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Flexible Automation and Integrated Manufacturing 1999

ISBN Druckformat: 978-1-56700-133-4



Most manufacturing firms with multiple production lines have the operating flexibility to invest (or divest) incrementally. This incremental investment approach is especially useful under conditions of uncertainty because it allows firms to adopt flexible investment strategies that enhance profit through learning and adaptation. Conventional net present value (NPV) criterion, when applied under conditions of uncertainty, often fails to capture the value of operating flexibility. In particular, firms that invest in Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS) can automate sequentially. Such sequential type investments exhibit asymmetric payoffs that resemble financial option structures. Typically, an investment that is initially undesirable can either be delayed or even undertaken as a sample investment if it would provide opportunities to pursue additional investments after resolving uncertainty. The options approach to decision making discussed in this paper is general and related to the quasi-option concept. In particular, it is interpreted as the value of the gain from taking advantage of more information before making a decision, which and is identified as the value of flexibility.
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