The current uncertain and volatile business context is challenging firms worldwide, leading to the need to be responsive at a competitive cost. This trend is so substantial that it even affects industries traditionally competing in rather stable contexts, such as the process industry. Although the process industry includes multiple sectors with different technologies and processes, these share several aspects that make the industry as a whole distinctive to the discrete manufacturing industry. Based on a literature review, this study identifies and describes trends leading the process industry to the need for responsiveness, corresponding solutions to accommodate the need, and related challenges hindering the industrialization and diffusion of solutions in this industry. This study shows that trends, such as the uncertainty and volatility of market requirements, are challenging the process industry to develop reconfigurability solutions across multiple production levels. The development of reconfigurability solutions is hindered by modularity, integrability, co-ordination and collaboration challenges.
- Process industry
- lean management