An empirical exploration of Agile manufacturing for enhanced business performance in Indian manufacturing industry

Date06 January 2020
Publication Date06 January 2020
AuthorRahul Kumar,Kanwarpreet Singh,Sanjiv Kumar Jain
SubjectPublic policy & environmental management,Environmental technology & innovation
An empirical exploration of
Agile manufacturing for enhanced
business performance in
Indian manufacturing industry
Rahul Kumar and Kanwarpreet Singh
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Punjabi University, Patiala, India, and
Sanjiv Kumar Jain
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Ambala College of Engineering and Applied Research, Ambala Cantt, India
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effects of agile manufacturing practices on
business performance of Indian medium and large-scale manufacturing industry.
Design/methodology/approach A survey questionnaire was designed to attain the research objectives.
Agile manufacturing questionnaire was sent to around 500 randomly selected manufacturing organizations
in the northern spectrum of India through e-mails and posts, out of which 154 usable responses have been
received. This study investigates the inter-relationships between various agile manufacturing implementation
practices and business performance measures using various statistical techniques. This paper deploys
GamesHowell hoc test to establish the statistical significance of business performance improvements,
progressively accrued over a reasonable period of time, through holistic agile manufacturing implementation.
Findings The paper validates the contribution of agile manufacturing toward realization of the significant
improvements in various business performance measures such as customer-related achievements, financial
achievements, business-related achievements, operational achievements, employee-related achievements, and
supplier-related achievements. Further, the discriminant validity test has been used in this paper for
classifying highly successful and moderately successful organizations.
Research limitations/implications The paper only concentrated on manufacturing organizations in
northern India. The results of this paper cannot generalize across all the sectors and spectrum of Indian
manufacturing organizations.
Originality/value This paper develops an insight into the strong potential of agile manufacturing
implementation practices in affecting business performance measures.
Keywords Manufacturing industry, Business performance, Agile manufacturing
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
Globalization intensified the competition among manufacturer and fueled the customers to
expect more and more innovative products with superior quality and at lower cost (Dubey
and Gunasekaran, 2015; Thilak et al., 2017; Goswami and Kumar, 2018). In order to sustain
and achieve organizational goals in dynamic business environment, it is imperative for
manufacturing industry to adopt new and revolutionary initiatives (Iqbal et al., 2018). This
situation has motivated the manufacturing industry for casting off traditional paradigms
such as craft production and mass production, and sparked the urgent need to adopt an
advanced paradigm named as Agile manufacturingto meet the implicit demand of the
consumers (Matawale et al., 2016).
Agile manufacturing has emerged as a vital characteristic for successful survival of the
organizations in todays dynamic global markets (Matawale et al., 2016). Agile manufacturing
refers to the capability of the manufacturer to develop products that meet consumers dynamic
demands in alignment with business environment changes, without compromising with
quality. Agile manufacturing is a leading manufacturing approach that organizations exploit to
World Journal of Science,
Technology and Sustainable
Vol. 17 No. 1, 2020
pp. 90-111
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/WJSTSD-07-2019-0040
Received 2 July 2019
Revised 22 August 2019
Accepted 5 September 2019
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
boost their business performance (Vazquez-Bustelo et al., 2007; Inman et al., 2011). Agility in
organizational structure is an indispensable requirement for success and competitive
advantage. The hypercompetitive business environment encourages manufacturer to adopt
agile manufacturing, but it faces significant challenges, such as inefficiency of top management,
slow decision-making process, lack of appropriate technologies, poor usages of information
system in organization, organizational structure and culture, poor relationship formation and
management with suppliers (Hasan et al., 2007). Agility acquisition has becoming increasingly
important for manufacturing organizations and is proven as a profit-generating element in
modern-day business environment. Agile manufacturing generates numerous benefits for the
manufacturing organizations (Hormozi, 2001). Agile manufacturing positively impacts
organizational performance in cost, quality, delivery and flexibility, and market share
(Adeleye and Yusuf, 2006; Vazquez-Bustelo et al., 2007; Gore et al., 2009; Hallgren and Olhager,
2009; Inman et al., 2011; Leite and Braz, 2016; Nabass and Abdallah, 2018). Organizational agile
capabilities have a considerable role in new product development (Leite and Braz, 2016).
Successful implementati on of agile manufacturin g builds cooperation to enh ance
competitiveness (Hormozi, 2001; Giachetti et al., 2003), change in organizational culture to
master change and uncertainty (Gunasekaran, 1999; Giachetti et al., 2003; Ren et al., 2003; Raj
et al., 2014), empowerment of employee (Gunasekaran, 1999; Sharp et al., 1999; Breu et al., 2002;
Gore et al., 2009; Raj et al., 2014) and fosters customer enrichment (Ren et al., 2003; Raj et al., 2014;
Dubey and Gunasekaran, 2015). Dubey et al. (2018) mentioned three properties, namely agility,
adaptabilityand alignment,which enables manufacturing industry to respond rapidly to
uncertainties in business environment and compete globally. Agile manufacturing lays high
emphasis on maximizing the responsiveness to demands of customers in growing competitive
environment and is only possible through the coordination of system architecture and
technology resources in the company. The manufacturing industry has shown huge interest in
the development of agile manufacturing system (Giachetti et al., 2003). Giachetti et al. (2003)
cited flexibility and agility as two structural properties of the manufacturing system that must
be incorporated into system architecture, operating policies, technologies and organization to
adapt to the abruptly changing nature of markets. The remaining paper is organized as follows:
Section 2 portrays a literature review of agile manufacturing and business performance. Section
3 explains the research methodology used in the present study. Sections 47 deal with detailed
analysis of empirical data collected through a survey and its results interpretation. Section 8 is
dedicated to conclusion of the present study. At last, section 9 provides the researc h limitation
and future directions of study.
2. Literature review
2.1 Agile manufacturing
Agility as defined in the Oxford Dictionary is simply Ability to move quickly and easily.Some
researchers (Goldman and Nagel, 1993; Gunasekaran, 1999; Hormozi, 2001; Sarkis, 2001;
Gunasekaran and Yusuf, 2002; Jin-Hai et al., 2003; Saleeshya and Babu, 2012; Routroy et al., 2015)
have pointed out that agile manufacturing has evolved from a number of existing systems of
management and technologies, which include lean manufacturing (Robertson and Jones, 1999)
and flexible manufacturing (Pullan et al., 2010; Thilak et al., 2017). Iqbal et al. (2018) claimed that
agile manufacturing is strongly connected with other systems by stating that lean (TQM and
JIT), along with management, and internal and external infrastructure enablers, are antecedent
to AM,These manufacturing paradigmcan be seen as necessary but not sufficient for an
agile organization. After Second World War, cost effectiveness and delivery time were the over-
riding manufacturing factors owing to incompetence of manufacturing sector in meeting the
high demand (Draaijer, 1992), resulting in mass production, incorporating high automation of
manufacturing system (Goldman and Nagel, 1993). Mass production systems produced large
quantity of uniform products at lower unit cost. Manufacturing world was ruled by economies of
exploration of

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