Businesses choose to compete in one of two areas of their key strengths. These areas of preferences may include quality, delivery or cost among others, and are referred to as core competencies or competitive priorities. But more businesses are now opting to focus on ‘flexibility of their product’ or ‘flexibility of volume’. This has led to the all-important concept of Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS). Here is a closer look at FMS and why you should apply it in your enterprise.
What is Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS)?
FMS is an aggregation of numerically controlled machine tools that are interconnected and controlled from a centralized system. The machine cells of the manufacturing system are connected through loading/unloading stations using an automated transport system. With this interconnection, flexibility is achieved through the ability to implement all operational tasks for faster delivery.
The concept evolved rapidly in the 1970s when programmable controllers, robots, and computerized systems ushered in the era of controlled environment in industrial systems.
The primary goal of FMS is approaching the efficiencies and economies of scale without compromising quality. Note that though FMS is largely suited for manufacturers that assemble parts to form final products, any industry can use the concept to enhance flexibility.
Benefits of Adopting a Flexible Manufacturing System
When you start using FMS, the benefits for your manufacturing system will be many. Most investors and industrial managers opt for FMS to get a competitive advantage in the market. If you run an industrial system, here are the additional benefits that you need to know about:
- FMS generates less waste.
- You need fewer workstations in your industrial unit.
- Your manufacturing unit suffers reduced downtime
- Better control over quality.
- Higher efficiency in using machinery.
- Increased productivity.
- More efficient use of machinery.
- Reduced need for labor.
To implement the FMS, it is important to look at your manufacturing unit holistically. You need to integrate the product design department, marketing, and production to increase the uptake of your products. Besides, you need to improve the production system to go with shifting customer demands.
The Final Take
Flexible manufacturing system has become the new force in the manufacturing niche because of its ability to increase productivity and cut down costs. Whether you are in the mining or food processing niche, running a flexible system is like putting your system on wheels and setting it in motion. It gives you control and ensures that your system is ready to molt and match the molting customer demands.