of flexibility through my personal views and involvement in researching this complex concept. It differentiates between two modelling perspectives: the bottom-up perspective (from the flexibility of elements to integrated flexibility) of the early researchers for modelling flexible manufacturing systems (FMSs) and the more recent top-down perspective, from flexibility as a strategy to resources needed for implementing it. The bottom-up perspective is represented here by three papers. One paper focuses on Petri nets as a modelling tool, another offers a multi-factor design of experiments (DOE) view on factors affecting the performances of an FMS, and the third one presents a framework of logistic flexibility. The top-down perspective focuses on supply chain flexibility and uses quality function deployment (QFD) as a hierarchical modelling technique. An original framework for analysing the flexibility of generic objects, utilising cloud diagrams, is also presented. In all these papers a variety of changes that flexibility has to cope with are modelled, enabling the viewing of flexibility as a powerful ingredient for responding to changes and reducing risks in uncertain and changeable environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6803-6816
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number23-24
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2013


  • Design of experiments
  • FMS
  • Flexibility
  • Generic objects
  • Logistic flexibility
  • Petri nets
  • QFD


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