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The development and use of product platforms in single-family industrialized house building
Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH, Supply Chain and Operations Management. Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH, Industrial Product Development, Production and Design.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2492-5393
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Single-family industrialized house building is a trade characterized by a complete predefinition of products with off-the-shelf solutions offered to a market niche. Limited customization is included in the offerings in the form of a modular configuration of predefined components. A high level of prefabrication, often including volumetric elements, enables high efficiency in product variant realization processes, specifically, product specification, manufacturing, and on-site assembly. However, as the current markets are dynamic and often volatile, such offerings do not suffice in securing the success of business. Instead, offerings that include flexible product concepts with lower levels of predefinition and the concurrent achievement of high efficiency in processes using volumetric element prefabrication are needed. In this research, realizing this is characterized as the adoption of high-level mass customization.

The main value of the presented research for the practice is support for single-family industrialized house building in adopting high-level mass customization. The main enablers for the adoption of both lower and higher levels of mass customization are product platforms. The research on the development and use of product platforms has, however, been conducted mainly in multi-family industrialized house building. The differences in the types of offerings and customers between single-family and multi-family industrialized house building, reveal a research opportunity to study the development and use of product platforms in single-family industrialized house building. More specifically, the knowledge gaps include a lack of understanding regarding: the development and use of product platforms from a business model perspective, challenges for the development and use of product platforms when adopting high-level mass customization and support in addressing the identified challenges.

Therefore, the research purpose is to add to the knowledge on the development and use of product platforms and support that enables the adoption of high-level mass customization in single-family industrialized house building. The Design Research Methodology framework was used to plan and design the research. The research was conducted iteratively through four stages named: research clarification, descriptive study I, prescriptive study, and descriptive study II. The results provide an increased understanding regarding the development and use of product platforms in single-family industrialized house building through a coherent description of the product platform alignment phenomenon and the identified challenges when high-level mass customization is adopted. The results also increase knowledge regarding support in the development and use of product platforms that address the identified challenges. This part of the results is twofold. Firstly, an information modelling method is proposed, and it demonstrates how product platform use can be modelled in the design process of single-family industrialized house building. Secondly, the results demonstrate how the design module construct can be modelled using the design assets throughout the design process. To exemplify the design module construct, a configuration of the flexible volumetric elements and the panelized elements they are composed of is proposed. Process efficiency during the predefinition and modify-to-order specification of design modules is addressed. The presented research makes knowledge contributions to the theoretical fields of product platforms, building information management and business models.

Abstract [sv]

Villaindustrin är en branch som kännetecknas av fullständigt fördefinierade produkter med standard lösningar som erbjuds till en marknadsnisch. En begränsad anpassning ingår ofta i erbjudandena i form av en modulär konfiguration av fördefinierade komponenter. En hög prefabriceringsnivå, ofta bestående av volymelement, möjliggör hög effektivitet i produktvarianternas realiseringsprocesser, i synnerhet i produktspecifikation, tillverkning och montage på byggplats. Eftersom de nuvarande marknaderna är dynamiska och ofta volatila räcker emellertid inte sådana erbjudanden till för att säkerställa framgångsrika affärer. Istället behövs erbjudanden som inkluderar flexibla produktkoncept med lägre nivåer av fördefinition och som samtidigt uppnår en hög effektivitet i processer med användning av prefabricering av volymelement. I denna forskning kännetecknas denna realisering av användandet av höggradig mass-kundanspassning eller mass customization. Den industriella nyttan av den presenterade forskningen är att skapa stöd för villaindustrin att uppnå en höggradig mass customization.

De viktigaste möjliggörarna för att uppnå mass customization är produktplattformar. Forskning om utveckling och användning av produktplattformar har emellertid huvudsakligen bedrivits inom industriellt husbyggandet av flerfamiljshus. Skillnaderna i olika typer av erbjudanden och kunder mellan industriellt husbyggandet av flerfamiljshus och villaindustrin påvisar en forskningsmöjlighet att studera utvecklingen och användningen av produktplattformar inom villaindustrin. Mer specifikt inkluderar kunskapsgapen en brist för förståelse av: utveckling och användning av produktplattformar ur ett affärsmodellperspektiv, utmaningar för utveckling och användning av produktplattformar vid användning av höggradig mass customization och stöd för att hantera de identifierade utmaningarna.

Denna forskning syftar därför till att öka kunskapen om utveckling och användning av produktplattformar och stöd som möjliggör införandet av höggradig mass customization i villaindustrin. Design Research Methodology ramverket användes för att planera och designa forskningen. Forskningen genomfördes iterativt genom fyra stadier: (1) klargörande av forskningsuppgift, (2) beskrivande studie I, (3) föreskrivande studien och (4) beskrivande studie II. Resultaten ger en ökad förståelse för utveckling och användning av produktplattformar i villaindustrin genom en sammanhängande beskrivning av produktplattformens anpassningsfenomen och de identifierade utmaningarna som uppstår vid höggradig mass customization. Resultaten ger ökad kunskap om stöd vid utveckling och användning av produktplattformar som hanterar de identifierade utmaningarna. Denna del av resultaten omfattar två delar. För det första föreslås en metod för informationsmodellering som visar hur produktplattformanvändning kan modelleras i konstruktionsprocesser inom villaindustrin. För det andra visar resultaten hur design modul kan modelleras med hjälp av designtillgångarna under hela konstruktionsprocessen. För att exemplifiera ett design modul koncept föreslås en konfiguration av de flexibla volymelementen och de planelementen som de är sammansatta av. Processeffektivitet under produktfördefinition och modify-to-order produktspecifikation av designmoduler adresseras. Den presenterade forskningen ger kunskapsbidrag till de teoretiska områdena produktplattformar, BIM och affärsmodeller.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: Jönköping University, School of Engineering , 2020. , p. 65
Series
JTH Dissertation Series ; 055
Keywords [en]
House-building industry, Modern methods of construction, Production strategy, Platform-based development, Product lifecycle management, PLM, BIM, Engineer-to-order
National Category
Construction Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-50422ISBN: 978-91-87289-58-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-50422DiVA, id: diva2:1461864
Public defence
2020-09-25, Gjuterisalen (E1405), Tekniska Högskolan, Jönköping, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-08-27 Created: 2020-08-27 Last updated: 2021-04-06Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Production of customized and standardized single family timber houses – A comparative study on levels of automation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Production of customized and standardized single family timber houses – A comparative study on levels of automation
2016 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Industrialization of house building implies a higher pre-fabrication level where companies have moved from the traditional on-site to the off-site assembly. Currently in Sweden there is an increasing demand for all types of households and the companies from this construction sector lack the capacity to respond to these needs. Increasing the productivity through automation is one of the ways to address this problem. Nevertheless, introducing automation solutions without the structured analysis of the production system can lead to sub-optimization. In the analysis of processes, obtaining the current state of levels of automation has proven to be a useful step towards the identification of possible automation solutions. Producers of single family timber houses often have different business strategies, therefore their processes can differ with respect to how standardized the products are. The single case study was used as a research method and has the following research question: How different are the processes and current levels of physical and cognitive automation within the off-site assembly of exterior walls in ETO and SV projects? Both assembly lines currently have rather low physical and cognitive automation levels. However, there are tasks with higher levels of physical and cognitive automation in the ETO assembly line.

Keywords
levels of automation, industrialized timber house building, exterior wall, off-site assembly, modify-to-order, select-a-variant
National Category
Engineering and Technology Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-32239 (URN)
Conference
7th Swedish Production Symposium
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Available from: 2016-11-04 Created: 2016-11-04 Last updated: 2020-08-27
2. Prefabrication of single-family timber houses - Problem areas and wastes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Prefabrication of single-family timber houses - Problem areas and wastes
2017 (English)In: IGLC 2017 - Proceedings of the 25th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction / [ed] I. Brilakis, K. Walsh & R. Sacks, International Group for Lean Construction (IGLC) , 2017, p. 837-844Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Industrialization of house building has shifted the activities traditionally done at building site to the off-site assembly. The design, manufacturing processes and on-site assembly in industrialized house building are defined and documented to form a process platform, but these must be evaluated and improved to constantly develop better and more efficient practice. Lean production and philosophy are still not well understood concepts at the shop floor and wasteful activities that decrease production efficiency are often overseen. Current waste categorizations and descriptions seem not to be addressing problem areas and occurrence of waste in prefabrication of single family timber houses. The research aim is to define problem areas that occur during the prefabrication of wall modules, associate them to eight types of waste and identify key problem areas for possible development and improvement. The study was based on secondary data from five case studies that primarily focused on identifying and proposing possibilities for development of productivity. Four problem areas were identified and the future improvement efforts for the prefabrication of single family houses can be placed on developing the processes of the assembly system problem area. The possible future study can aim at quantifying these problem areas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
International Group for Lean Construction (IGLC), 2017
Keywords
Off-site production, Wall modules, Waste categorization, Houses, Lean production, Timber, Walls (structural partitions), Wooden construction, Future improvements, Manufacturing process, Possible futures, Process platforms, Production efficiency, Single-family house, Assembly
National Category
Construction Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-38343 (URN)10.24928/2017/0133 (DOI)2-s2.0-85029597744 (Scopus ID)
Conference
25th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction, IGLC 2017, Heraklion, Greece, 9-12 July 2017
Available from: 2018-01-04 Created: 2018-01-04 Last updated: 2020-08-27Bibliographically approved
3. Product and manufacturing systems alignment: a case study in the timber house building industry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Product and manufacturing systems alignment: a case study in the timber house building industry
2019 (English)In: 10th Nordic Conference on Construction Economics and Organization / [ed] Irene Lill & Emlyn Witt, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2019, p. 357-364Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Purpose

The purpose of the study was to investigate the alignment between current product and manufacturing systems and how it could be achieved.

Design/Methodology/Approach

Case study research method was chosen for the collection and analysis of empirical data. The data was of qualitative nature and was collected using research techniques such as observations through video recordings of processes, documents and open and semi-structured interviews.

Findings

The variation of outer side sub-element of the exterior wall element was found to not be aligned with its corresponding assembly. A hybrid assembly of outer side sub-elements characterised by flexibility and reconfigurability can be developed.

Research Limitations/Implications

The study is limited to the exterior wall element and corresponding manufacturing system. Practical Implications The presented approach was formulated with the aim to be used both for the analysis of existing products and manufacturing systems as well as for the design of new manufacturing systems.

Originality/Value

So far, this is the first study in the context of timber house building where the alignment between product and manufacturing systems was investigated by considering product variety and flexibility of manufacturing systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2019
Series
Emerald Reach Proceedings Series, ISSN 2516-2853 ; Vol. 2
Keywords
Manufacturing flexibility, Reconfigurability, Dedication, Building system, Product platform, Unique product parts
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics Wood Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-43640 (URN)10.1108/S2516-285320190000002037 (DOI)
Available from: 2019-05-10 Created: 2019-05-10 Last updated: 2020-08-27Bibliographically approved
4. Smart manufacturing support to product platforms in industrialized house building
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Smart manufacturing support to product platforms in industrialized house building
2019 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Swedish house building companies currently face many challenges in terms of fluctuating market demand, need for flexible product offering, non-uniform governmental regulations, high costs, and long lead times. These challenges affect both internal and external efficiency of companies. Product platforms have been used for more than a decade in this industry to improve both internal and external efficiency. However, the industry is still criticized for its inefficient and costly process. Smart manufacturing has emerged as means to improve the efficiency of internal processes and the question is if and how smart manufacturing can complement and support product platforms in industrialized house building. The aim of this study is to explore the potential of smart manufacturing to complement and support product platforms in theory and practice in the context of industrialized house building. A literature review and a multiple case study were chosen to fulfill the study objective. In total fourteen semi-structured interviews were conducted in two timber house building companies. The data was analyzed within and across cases using four platform assets for categorization: components, processes, knowledge and relationships. The results show that the smart manufacturing technologies are in both theory and practice mainly supporting the process platform asset through developing vertical and horizontal IT systems integration, definition and digitalization of flexible building systems, and transferring explicit drafting and engineering knowledge into parametric modelling tools.

Keywords
Industry 4.0, smart production, process platform, off-site manufacturing, timber frame
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-43826 (URN)
Conference
Modular and Offsite Construction Summit 2019, May 21-24 2019, Banff, Canada
Available from: 2019-05-29 Created: 2019-05-29 Last updated: 2020-08-27
5. Product platform alignment in industrialised house building
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Product platform alignment in industrialised house building
2022 (English)In: Wood Material Science & Engineering, ISSN 1748-0272, E-ISSN 1748-0280, Vol. 17, no 6, p. 572-585Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Vertical integration of supply chains has enabled industrialised house-building companies to develop and use product platforms. Constant changes in the external business environment, such as customer needs, legal requirements and demand fluctuations, continually compel companies to strategically align their product platforms with market position and offering accordingly. Achieving alignment is often hindered by a lack of understanding of the interplay between the external business environment, product platform, offering and market position. The knowledge on product platform alignment in this industry exists in the literature; however, a coherent description of product platform alignment is missing. The aim of this research was, therefore, to expand the knowledge on the strategic aspects of product platforms by describing product platform alignment in industrialised house building. Empirical data were collected in two Swedish companies producing timber-frame single-family houses. The developed model provides a coherent description of product platform alignment via five alignment modes that group interplays between product platform, business model and the external business environment, whereas identified challenges additionally enrich the description. Formalisation of the product platform knowledge and the changeability of manufacturing systems are identified as two main enablers of achieving product platform alignment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2022
Keywords
Prefabrication; industrialised construction; off-site; building information modelling; design for manufacturing
National Category
Building Technologies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-52143 (URN)10.1080/17480272.2021.1903993 (DOI)000635849100001 ()2-s2.0-85103543183 (Scopus ID)HOA;;1541934 (Local ID)HOA;;1541934 (Archive number)HOA;;1541934 (OAI)
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Note

Included in doctoral thesis in manuscript form.

Available from: 2021-04-06 Created: 2021-04-06 Last updated: 2023-01-04Bibliographically approved
6. Product platforms in industrialized house building – information modeling method
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Product platforms in industrialized house building – information modeling method
2020 (English)In: SPS2020: Proceedings of the Swedish Production Symposium, October 7–8, 2020 / [ed] K. Säfsten & F. Elgh, Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2020, p. 323-334Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

There is a demand on the current markets of industrialized house building for higher product design flexibility and customization. One of the success factors in addressing this challenge efficiently is the formalization and use of product platforms through information technology applications. However, there is a lack of knowledge on how product platforms and their use should be modeled to support the development of information technology applications. The aim of this paper is therefore, to increase the knowledge on information modeling of product platforms and their use in the industrialized house building design process. The available information modeling methods were identified and analyzed using literature review while considering the contextual criteria of industrialized house building. An information modelling method for product platforms and their use in the industrialized house building design process is proposed. The information modeling rationale is synthesized using the design platform modeling and the information delivery manual modeling. The former is a PLM-oriented while the latter is a BIM-oriented information modeling method. The proposed information modeling method is composed of three parts: product platform information model, process maps and exchange requirement specification. Future work should aim for the validation of the proposed information modeling method by application on empirical data in a case study.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2020
Series
Advances in Transdisciplinary Engineering, ISSN 2352-751X, E-ISSN 2352-7528 ; 13
Keywords
PLM, BIM, building information management, product lifecycle management, mass customization
National Category
Building Technologies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-50421 (URN)10.3233/ATDE200170 (DOI)2-s2.0-85098636518 (Scopus ID)978-1-64368-146-7 (ISBN)978-1-64368-147-4 (ISBN)
Conference
9th Swedish Production Symposium (SPS), 6-9 October, 2020, Jönköping, Sweden
Note

Online conference due to COVID-19. 

Available from: 2020-08-27 Created: 2020-08-27 Last updated: 2021-01-13Bibliographically approved
7. Configuration of flexible volumetric elements using product platforms: Information modeling method and a case study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Configuration of flexible volumetric elements using product platforms: Information modeling method and a case study
2021 (English)In: Automation in Construction, ISSN 0926-5805, E-ISSN 1872-7891, Vol. 126, article id 103661Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Industrialized house building companies producing single-family housing must efficiently respond to customer needs and contingent requirements during product specification. These are the incentives for the adoption of high-level mass customization, addressed in this research, by exploring the information modeling of product platform use. Knowledge contributions are made through a proposed information modeling method and its application in a case study. The proposed method is a synthesis between the design platform and product-oriented information delivery manual. The scope of the information delivery manual is expanded from building systems to product platforms. Moreover, the design process is considered during both product predefinition and product specification. The theoretical construct of design modules is used to describe flexible volumetric elements and thereby apply the proposed information modeling method in a case study. The research demonstrates how design modules can be modeled using design assets throughout the design process of single-family industrialized house building.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2021
Keywords
Prefabrication, Predefinition, Design phase, Design platform, Information delivery manual, Building information modeling, Product lifecycle management
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-50420 (URN)10.1016/j.autcon.2021.103661 (DOI)000649687900003 ()2-s2.0-85102902706 (Scopus ID)HOA;;1461750 (Local ID)HOA;;1461750 (Archive number)HOA;;1461750 (OAI)
Funder
Knowledge Foundation, 20130245
Note

Included in thesis in manuscript form.

Available from: 2020-08-27 Created: 2020-08-27 Last updated: 2021-06-11Bibliographically approved

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