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Critical review of manufacturing strategy formulation processes: Searching for improvements
Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH, Industrial Engineering and Management. (Produktionssystem)
(English)Manuscript (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The process of manufacturing strategy formulation can be thought of as a knowledge management process to address future challenges, thus applying knowledge management on manufacturing strategy formulation. The purpose of this paper is to carry out such an application to identify future research opportunities and improvements in the area of manufacturing strategy formulation.

Design/methodology/approach: The research presented in this paper follows four steps: (1) identify processes of manufacturing strategy formulation in a literature review, (2) define criteria for reviewing the processes found in the literature review, (3) execute and analyze the review, and, finally (4) review key findings by using knowledge management characteristics to identify future research.

Findings: Key findings from the review are applied on knowledge management characteristics for identifying future research opportunities. It is proposed that the content of the manufacturing strategy formulation process contains measures for evaluating learning, that an increased sharing of knowledge between facilitator and participants is encouraged together with increased interaction with inside and outside partners.

Research limitations/implications: Limitations of the research presented here are that this approach has not been empirically tested or verified yet, but the identified research opportunities presented can be explored and further developed. Applying a knowledge management approach on these findings shows that specific future research opportunities put responsibility on the researcher as facilitator of the formulation process as to encourage learning and knowledge to a larger extent.

Originality/value: The knowledge management approach is valuable as it gives the facilitator, or the researcher, a new direction for evaluating the manufacturing strategy formulation process.

Keyword [en]
Manufacturing strategy, evaluation, knowledge management, criteria
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-7256OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-7256DiVA: diva2:216248
Available from: 2009-05-07 Created: 2008-12-18 Last updated: 2010-09-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Formulation of Automation Strategy in Manufacturing Systems: Developing a Methodology for Analysing and choosing Levels of Automation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Formulation of Automation Strategy in Manufacturing Systems: Developing a Methodology for Analysing and choosing Levels of Automation
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the global environment where industrial enterprises strive for competitiveness, the ability to adjust quickly to changing conditions is important. This global industrial context challenges the companies to develop new capabilities. Capacity flexibility is an important measure of competitiveness and one important capability for improving productivity and effectiveness. Available resources contribute to capacity (output) and influence capacity flexibility. Thus, the way resources are managed is important. One way to manage resources within the manufacturing system is to choose resources that are the most suitable for the task performed by adopting task allocation. Task allocation between human and technology therefore becomes central for design of workplaces with optimal performance. This becomes the challenge of automation. However, to make the right decisions on automation and the skills required for the handling of tools and technology is a complex process of decision making for managers.

In the light of this, the objective of this thesis is to develop a methodology for analysing and choosing levels of automation with the purpose to formulate automation strategy in manufacturing systems. The analysis is based on measurement of levels of automation and alignment between levels of automation and the business and manufacturing strategies. The application area of the research is the manufacturing industry and in particular assembly lines or cells because of the mixture of human and technological resources.

As indicated by the objective, the outcome of this thesis is a structured methodology that analyses possible alternatives of levels of automation weighted against competitive priorities. The methodology consists of five stages: (1) preparation, (2) business and manufacturing strategy, (3) estimation of levels of automation for critical subtasks, (4) analysis of levels of automation, and (5) completion. The methodology supports visibility of results. Depending on where the company has its greatest improvement potential, different starting points in the methodology can be applied. Validation of the methodology indicates that usefulness, use, and satisfaction with the methodology can be seen as good.

The issue of considering both humans and technology is critical for the success of the system, as it builds the resources of the manufacturing function. Overcoming barriers in measuring LoA and in aligning resources with market needs is crucial for developing long term automation strategies. Certain criteria of the manufacturing system influence the choice of LoA. Those criteria are production volume and specific product characteristics. Proposed improvements for formulating manufacturing strategy involve a focus on communication and knowledge sharing, introducing measures for learning and knowledge, enhancing interactions between inside and outside partners, and closing knowledge gaps. Those improvements should be seen primarily as research opportunities in the area of manufacturing strategy processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborg: Chalmers University of Technology, 2008. 146 p.
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola, ny serie, ISSN 0346-718X ; 2880
Keyword
manufacturing strategy, levels of automation, task allocation, alignment, competitive priorities
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-8688 (URN)978-91-7385-199-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-11-28, E1029, Gjuterigatan 5, Jönköping, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
Examina som teknologie doktor i produkt- och produktionsutveckling. Examinerande lärosäte: Chalmers tekniska högskolaAvailable from: 2009-05-13 Created: 2009-05-07 Last updated: 2009-05-13Bibliographically approved

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