Also found in: Financial.
flexible productionthe ability to switch rapidly from the manufacture of one product to another. Flexible production is a key element of post-Fordism and contrasts with the inflexible production of standardized products for mass consumption which was character istic of Fordism (see FORDISM AND POST-FORDISM). Flexible production has been made possible by the development of new technologies which allow rapid product switches with a minimum of down time, as well as by the adoption of more organic forms of business organization, by decentralization, by subcontracting, by developing skill-flexible core workforces, and by the GLOBALIZATION OF PRODUCTION. Systems of flexible production help to create the material possibilities for the individual selection/ choice of life style and identity which is held to be a character istic of the postmodernist age (see POSTMODERNITY AND POSTMODERNISM).
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000