Increasing complexity and interdependency in manufacturing enterprises require an agile manufacturing paradigm. This paper considers a dynamic control approach for linking manufacturing strategy with market strategy through a reconfigurable manufacturing planning and control (MPC) system to support agility in this context. A comprehensive MPC model capable of adopting different MPC strategies through distributed controllers of inventory, capacity, and WIP is presented. A hierarchical supervisory controller (referred to as decision logic unit, DLU) that intakes the high-level strategic market decisions and constraints together with feedback of the current manufacturing system state (WIP, production, and inventory levels) and optimally manages the distributed controllers is introduced. The DLU architecture with its three layers and their different functionalities is discussed showing how they link the higher management level to the operational level to satisfy the required demand. A case study for an automatic PCB assembly factory is implemented to demonstrate the applicability of the whole approach. In addition, a comparative cost analysis study is carried out to compare between the developed agile MPC system and classical-inventory- and capacity-based MPC policies in response to different demand patterns. Results showed that the developed agile MPC policy is as cost effective as the inventory-based MPC policy in demand patterns with steady trends, as cost effective as capacity-based MPC in turbulent demand patterns, and far superior than both classical MPC polices in mixed-demand patterns.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/adeif/9/