The objective is to improve protability and long-term growth and stabil-
ity. In cellular manufacturing, a change in one component of a product
(the heating element of a coffeemaker, for instance) has relatively little
inuence on the performance of other parts or the system as a whole.
In cellular manufacturing, the components are highly interdepen-
dent, and the result is nonlinear behavior: A minor change in one part
can cause an unexpectedly huge difference in the functioning of the over-
all system. With semiconductors, for example, a minuscule impurity (just
10 parts in a billion) can dramatically alter silicon’s resistance by a factor
of more than 10,000. Generally speaking, traditional manufacturing may
make R&D more predictable, but traditional manufacturing processes
tend to result in incremental product improvements instead of important
advances. Cellular manufacturing systems, on the other hand, are riskier
to work with, but they are more likely to lead to breakthroughs.
Remember what Thomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are
capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”