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Reconfigurable Manufacturing: Lesson Learnt from the COVID-19 Outbreak

Abstract : To compete in the current volatile and unpredictable context, manufacturing firms increasingly need reconfigurability, i.e. the capability to adapt the production capacities and functionalities of their manufacturing systems according to evolving product families. To be attractive for practitioners, reconfigurability should require a reasonably low effort. In 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak has quickly twisted market requirements: in an unexpected market context, many firms have been reconfiguring their plants and networks to satisfy, with low efforts, the surge in the demand for very specific products. This paper analyses the reaction upheld by specific Italian manufacturing firms to the outbreak, to derive practical insights on possible ways to achieve reconfigurability in manufacturing. As for results, four insights are provided, regarding: the pre-existing know how held by firms; their network configuration; the modularity of products; and the use of smart and digital technologies. Additionally, remarking the relevance of collaboration between different firms, this paper sows the seeds for linking the reconfigurability theory with the dynamic capabilities theory.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, April 5, 2022 - 10:22:31 PM
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Alessia Napoleone, Lorenzo Bruno Prataviera. Reconfigurable Manufacturing: Lesson Learnt from the COVID-19 Outbreak. IFIP International Conference on Advances in Production Management Systems (APMS), Aug 2020, Novi Sad, Serbia. pp.457-465, ⟨10.1007/978-3-030-57993-7_52⟩. ⟨hal-03630897⟩

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