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Implementation of flexible manufacturing systems in Africa: Multiple case studies in the Gambia and Ghana

S. B. Fofana
F. A. Nyarko
L. D. Mensah
G. Takyi


In comparison to Europe, Asia, and America, the African manufacturing sector performs poorly. This is largely attributable in part to inadequate use of advanced manufacturing concepts and technologies, as well as the insufficiently skilled workforce. African manufacturing companies must adopt and implement advanced manufacturing technologies and concepts such as flexible manufacturing systems in order to boost growth and accelerate development in the sector. In this study, we conducted multi-case studies on the implementation of flexible manufacturing systems in the manufacturing sectors of two West African countries (The Gambia and Ghana). Six manufacturing companies from The Gambia and eight from Ghana were chosen. Many of the companies involved in the study are small businesses that specialize in mechanical parts/system production, welding, and fabrication. The findings revealed that the use of advanced manufacturing technologies and concepts, as well as the adoption of flexible manufacturing systems, is extremely low. The results also show that the major obstacles to the adoption and implementation of advanced manufacturing technologies are, cost and, lack of qualified personnel. Companies have agreed to adopt and implement advanced manufacturing technologies and concepts if the opportunity arises. They also require more information on some cutting-edge technologies before deciding whether to adopt and implement them. Some of the other major challenges faced by African manufacturing companies include, high energy costs and unstable power supply, poor transportation network, and, lack of adequate finance.

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eISSN: 2437-2110
print ISSN: 0189-9546