Manufacturing Flexibility: Achieving Mix Flexibility in the Caribbean Flour Milling Industry

Industrial issues

Flexibility is recognised as a key objective to manage change in manufacturing environments. For multi-product companies, the ability to change between products quickly and cost-effectively is critical for achieving operational success.


Although manufacturing resources have been identified as the source of flexibility, issues surrounding the synergistic role played by the configuration of these resources in achieving flexibility remain largely unexplored.


Research Aims

  • To investigate how mix flexibility is achieved in the Caribbean Flour Milling Industry
  • To apply constructs from coordination theory to the area of mix flexibility achievement
  • To develop and present a classification system that can be used to analyze mix flexibility
  • To develop and present a framework which captures factors relating to mix flexibility achievement

Research approach

A preliminary framework involving the factors leading to mix flexibility achievement was developed using existing theory in the literature, and industrial knowledge. This framework was refined based on the findings obtained from six case studies involving companies operating in the Flour Milling industry. The case studies explored:

  • The extent of mix flexibility required to produce the company’s product mix
  • The role played by the configuration of manufacturing resources in achieving the required mix flexibility
  • The historical development of the company’s mix flexibility via its past resource configurations


  • Shellyanne Wilson
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