Complexity in engineering design and manufacturing

Waguih Elmaraghy, Hoda Elmaraghy, Tetsuo Tomiyama, Laszlo Monostori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

300 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reviews the breadth of complexity of the design process, products, manufacturing, and business. Manufacturing is facing unprecedented challenges due to increased variety, market volatility and distributed global manufacturing. A fundamental residue of globalization and market uncertainty is the increasing complexity of manufacturing, technological and economic systems. The nature and sources of complexity in these areas are reviewed and complexity modeling and management approaches are discussed. Enterprises that can mitigate the negative aspects of complexity while managing its positives should thrive on the continuous change and increasing complexity. To reap these benefits in the future, manufacturing companies need to not only adopt flexible technical solutions but must also effectively innovate and manage complex socio-technical systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-814
Number of pages22
JournalCIRP Annals - Manufacturing Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 23 2012



  • Complexity
  • Management
  • Manufacturing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Cite this