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Challenges of Discrete Event Simulation in the Early Stages of Production System Design
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0798-0753
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5963-2470
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation. Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) Södertälje, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7935-8811
Jönköping University Jönköping, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4308-2678
(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 [en]
production system design; discrete event simulation; case study; innovation; uncertainty; equivocality
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-45526OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-45526DiVA, id: diva2:1360322
Available from: 2019-10-11 Created: 2019-10-11 Last updated: 2019-10-15Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Supporting Decision-Making in the Design of Production Systems: A Discrete Event Simulation perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Supporting Decision-Making in the Design of Production Systems: A Discrete Event Simulation perspective
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
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:nbn:se:mdh:diva-45542 (URN)978-91-7485-443-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-11-29, Filen, Mälardalens högskola, Eskilstuna, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Available from: 2019-10-15 Created: 2019-10-15 Last updated: 2019-10-30Bibliographically approved

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Flores-García, ErikBruch, JessicaWiktorsson, MagnusJackson, Mats

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