This chapter provides some concepts and mobilises them in a diagram called the variety-flexibility grid. The flexibility ofthe system as a whole depends upon how much variety is being produced and where it is being produced and also on the location and amounts of investments in flexibility. The system elements of variety and flexibility are complementary. Flexibility and variety were both high at almost all parts of the grid, as an artisanal workforce and much general-purpose productive equipment permitted relatively customised products. The grid naturally suggests defining a number of specific types of flexibility, product flexibility and parts flexibility relative to final and intermediate output respectively, process flexibility in parts fabrication, assembly, and sales; and firm flexibility in parts suppliers, assemblers, and dealers. The chapter also presents some closing thoughts on the key concepts discussed in the preceding chapters of this book.
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