This paper deals with three concepts of concern to manufacturing management; agile manufacturing, adaptable production and lean production. These are described and compared within the context of the modern competitive situation in Japan. A survey of Japanese firms is described where the concepts are explored through a number of questions concerned with strategy, action programmes and performance measures. Many companies have responded to the change in economic conditions through a modification of their production operations and by changing their cost structure. The results suggest that companies are trying to realise their cost adaptability through agility enhancement activities.
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