A Study on Flexible Manufacturing Operations in Kenya: a Case of Bidco Oil Refineries Limited.
This case study on Bidco Oil Refineries Ltd was to have an in-depth understanding o f the concept of flexibility competence in operations of a manufacturing plant and was achieved by exploring three objectives that brought out clearly the implementation, the benefit and the challenges that go with its implementation The study was geared to act as a guide to Bidco Oil Refineries Ltd managers and other manufacturing firms in their steps towards developing more competitive edge in the market and pursuing market leadership in the industry The case study design followed a structured format to extract essential information needed to present the company's flexibility position and adopted a field-based data collection method such as self-administered questionnaires, interviews and focus group discussions It was observed from the findings that Bidco Oil Refinery Ltd has developed its capability in producing a number o f different products/services at the same point in time and deal with additions to and subtraction from the mix over time on a well established automation base in computer-aided process planning and material requirement plan. However, the company still faces uncertainty as to the machine/equipment downtime and with regards to the amount of customer demand for the product/services. The latter is crucial in establishing volume flexibility in operations which is one o f the three fundamental factors in implementing the flexibility competence. The fundamental determining factor of volume flexibility is the type o f employment term employed. The employment terms relates to the type of labour capacity solutions that are used to achieve volume flexibility. The skill level o f workers is a factor for achieving both mix and volume flexibility. For instance, a multi-skilled workforce would be able to perform multiple tasks driven by changes in mix and volume requirements Therefore, in designing a manufacturing process, attention must be paid to both its technical and social aspects which are based on the socio-technical systems theory where these two aspects are interdependent and hence, need to be designed simultaneously in order for a manufacturing process to be effective.
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