Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

3-2004

Abstract

Biological cells run complicated and sophisticated production systems. The study of the cell's production technology provides us with insights that are potentially useful in industrial manufacturing. When comparing cell metabolism with manufacturing techniques in industry, we find some striking commonalities, but also some important differences. Like today's well-run factories, the cell operates a very lean production system, assures quality at the source, and uses component commonality to simplify production. While we can certainly learn from how the cell accomplishes these parallels, it is even more interesting to look at how the cell operates differently. In biological cells, all products and machines are built from a small set of common building blocks that circulate in local recycling loops. Production equipment is added, removed, or renewed instantly when needed. The cell's manufacturing unit is highly autonomous and reacts quickly to a wide range of changes in the local environment. Although this organic production system is very different from existing manufacturing systems, some of its principles are applicable to manufacturing, and indeed, a few can even be seen emerging today. Thus, the organic production system can be viewed as a possible scenario for the future of manufacturing.

Keywords

Bionics, Local production, Manufacturing strategy, Organic production, Part commonality, Recycling, Volume flexibility

Discipline

Business | Operations and Supply Chain Management | Technology and Innovation

Research Areas

Operations Management

Publication

Manufacturing and Service Operations Management

Volume

6

Issue

2

First Page

115

Last Page

132

ISSN

1523-4614

Identifier

10.1287/msom.1030.0033

Publisher

INFORMS

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1287/msom.1030.0033

Share

COinS