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Formulation of Automation Strategy in Manufacturing Systems: Developing a Methodology for Analysing and choosing Levels of Automation
Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH. Research area Industrial Production. (Produktionssystem)
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. , p. 146
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola, ny serie, ISSN 0346-718X ; 2880
Keywords [en]
manufacturing strategy, levels of automation, task allocation, alignment, competitive priorities
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-8688ISBN: 978-91-7385-199-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-8688DiVA, id: diva2:216263
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
List of papers
1. Levels of automation in manufacturing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Levels of automation in manufacturing
2008 (English)In: Ergonomia - an International journal of ergonomics and human factors, ISSN 0137-4990, Vol. 30, no 3Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The objective of this paper is to increase the general understanding of task allocation in semi-automated systems and to provide a systematic approach for changing the level of automation. The paper presents a literature review of definitions and taxonomies for levels of automation (LoA) across multiple scientific and industrial domains. A synthesizing concept is suggested, including a LoA definition and taxonomy aimed for application in the manufacturing domain. Results suggest that the level of automation should be divided into two separate variables, i.e. physical/mechanical LoA and cognitive/information-related LoA. Further, the idea is that LoA in a manufacturing context can be described and assessed using seven-step reference scales for both physical and cognitive LoA.

Keywords
manufacturing, automation, allocation, taxonomy
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-7253 (URN)
Projects
Dynamo
Available from: 2009-05-07 Created: 2008-12-18 Last updated: 2016-08-22Bibliographically approved
2. Validation of the DYNAMO Methodology for Measuring and Assessing Levels of Automation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Validation of the DYNAMO Methodology for Measuring and Assessing Levels of Automation
2007 (English)In: Proceednings of the Swedish Production Symposium, Göteborg, Sweden, August 28-30, 2007, 2007Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of measuring Levels of Automation (LoA) is to find an appropriate level for balancing the system for achieving high effectiveness. Results from an interview study with manufacturing experts working in the Swedish industry showed that measurement of automation levels is not common, mainly because of unfulfilled prerequisites and barriers to be overcome. This paper forms a platform for fulfilling some of the expressed prerequisites and overcoming some of the barriers to measure and assess loA in manufacturing value flows. The paper provides a deeper knowledge on how to measure and assess the automation used in an industrial setting.

Keywords
Levels of Automation, measurement, validation, methodology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-3813 (URN)
Available from: 2007-10-11 Created: 2007-10-11 Last updated: 2009-05-13Bibliographically approved
3. Linking manufacturing strategy implementation to levels of automation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Linking manufacturing strategy implementation to levels of automation
2007 (English)In: Proceedings of the 14th International Annual EurOMA Conference: Managing Operations in an Expanding Europe, Ankara, Turkey, June 17-20, 2007, 2007Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

When product life cycles become shorter, the implementation must be more efficient. The choice of levels of automation (LoA) may affect the implementation process. According to former work by measuring and analyzing LoA operationally, there are basically four different scenarios for the choice of LoA: (1) high LoA, (2) low LoA, (3) dynamic LoA, and (4) LoA that will optimize performance. Each of these LoA scenarios has its own characteristics related to decision areas and they can be linked to the implementation process and specific issues. A framework for further analysis of manufacturing strategy implementation process linked to different choices of LoA is presented. The observation in a manufacturing context suggests that the three decision areas process technology, human resources, and quality management are strongly related to LoA. The presented framework proposes that implementation issues are differently depending on both chosen LoA scenario and process life cycle stage.

Keywords
Manufacturing strategy, implementation, levels of automation
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-3342 (URN)
Available from: 2007-09-19 Created: 2007-09-19 Last updated: 2015-12-30Bibliographically approved
4. Critical review of manufacturing strategy formulation processes: Searching for improvements
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Critical review of manufacturing strategy formulation processes: Searching for improvements
(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.

Keywords
Manufacturing strategy, evaluation, knowledge management, criteria
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-7256 (URN)
Available from: 2009-05-07 Created: 2008-12-18 Last updated: 2010-09-13Bibliographically approved
5. Developing a methodology based on Value Stream Mapping for the Measurement of Automation Levels in Production Systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Developing a methodology based on Value Stream Mapping for the Measurement of Automation Levels in Production Systems
2005 (English)In: CIRP 3rd International Conference on Reconfigurable Manufacturing: Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, May 10 - 12, 2005, 2005Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

From a production system perspective, both human and technological capabilities, automation, are important for balance and robustness. Separating and standardizing the balance allocation or relationship between theses two is termed levels of automation (LoA). The purpose of this paper is to investigate the use of Value Stream Mapping to measure levels of automation in production value streams and to discuss suitable types of taxonomies for measuring automation. The results of two case studies show that different LoA models can be used when measuring, but preferable is to separate computerized and mechanized processes. A measurement methodology is also provided based on value stream mapping.

Keywords
levels of automation, value stream mapping, production systems
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-8682 (URN)
Projects
DYNAMO
Available from: 2009-05-07 Created: 2009-05-07 Last updated: 2009-05-11Bibliographically approved
6. Choosing Levels of Automation in Production Systems: Finding Critical and Supportive Factors
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Choosing Levels of Automation in Production Systems: Finding Critical and Supportive Factors
2005 (English)In: Proceedings of the 12th International EurOMA Conference on Operations and Global Competitiveness, Budapest, Hungary, June 19-22, 2005, 2005, p. 1593-1601Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Operation and strategic decision making becomes more complex and dynamic related to the performance of industrial companies. In this light, the choice of a suitable and right automation level becomes critical and is a non-trivial decision making process. The purpose of this paper is to present definitions of manufacturing strategy, operational flexibility and automation levels in manufacturing. Further, this paper discusses linkages between process technology life stages, manufacturing strategy and levels of automation. A framework presenting critical and supportive factors affected by the choice of level of automation both short and long term give the basics for designating responsibilities to different categories of manufacturing managers. The choice of automation levels can be seen from and should be considered within different dimensions: (1) process life cycle stage; (2) fit with manufacturing strategy; and (3) organizational level.

Keywords
Manufacturing strategy, levels of automation, framework
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-6086 (URN)
Available from: 2008-05-20 Created: 2008-05-20 Last updated: 2015-12-30Bibliographically approved
7. Embedding levels of automation in manufacturing strategy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Embedding levels of automation in manufacturing strategy
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.

Keywords
Automation strategy, methodology, strategy formulation
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-7257 (URN)
Available from: 2009-05-07 Created: 2008-12-18 Last updated: 2009-05-11Bibliographically approved

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