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Embedding levels of automation in manufacturing strategy
Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH, Industrial Engineering and Management. (Produktionssystem)
Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH, Industrial Engineering and Management. (Produktionssystem)
2008 (English)In: Proceedings of the Swedish Production Symposium 2008, 2008Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Research has shown that alignment between manufacturing strategy and decisions regarding automation are often of an ad hoc nature, i.e. the support for automation decisions is poor. Thus, there is clearly a need for developing support tools to find an appropriate level of automation for more efficient and robust production systems. The aim with this paper is to present a methodology for embedding levels of automation as part of the manufacturing strategy formulation process. The methodology for formulating automation strategy presented in this paper contains five steps where the chosen level of automation is aligned with the manufacturing strategy. Together they form an automation strategy, which secures a desired direction of the firm and also supports robustness and reliability of the manufacturing system due to the holistic approach chosen.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008.
Keyword [en]
Automation strategy, methodology, strategy formulation
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-7257OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-7257DiVA: diva2:216249
Available from: 2009-05-07 Created: 2008-12-18 Last updated: 2009-05-11Bibliographically 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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Lindström, Veronica

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