Most of previous research on manufacturing flexibility has been conceptual by nature and finalized to build analytical models and only a small percentage of the studies have focused on empirical observations of actual industrial practice. In this study, we applied a DEA-based methodology to identify small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that operate on the frontier of manufacturing flexibility practice. Data were obtained via a questionnaire survey that considered seven basic dimensions of manufacturing flexibility. Subsequently, discriminant analysis was carried out to delineate which contextual factors and managerial aspects characterize the firms that have reached the "best practice" status. Finally, on-site investigation was carried out with the "excellent" firms to better delineate their organizational and strategic profile.
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