Project Management Institute

Managing an FMS project

a case study

A flexible manufacturing system (FMS) is a group of workstations integrated by automatic material handling equipment and controlled by a central computer. A project management approach is usually applied to manage the implementation of an FMS program. This paper presents the results of an investigation of an FMS project throughout its three implementation stages: planning and design, installation and commissioning, and post-commissioning. The study makes the following observations: (1) a long-term manufacturing strategy with stepwise implementation is helpful for the introduction of an advanced manufacturing system; (2) appropriate control procedures, suppliers' management, training and development, and organizational restructuring are crucial to the system's smooth operation; (3) conflicts should be managed with cooperative and assertive attitude; and (4) an FMS should be supported by top management and be improved continuously in both managerial and technical systems.
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