لینک کردن تولید انعطاف پذیر به عملکرد نوآوری در کارخانه های تولیدی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|3652||2011||6 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Production Economics, Available online 14 September 2011
In the past few decades, the concept of manufacturing flexibility has become a key competitive criterion for many manufacturing organizations. The importance of flexibility in supporting other competitive criteria such as cost, quality and delivery speed has also been recognized (Bolwijn and Kumpe, 1990). However, there is a dearth of studies linking flexibility with another competitive criterion—innovation. In this study, we investigate the influence of the interaction of mix flexibility and labor flexibility on product innovation based on a survey of UK manufacturing plants. Further, we investigate the role of climate for innovation both as an antecedent of product innovation and a moderator that moderates the influence of the interaction of mix flexibility and labor flexibility on product innovation. The analyses reveal that the interaction of mix flexibility and labor flexibility positively predicts product innovation in manufacturing plants. Climate for innovation positively predicts product innovation and also positively moderates the interaction of mix and labor flexibility on product innovation. The implications for theory and practice are discussed.
In the past few decades, the concept of manufacturing flexibility has become a key competitive criterion for many manufacturing organizations. As such, there has been a plethora of studies on various aspects of flexibility including studies on flexibility taxonomies (Slack, 1987, Slack, 1991, Koste and Malhotra, 1999 and D'Souza and Williams, 2000), flexibility drivers, enablers and implementation (e.g. Suarez et al., 1996, Jack and Raturi, 2002, Oke, 2003 and Oke, 2005) and measures of flexibility (e.g. Cox, 1989 and Koste et al., 2004). The importance of flexibility in supporting other competitive criteria such as cost, quality, delivery speed and innovation has also been recognized (Bolwijn and Kumpe, 1990). Likewise, there have been many studies on different types of innovation in the extant literature (e.g. Oke, 2007). Indeed the operations management literature has often treated both innovation and flexibility as competitive criteria. In other words, they are seen as the outcome variables or as operations performance objectives of firms. However, we are not aware of any empirical study that has attempted to link the two. Yet, it has been argued that while a manufacturing plant can attain flexibility state without having to be innovative, the reverse is not true. In other words, flexibility is a necessary ingredient for innovation (Bolwijn and Kumpe, 1990). As such, our objective in this study was two-fold. First, we investigated the relationship between flexibility and product innovation performance. In this proposed relationship our focus is on two aspects of flexibility (1) mix flexibility, which we define as “the ability of the organization to produce different combinations of products economically and effectively given certain capacity”(Zhang et al., 2003, p. 177) and (2) labor flexibility, which we define as “the ability of the workforce to perform a broad range of manufacturing tasks economically and effectively” (Zhang et al., 2003, p. 177). We investigated the effect of the interaction term of mix flexibility and labor flexibility on product innovation. Our second objective was to investigate the conditions under which the interactive term of mix flexibility and labor flexibility will more or less predict product innovation performance. We identify climate for innovation not only as an antecedent of product innovation performance but also as a potent moderator in the relationship. We define climate for innovation as an environment or a culture that encourages creativity and innovation through positive recognition, support and rewards systems. Our study partly fills the theoretical gap between flexibility and innovation. The rest of the paper is structured as follows. First, we review the literature on flexibility and innovation from which we formulated the first hypothesis. Next, we review the literature on climate for innovation and formulated the second and third hypotheses. We then present the methodology, the analysis and results. We conclude the study by discussing the study contributions, implications, limitations and future research areas.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In this study, we investigated the influence of the interactive effect of mix flexibility and labor flexibility on product innovation. Further, we investigated the role of climate for innovation as an antecedent of product innovation and a moderator of the relationship between the interactive effect of mix and labor flexibility in a sample of 136 UK manufacturing plants in different sectors. The hierarchical regression analysis results reveal a positive relationship between the interactive term of mix flexibility and labor flexibility and product innovation. High degree of labor flexibility implies employees that are cross-trained with a variety of skills that can be exploited and tapped to generate different ideas for new products. When different ideas for new products are created, they must be developed to lead to product innovations. The capability that is required to develop such different product ideas into new products is mix flexibility. Our results show that both high labor flexibility and mix flexibility must interact to lead to product innovation. This result represents a contribution to the literature on flexibility and innovation by bridging the gap in the literature between these two key aspects of manufacturing strategy. Specifically, the study's treatment of flexibility (mix and labor flexibility) and innovation as multi-dimensional concepts as opposed to uni-dimensional concepts aids a fine-grained understanding of the relationship between flexibility and innovation. The implication of this result for practicing managers interested in enhancing the innovation performance of their firms is the need to encourage cross-training to ensure labor flexibility and to have the required machinery and material handling flexibility that can convert any new product ideas generated into different product innovations. Our results reveal a positive relationship between climate for innovation and product innovation. Further, we found that climate for innovation positively moderates the interactive effect of mix flexibility and labor flexibility on product innovation. Practices such as recognition, tolerance of mistakes, rewarding innovative behavior create a climate for innovation. In such an environment, employees feel free and able to take risks, experiment, search and explore for innovative ideas that can lead to product innovations. Our results show that cross-trained employees that provide a plant with labor flexibility can generate more ideas and be more creative in an environment that has high innovative climate than one with low innovative climate. In a high innovative climate, such different creative ideas are more likely to be developed into product innovation if the firm has the mix flexibility (i.e. capability in terms of for example, machinery) to handle and develop different ideas into different product innovations. The identification of climate for innovation as a condition under which both labor and mix flexibility will positively influence product innovation represents a contribution to the literature. The implication of this result for practicing managers is the need to put in place practices that encourage creative behaviors including encouraging risk taking, experimenting and recognizing innovative behaviors.