Flexible management

Introduction to Flexible Management

Flexible management, in its essence, is a "human-centered" "humanized management", which is based on the study of human psychology and behavioral laws , Using non-mandatory methods to generate a potential persuasive force in the minds of employees, thereby turning the organizational will into a personal conscious action. Flexible management is essentially a new strategy for managing "stability and change".

The biggest feature of flexible management is not to rely on power influence (such as superiors giving orders), but to rely on the psychological process of employees, and rely on the initiative and inherent potential of each employee’s innermost heart. And creative spirit, so it has obvious internal drive.

Flexible management is mainly embodied in the flexibility of management decision-making and the flexibility of reward mechanism. The flexibility of management decision-making is first manifested in the flexibility of decision-making target selection. Traditional decision-making theory believes that the selection of decision-making goals should follow the principle of optimization. In fact, due to the uncertainty of the decision-making premise, it is difficult to make decisions according to the optimal criteria. And if the satisfaction criterion is substituted for the optimization criterion, the decision-maker can make a satisfactory choice based on the information he has, thus having greater flexibility. The transition from the optimization criterion of decision-making to the satisfaction criterion is essentially the transition from the rigid criterion to the flexible criterion. In addition, the flexibility of management decision-making is also reflected in the decision-making procedure. "One-word decision-making" belongs to rigid decision-making, and "group-style decision-making" is a decision made by relevant personnel who independently express opinions and suggestions freely, and conduct comprehensive analysis on this basis, and choose good actions. It can be called flexible decision-making. Another important manifestation of flexible management is the flexibility of the reward mechanism. In addition to material rewards, more attention should be paid to spiritual rewards. It can also encourage employees by expanding and enriching the content of work, increasing the meaning and challenge of work . This has been reflected in some high-tech companies.

The establishment of the concept of flexible management is premised on the transformation of thinking from linear to nonlinear. The characteristic of linear thinking is diachronic, that is, the development of things in a period of time; while the characteristic of nonlinear thinking is synchronic, that is, synchronous transformation, that is, the interconnection between different things in the same period. From the superficial chaotic and complex phenomenon, we can see the natural order of the development and evolution of things, understand the direction of the next step, identify potential unknown needs and open markets, and then foresee changes and automatically cope with changes. This is the task of flexible management. Flexible management is marked by "humanization", emphasizing jumping and change, speed and response, sensitivity and flexibility. It focuses on equality and respect, creativity and intuition, initiative and entrepreneurial spirit, foresight and value control. It is based on information sharing and virtual integration , Competitive cooperation, complementary differences, virtual practice communities, etc., to realize the transformation of management and operation knowledge from implicit to explicit, thereby creating a competitive advantage. "Flexible management" is put forward relative to "rigid management". "Rigid management" takes "rules and systems as the center" and uses systems to constrain and manage employees. And "flexible management" is "people-centered" and personalize management of employees. The biggest feature of "flexible management" is that it does not mainly rely on external forces, such as issuing orders, but on human liberation, equality of power, and democratic management. It stimulates the inner potential, initiative and creative spirit of each employee from the depths of the heart. They can truly feel comfortable, spare no effort to develop excellent performance for the company, and become the source of power for the company to gain a competitive advantage in the fierce global market competition. The characteristics of "flexible management": internal is more important than external, psychology is more important than physics, example is more important than words, affirmation is more important than negation, motivation is more important than control, and pragmatism is more important than recourse. Obviously, after the flexibility of knowledge-based enterprise management, managers pay more attention to the enthusiasm and creativity of employees, and pay more attention to the initiative and self-discipline of employees.


⒈ Flattening and networking of the organizational structure. Organizational structure is an institutional system in which people engaged in management activities collaborate in order to achieve certain goals. Most of the organizational structure under rigid management adopts a linear, centralized, and functional departmental management system, emphasizing unified command and clear division of labor. The disadvantages of these organizational structures are slow information transmission and poor adaptability, making it difficult to adapt to the needs of the organization's survival and development in an information society. Flexible management advocates the flattening of the organizational structure model, flattening the hierarchy, streamlining unnecessary intermediate links in the organization, decentralizing decision-making power, allowing each organization member or subordinate unit to obtain the ability to deal with problems independently, and give full play to the creativity of the organization members. Provide an organizational mechanism for people to make the best use of their talents. At the same time, through the flattening of the organizational structure, vertical management is compressed, horizontal management is expanded, and horizontal management is further expanded to all-round information communication. A network organization will be formed. Teams or working groups are nodes on the network. Most The nodes are equal and non-rigid with each other, and the information communication between the nodes is convenient, fast and flexible.

⒉Flexibility of management decision-making. In a traditional rigid organization, the decision-making level is the leadership and the command level, the management decision-making is carried out from top to bottom, and the members of the organization are the executors of the decision-making, so the decision-making often has a strong high-level subjective color. The decision-making level in flexible decision-making includes the expert level and the coordination level. The management decision-making is formed after extensive discussion on the basis of trust and respect for the members of the organization. At the same time, a large number of management authority is delegated to the grassroots level, and many management issues are at the grassroots level. The organization solves it by itself. The second manifestation of the flexibility of management decision-making is the flexibility of the choice of decision-making goals. The choice of decision-making goals in rigid management follows the principle of optimization and seeks the best solution under certain conditions. Flexible management believes that due to the uncertainty of decision-making premises, it is impossible to make decisions based on the optimization criteria, and proposes to replace the optimization criteria with satisfaction criteria, so that management decision-making has greater flexibility.

⒊Scientization of organizational incentives. In order to fully mobilize the enthusiasm, initiative and creativity of organization members, the implementation of scientific incentive methods is an important part of flexible management. Flexible management believes that incentives are a comprehensive integration of respect, trust, care, and rewards for members of the organization. Incentives are divided into material incentives and non-material incentives. In the implementation, the two should be fully combined. Material incentives are basic incentive methods that can meet the low-level needs of organization members, but cannot play a greater role in incentives. Non-material incentive methods can meet the high-level needs of organization members for respect and self-realization. It strives to create a relaxed, equal, mutual respect and trust working environment for organization members, provide development opportunities, implement independent management, participate in management and other new innovations. Management methods.

Basic role

To stimulate people's creativity

In industrial society, the main wealth comes from assets, and the main wealth in the era of knowledge economy comes from knowledge. Knowledge can be divided into explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge according to its form of existence. The former mainly refers to knowledge in the form of patents, scientific inventions and special technologies, while the latter refers to the embodiment of employees’ creative knowledge and ideas. Explicit knowledge is known to everyone, while tacit knowledge only exists in the minds of employees and is difficult to master and control. It is necessary for employees to consciously and voluntarily contribute their knowledge and ideas to the enterprise to achieve "knowledge sharing". "Rigid management" alone cannot work, but only through "flexible management".

Adapt to the ever-changing external environment

The era of knowledge economy is an era of information explosion. On the one hand, the volatility and complexity of the external environment require strategic decision-makers to integrate the wisdom of various professionals. ; On the other hand, it requires that the introduction of strategic decisions must be fast. This means that it is necessary to break the boundaries of strict division of labor and implement the recombination of functions, so that each employee or each team has the ability to deal with problems independently and the right to perform their duties independently without having to ask for instructions at all levels. Therefore, it is difficult to effectively manage this type of organization by only relying on rules and regulations. Only through "flexible management" can we provide a mechanism and environment to "make the best use of our talents", make decisions quickly and accurately, and be invincible in the fierce competition.

Meet the needs of flexible production

In the era of knowledge economy, people’s consumption concepts and consumption habits are constantly changing to meet the needs of "individual consumers". This is contemporary production. The inevitable trend of operation. This huge change in the production organization of knowledge-based enterprises will inevitably be reflected in the management model, leading to the transformation of the management model and making "flexible management" inevitable.

Forms of expression

Flexibility can be expressed in two aspects. The first aspect is the ability of the system to adapt to changes in the external environment, which can be measured by the degree to which the system meets the requirements of new products; the second aspect is the ability of the system to adapt to internal changes, which can be used in the case of interference (such as machine failure), the system’s productivity Measured by the ratio of the expected value of productivity in the absence of interference. "Flexibility" is relative to "rigid". The traditional "rigid" automated production line mainly realizes the mass production of a single product. The advantage is that the productivity is very high. Because the equipment is fixed, the utilization rate of the equipment is also high, and the cost of a single product is low. But the price is quite expensive, and only one or a few similar parts can be processed, which makes it difficult to cope with the production of multiple varieties in small and medium batches. As the mass production era is gradually being replaced by production that adapts to market dynamics, the viability and competitiveness of a manufacturing automation system depends to a large extent on whether it can produce a lower cost in a short development cycle. , Ability to produce higher quality products of different varieties. Flexibility has occupied a very important position.


1) Machine flexibility When a series of different types of products are required to be produced, the degree of difficulty of the machine to process different parts as the product changes.

2) Process flexibility One is the ability to adapt to changes in products or raw materials when the process flow is unchanged; the other is the difficulty of changing the corresponding process in order to adapt to changes in products or raw materials in the manufacturing system.

3) Product flexibility: First is the ability of the system to produce new products economically and quickly after the product is updated or completely shifted; the second is the ability to inherit useful features and compatibility with old products after the product is updated Ability. 4) Maintenance flexibility adopts a variety of methods to query and handle failures to ensure the ability of normal production.

5) Flexible production capacity. When the production volume changes, the system can operate economically. This is particularly important for manufacturing systems that organize production according to orders.

6) Expansion flexibility When production needs, it is easy to expand the system structure, add modules, and form a larger system.

7) Operational flexibility The ability to use different machines, materials, and technological processes to produce a series of products and the same product, and switch to the ability to process different processes.

8) Flexible manufacturing technology Flexible manufacturing technology is the sum of various technologies that implement programmed flexible manufacturing for various processing objects of different shapes. Flexible manufacturing technology is a technology-intensive technology group. People believe that any processing technology that focuses on flexibility and is suitable for multiple varieties and small and medium batches (including single products) belongs to flexible manufacturing technology. At present, it is divided into:

Flexible Management System

Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS)

There are many definitions of flexible manufacturing system. The authoritative definitions include: The American National Bureau of Standards defines FMS as: "Some equipment connected by a transmission system. The transmission device puts the workpiece on other connecting devices to the processing equipment, so that the workpiece can be processed accurately, quickly and automatically. The central computer controls the machine tool and Transmission system, flexible manufacturing system can sometimes process several different parts at the same time. The International Association for Production Engineering Research pointed out that "flexible manufacturing system is an automated manufacturing system that can produce any range of product families with minimal human intervention. The flexibility of the system is usually limited by the product family considered in the design of the system. "The Chinese national military standard is defined as "Flexible manufacturing system is an automated manufacturing system composed of CNC machining equipment, material transportation and storage devices, and computer control systems. It includes multiple flexible manufacturing units that can respond to changes in manufacturing tasks or production environments. Quickly adjust, suitable for multi-variety, small and medium batch production. "To put it simply, FMS is an automated manufacturing system that is composed of a number of numerical control equipment, material transportation and storage devices, and computer control systems, and can be quickly adjusted according to manufacturing tasks and production varieties.

Currently common The composition usually includes 4 or more fully automatic CNC machine tools (machining centers and turning centers, etc.), which are connected by a centralized control system and a material handling system, which can realize multi-variety, medium and small batch processing and processing without stopping the machine. Management. At present, the FMS reflecting the overall level of the factory is the first-generation FMS. The “Intelligent Manufacturing System” (IMS) international development project implemented in Japan in 1991 belongs to the second-generation FMS; and the truly complete second-generation FMS is expected It will only be realized after the decade of this century.

Flexible Manufacturing Cell (FMC)

The advent of FMC and its use in production are about 6 to 8 years later than FMS. FMC can be regarded as A FMS with the smallest scale is a product of the development of FMS in the direction of low cost and miniaturization. It is composed of 1 or 2 machining centers, industrial robots, CNC machine tools and material transportation and storage equipment. Its characteristic is to realize the flexibility of a single machine. It has the flexibility to adapt to the processing of multiple varieties of products. So far it has entered the stage of popularization and application.

Flexible Manufacturing Line (FML)

It is in a single or small variety of large quantities The production line between the non-flexible automatic line and the medium and small batch multi-variety FMS. The processing equipment can be a general machining center, a CNC machine tool, a special machine tool or a special NC machine tool, which has lower requirements for the flexibility of the material handling system than FMS, but the productivity Higher. It is represented by the flexible manufacturing system in discrete production and the distributed control system (DCS) in the continuous production process. Its characteristic is to realize the flexibility and automation of the production line. Its technology has matured day by day and has been put into practical use so far. Stage.

Flexible Manufacturing Factory (FMF)

FMF is to connect multiple FMSs, equipped with an automated three-dimensional warehouse, and use a computer system to communicate. A complete FMS for processing, assembly, inspection, delivery to delivery. It includes CAD/CAM, and enables the computer integrated manufacturing system (CIMS) to be put into practice, realizes the flexibility and automation of the production system, and then realizes the factory-wide production management, The overall process of product processing and material storage and transportation. FMF is the highest level of automated production and reflects the most advanced automation application technology in the world. It connects the automation of manufacturing, product development and operation management into a whole, with information flow The Intelligent Manufacturing System (IMS) that controls the material flow is represented, and its characteristic is to realize the flexibility and automation of the factory.

Key technology

Computer-aided design

Future The development of CAD technology will introduce an expert system to make it intelligent and able to handle various complex problems. The latest breakthrough in current design technology is the photosensitive three-dimensional forming technology. This new technology directly uses CAD data through The computer-controlled laser scanning system divides the three-dimensional digital model into several layers of two-dimensional sheet-like patterns, and optically scans the liquid surface of the photosensitive resin in the pool according to the two-dimensional sheet-like patterns, and the scanned liquid surface becomes a cured plastic. Such a cyclic operation, scanning and forming layer by layer, and automatically bonding the various sheet-shaped solidified plastics formed by layering together, only need to determine the data, and an accurate prototype can be produced within a few hours. It helps speed up the development of new products and new structures.

Fuzzy control technology

The practical application of fuzzy mathematics is the fuzzy controller. The recently developed high-performance fuzzy controller has a self-learning function, which can continuously acquire new information and automatically adjust the control amount during the control process, which greatly improves the system performance, especially the self-learning method based on artificial neural network It has aroused people's great attention.

Artificial intelligence, expert systems and smart sensor technology

So far, most of the artificial intelligence used in flexible manufacturing technology refers to rule-based expert systems. The expert system uses expert knowledge and reasoning rules to reason and solve various problems (such as interpretation, prediction, diagnosis, fault finding, design, planning, monitoring, repair, command and control, etc.). Because the expert system can easily combine various facts and verified theories with the knowledge gained through experience, the expert system enhances the flexibility of various aspects of flexible manufacturing. Looking forward to the future, artificial intelligence (including expert systems) technology, which is characterized by knowledge intensiveness and knowledge processing as a means, will surely play an increasingly important and critical role in flexible manufacturing (especially intelligent). Among the various technologies currently used in flexible manufacturing, artificial intelligence is expected to be the most promising.

It is estimated that by the beginning of the 21st century, the application scale of artificial intelligence in flexible manufacturing technology will be four times larger than the current one. Intelligent Manufacturing Technology (IMT) aims to integrate artificial intelligence into all aspects of the manufacturing process, and to replace or extend part of the human brain work in the manufacturing environment with the help of the intelligent activities of simulation experts. In the manufacturing process, the system can automatically monitor its operating status, and can automatically adjust its parameters when it is stimulated by the outside or internal to achieve the best working status, and has the ability to self-organize. Therefore, IMT is called the manufacturing technology of the 21st century in the future. A rapidly developing field that is of great significance to future intelligent flexible manufacturing technology is smart sensor technology. This technology is produced along with computer application technology and artificial intelligence, which makes the sensor have an inherent "decision-making" function.

Artificial Neural Network Technology

Artificial Neural Network (ANN) is a method of artificial neural network that simulates intelligent creatures and processes information. Therefore, artificial neural network is also an artificial intelligence tool. In the field of automatic control, neural networks will soon be juxtaposed to expert systems and fuzzy control systems, and become an integral part of modern automation systems.

Development trend

FMC will become a popular technology for development and application

This is because the investment of FMC is much less than that of FMS and the economic benefits are similar. It is suitable for small and medium enterprises with limited financial resources. At present, many foreign manufacturers list FMC as their development priority.

Developing more efficient FML

The demand for FML from factories with multiple varieties and large quantities, such as automobiles and tractors, has attracted great attention from FMS manufacturers. It will be the development trend of FML to use low-cost dedicated CNC machine tools to replace general-purpose machining centers.

Development towards multi-functionality

Further development from pure processing FMS with multiple functions of welding, assembly, inspection and sheet metal processing, as well as casting, forging and other manufacturing processes .

Flexible manufacturing technology is a novel conceptual model and new development trend to realize the future factory, and it is a strategic measure that determines the future development of manufacturing enterprises. At that time, intelligent machines and people will be integrated with each other, flexibly and comprehensively coordinating all the activities of the enterprise's production and operation from receiving orders to production and sales. In recent years, flexible manufacturing has been recognized internationally as a scientific "philosophy" of modern industrial production and an advanced mode of factory automation. It can be considered that: flexible manufacturing technology is based on automation technology, information technology and manufacturing technology. The independent engineering design, manufacturing and operation management processes in the past enterprises are formed by computers and their software. A complete and organic system covering the entire enterprise to achieve global dynamic optimization, overall high efficiency, high flexibility, and intelligent manufacturing technology that will win the competition. As a cutting-edge technology in the development of manufacturing automation technology in the world today, it provides a magnificent blueprint for future institutional manufacturing plants and will become the main production mode of institutional manufacturing in the 21st century. The virtual network is divided according to ports, MAC addresses, applications, etc., which effectively controls the broadcast traffic of the internal network of the enterprise and improves the security of the internal network of the enterprise.

Matters needing attention

In order to implement flexible management, enterprises must pay attention to the following key elements.

1. To meet the needs and preferences of customers is the business orientation.

It is necessary not only to provide customers with goods, but also to enrich the value of customers, so that customers can get more value-added experience when consuming an item. The concept of traditional mass production enterprises is that supply creates demand. As long as it can be produced, there will be customers buying, and the profit of an enterprise is determined by the market and production capacity. Flexible management puts the needs and preferences of customers in the first place. Profit is contained in the needs of customers for goods and satisfying customer preferences. As long as the needs and preferences of customers can be transformed into goods or services, profit is a kind of transformation. Natural result. Therefore, the key to flexible management is to determine how to create a program that enriches customer value, how to solve the problem that customers are concerned about, and how to transform the desire or demand that the customer perceives but not fully expressed into the customer can clearly say "This is exactly what I want" product solution. This kind of customer demand and preference-oriented management is a challenge to the manager's ability.

2, to promote learning, inspire inspiration and insight into the future as the most basic function of management.

The most basic function of management in the age of scientific management is decision-making, while the most basic function of management in the network age is to seek the path and node of knowledge transformation. The uncertain market changes in the Internet age have transformed the core role of management into a kind of commission: to promote learning, inspire inspiration and insight into the future. Encourage, integrate and coordinate the efforts and contributions of front-line personnel, take into account the overall situation with a higher vision, and integrate the new ideas of front-line personnel into the unified strategic framework of corporate development, so that the development and evolution of the company will become a developed An organism in which parts are combined in an optimal way.

3. Take the virtual practice community as the source of innovation.

Identifying and discovering the potential needs and preferences of the market, and grasping the dynamic process of needs and preferences, not only requires a lot of information, but also requires keen insight, wisdom and inspiration. In the network age where the demand structure of the market is changing rapidly, only by exerting all aspects of innovation, can we create an intelligent enterprise and continuously gain new competitive worries. Therefore, establish a variety of virtual practice associations, strive to provide innovative suggestions and solutions for the development of the company, enhance the company's timely learning ability, and make the company a true habit-type company, which is an invincible position for the company Guarantee. The virtual practice community is a "strong-strong" cooperation. Its essential feature is customer-centric, opportunity-based, and a set of clear goals based on agreements.

4. Replace hierarchical organization withnetwork organization.

The organization in the era of scientific management is a kind of golden tower structure. There are too many levels, the channels for transmitting information are single and too long, and the response is slow; the functional departments are isolated from each other. , Information flow is restricted by boundaries, and the information transmission between the upper and lower levels is often distorted and distorted. Each part of the network organization is relatively independent, and the division of each part is a symbiotic relationship, and there is no delineated boundary. Replacing the pyramidal organizational structure with a network-style flat organizational structure improves the efficiency of information transmission and work efficiency, strengthens the mutual communication between departments, increases and encourages the feedback tentacles of the enterprise and the market, and improves the overall enterprise Response sensitivity, so that companies can more quickly seize market opportunities.

5. Take enterprise reengineering as a means.

Enterprise reengineering focuses on the adjustment of business models, which provides opportunities for enterprises to achieve flexible management. Because enterprise reengineering is to determine at a higher level how an enterprise responds to the market, how to identify potential markets and create new markets, and to reposition the role of the enterprise in the market in this identification and creation. Enterprise reengineering attaches great importance to cultivating people's learning ability, with the goal of turning the company into a learning organization and enhancing the company's ability to adapt to the ever-changing environment from individual employees to the entire organization. Enterprise reengineering includes enterprise strategy reengineering, corporate culture reengineering, marketing reengineering, enterprise organization reengineering, enterprise production process and quality control system reengineering.

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