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Title: Agile maufacturing in the UK ceramics industry
Author: Rigby, Colin.
Awarding Body: University of Keele
Current Institution: Keele University
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis will investigate the concept of agile manufacturing as it applies to the mature traditional pottery manufacturing industry of Stoke-on- Trent. This thesis has two research objectives the first is to examine whether the theory of agility fully informs the actual practice of agility and agile manufacture and, secondly, the thesis looks into the gap between the rhetoric of agility (what they say they do) and the practice of agility (what they actually do). The thesis uses a critical realist approach in attempting to locate the essence of "agility" as what some have called a "new" productive regime (laccoca Institute, 1991), with the aim of identifying what role it can play in re-structuring sub-optimal forms of productive organisation within the Stoke-on-Trent ceramic industry. In order to clarify the basis of this argument agility is broadly defined as "the ability of an organisation to thrive in a constantly changing, unpredictable business environment" (laccoca Institute, 1991). The broadness of this type of definition is part of the intuitive appeal of this form of productive regime. The thesis shows that when considering agility in this context that there exists many and varied complexities within organisations and between organisations that the model does not take into account. Therefore agility should not be treated as a panacea for the manufacturing strategy of the case companies studied. Previous research had failed to provide any linkages between agility and wider debates relating to productive and organisational change. Existing research has its bias towards researching a limited set of industries such as automotive and food production, where manufacturers are assemblers often hold pivotal roles in the supply chain. Agility attempts to provide guidance about 'managing' physical and social relationships within and between companies in response to growing market complexity, yet tends to have an under socialised view of these types of interactions. This tendency reduces interaction and human aspects to simple unidirectional cause and effect. These theories therefore do not take into account the more subjective aspects of interaction. This is especially important within the Stoke-on- Trent ceramics industry that is a mature, geographically clustered manufacturing area.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available