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Supporting Decision-Making in the Design of Production Systems: A Discrete Event Simulation perspective
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0798-0753
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Manufacturing companies are introducing process innovations, namely new production processes or technologies, to achieve increased competitiveness. Production systems design can ensure the fulfillment of process innovations. However, literature shows that the staff responsible for the design of production systems face unfamiliar circumstances, lack of consensus or understanding (equivocality), and absence of information (uncertainty). Hence, manufacturing companies find it difficult to support decision-making in the design of production systems leading to increased competitiveness. One way to support decision-making during production systems design is through discrete-event simulation (DES). However, there is limited understanding of the application of DES in decision-making support, in this context.

Therefore, the purpose of this thesis is to support decision-making through DES in the design of production systems involving process innovations. To this end, the thesis reviews the current understanding of production system design, including decision-making and DES. This thesis adopts a qualitative case study method to extract empirical data from three production systems design projects of a manufacturing company in the heavy vehicle industry.

The thesis offers several contributions. Firstly, the findings identify the conditions of use, challenges, requirements, and activities essential for the utilization of DES during production system design related to process innovations. These important findings are critical for supporting decision-making when manufacturing companies renew their production processes. Secondly, this thesis reveals that determining the conditions of use of DES for supporting decision-making rests on the structuredness of a decision (e.g. its degree of equivocality or analyzability), and the quantitative or qualitative nature or DES models. Thirdly, the results describe four novel findings about the challenges undermining the use of DES including equivocality, uncertainty, and the lack of a structured approach and the absence of resources for DES use. Fourthly, the results reveal three requirements necessary for the use of DES including analyzing information consensus, specifying the activities of conceptual models, and coordinating DES models with the information needs. Fifthly, this thesis provides three valuable findings describing additional activities in the design of production systems related to defining the objectives of DES models, and facilitating a structured approach and the management of resources for the use of DES.

This thesis present a framework that contributes to the use of DES for decision-making support at manufacturing companies. Based on this framework, managers of those companies can supervise formal activities involving the use of DES in production systems design.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Eskilstuna: Mälardalen University , 2019.
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 299
Keywords [en]
production system design; Discrete Event Simulation; process innovation; decision-making
National Category
Engineering and Technology Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-45542ISBN: 978-91-7485-443-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-45542DiVA, id: diva2:1360985
Public defence
2019-11-29, Filen, Mälardalens högskola, Eskilstuna, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Knowledge FoundationAvailable from: 2019-10-15 Created: 2019-10-15 Last updated: 2019-10-30Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Decision Making Approaches in Process Innovations: An Explorative Case Study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Decision Making Approaches in Process Innovations: An Explorative Case Study
(English)In: Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management JMTM, ISSN 1741-038XArticle in journal (Refereed) Accepted
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the selection of decision-making approaches at manufacturing companies when implementing process innovations.Design/methodology/approach: This study reviews the current understanding of decision structuredness for determining a decision-making approach, and conducts a case study based on an interactive research approach at a global manufacturer. Findings: The findings show the correspondence of intuitive, normative, and combined intuitive and normative decision-making approaches in relation to varying degrees of equivocality and analyzability. Accordingly, the conditions for determining a decision-making choice when implementing process innovations are revealed. Research limitations/implications: This study contributes to increased understanding of the combined use of intuitive and normative decision-making in production system design. Practical implications: Empirical data are drawn from two projects in the heavy-vehicle industry. The study describes decisions, from start to finish, and the corresponding decision-making approaches when implementing process innovations. These findings are of value to staff responsible for the design of production systems. Originality/value: Unlike prior conceptual studies, this study considers normative, intuitive, and combined intuitive and normative decision-making. In addition, this study extends the current understanding of decision structuredness, and discloses the correspondence of decision-making approaches to varying degrees of equivocality and analyzability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sweden:
Keywords
intuitive, normative, decision-making, process innovation, equivocality, analyzability, casestudy, production system design
National Category
Engineering and Technology Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-45496 (URN)
Projects
XPRES - Excellence in Production ResearchINNOFACTURE - innovative manufacturing development
Available from: 2019-10-09 Created: 2019-10-09 Last updated: 2019-10-15Bibliographically approved
2. Approaching the Reduction of Uncertainty in Production System Design through Discrete-Event Simulation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Approaching the Reduction of Uncertainty in Production System Design through Discrete-Event Simulation
2017 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The presence of uncertainties associated to the introduction of novelty and significant change challenge manufacturing competitiveness. Addressing this issue, the purpose of this qualitative case study is to examine the uncertainties reduced by Discrete Event Simulation (DES) use during the design of a production system when significant changes are introduced at a manufacturing company. The results of this paper, based on empirical findings from a Swedish manufacturing company, reveal the presence of eight different uncertainties affecting the design of a production system including state, technical, environmental, systemic, temporal, structural, epistemic, and definitional. Empirical results also show how DES contributed to reducing technical, structural, epistemic, and definitional uncertainties. This paper contributes to existing knowledge by proposing a model that aids decision makers anticipate the type of uncertainty faced and the suitability of DES use as an uncertainty reducing activity during significant change introduction in the design of a production system.

National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-39271 (URN)978-3-7376-0192-4 (ISBN)978-3-7376-0193-1 (ISBN)
Conference
Simulation in Produktion und Logistik 2017, Kassel, 20-22 September, 2017
Available from: 2018-05-23 Created: 2018-05-23 Last updated: 2019-10-15Bibliographically approved
3. Challenges of Discrete Event Simulation in the Early Stages of Production System Design
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Challenges of Discrete Event Simulation in the Early Stages of Production System Design
(English)In: International journal of industrial engineering, ISSN 1072-4761, E-ISSN 1943-670XArticle in journal (Refereed) In press
Abstract [en]

This study analyzes the challenges of applying discrete event simulation in the early stages of production system design. Highlighting the implications of new production processes and technologies leading to improved competitiveness, this study provides novel contributions to the understanding of discrete event simulation based on three case studies of the transformation of legacy production systems in the heavy vehicle industry. The findings of this study show that equivocal or ambiguous understanding about new production processes or technologies, and uncertainty about necessary data input and the interrelation of subsystems in production, are critical in addressing discrete event simulation-related challenges. These findings highlight the need for an established process to manage assumptions and simplifications during the design, development, and deployment of discrete event simulation models as a countermeasure against uncertainties, improving manufacturing system design and practice.

Keywords
production system design; discrete event simulation; case study; innovation; uncertainty; equivocality
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-45526 (URN)
Available from: 2019-10-11 Created: 2019-10-11 Last updated: 2019-10-15Bibliographically approved
4. What guides information consensus? Approaching the reduction of equivocality in process innovations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>What guides information consensus? Approaching the reduction of equivocality in process innovations
(English)In: International Journal of Manufacturing Research IJMR, ISSN 1750-0591Article in journal (Refereed) Accepted
Abstract [en]

This study investigates the achievement of information consensus and the reduction of equivocality in process innovations. Drawing on the operations management literature, a new framework to guide information consensus in the reduction of equivocality in process innovations is proposed. The analysis is based on a real-time case study in the heavy vehicle industry. The results show that information consensus is not achieved by a single event, but active work towards this goal is necessary, and a clear set of pre-requisites is needed for achieving information consensus. The concepts of strategic objective, decision areas, and external and internal fit are identified as pre-requisites for achieving information consensus about the purpose, characteristics, and functionalities of process innovations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Switzerland:
Keywords
production, process innovation, case study, equivocality, strategic objective, decision area, external fit, internal fit, uncertainty
National Category
Engineering and Technology Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-43935 (URN)
Projects
INNOFACTURE - innovative manufacturing development
Available from: 2019-06-11 Created: 2019-06-11 Last updated: 2019-10-15Bibliographically approved
5. Simulation-based Optimization for Facility Layout Design in Conditions of High Uncertainty
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Simulation-based Optimization for Facility Layout Design in Conditions of High Uncertainty
Show others...
2018 (English)In: Procedia CIRP, ISSN 2212-8271, E-ISSN 2212-8271, Vol. 72, p. -339Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Despite the increased use of Simulation based Optimization, the design of facility layout is challenged by high levels of uncertainty associated with new production processes. Addressing this issue, this paper aims to understand the conceptual modeling activities of Simulation-based Optimization for facility layout design in conditions of high uncertainty. Based on three in-depth case studies, the results of this paper show how characterization criteria of production systems can be used in conceptual modelling to reduce uncertainty. These results may be essential to support managers and stakeholders during the introduction of new production processes in the design of facility layouts.

Keywords
uncertainty reduction, simulation based optimization, facility layout, decision support, production system design
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-39272 (URN)10.1016/j.procir.2018.03.227 (DOI)2-s2.0-85049552085 (Scopus ID)
Conference
51st CIRP Conference on Manufacturing Systems, CIRP CMS 2018; Stockholm Waterfront Congress CentreStockholm; Sweden; 16 May 2018 through 18 May 2018; Code 137494
Projects
INNOFACTURE - innovative manufacturing development
Available from: 2018-05-23 Created: 2018-05-23 Last updated: 2019-10-15Bibliographically approved
6. Simulation in the Production System Design Process of Assembly Systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Simulation in the Production System Design Process of Assembly Systems
2015 (English)In: Winter Simulation Conference 2015 WSC15, 2015Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Effective production systems are necessary for companies to achieve competitiveness in manufacturing, and the production system design process is fundamental to meet this goal. Discrete event simulation is a tool that can support the production system design process. However, few empirical studies have shown the use of this tool prior to the verification of an already chosen alternative, or an implemented production system solution. There is a need to explore how discrete event simulation can be used in the production system design process. A case study at a global manufacturing company, that used this tool in the design of its assembly system, is presented. The results of this study show where and for what purpose were the DES models used for in the production system design process. This study concludes that DES can support this activity and suggestions for future research are made.

National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-29640 (URN)
Conference
Winter Simulation Conference 2015 WSC15, 6 Dec 2015, Huntington Beach, CA, United States
Projects
XPRESINNOFACTURE - innovative manufacturing development
Available from: 2015-12-10 Created: 2015-11-26 Last updated: 2019-10-15Bibliographically approved

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Flores-García, Erik

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123452 of 5
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Output format
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