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Product introduction process in low-volume manufacturing industries: a case study
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation. (IPR)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5364-8842
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5963-2470
(English)In: Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, ISSN 1741-038X, E-ISSN 1758-7786Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to understand how the characteristics of low-volume manufacturing industries influence the product introduction process and factors which can facilitate that process in low-volume manufacturing industries.

Design/methodology/approach: A literature review in combination with a multiple-case study were used to achieve the purpose of the paper. The multiple-case study was based on two product development projects in a low-volume manufacturing company.

Findings: The main identified characteristics of the product introduction process in low-volume manufacturing industries were a low number of prototypes, absence of conventional production ramp-up, reduced complexity of the process, failure to consider the manufacturability of the products due to an extensive focus on their functionality, and increased complexity of resource allocation. It was determined that knowledge and experiences from prior production of similar products could serve as a facilitator of the manufacturing process.

Research limitations/implications: The main limitation of this study is that the identified characteristics and facilitating factors are confined to the internal variables of the studied company. A study of the role of external variables during the product introduction process such as suppliers and customers could be the subject of future studies.

Practical implications: This research will provide practitioners in low-volume manufacturing industries with general insight about the characteristics of the product introduction process and the aspects that should be considered during the process.

Keyword [en]
Product development; Production system development; Design-production interface; Low-volume products; industrialisation process
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-27843OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-27843DiVA: diva2:806029
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Available from: 2015-04-17 Created: 2015-04-17 Last updated: 2015-04-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Towards tailoring the product introduction process for low-volume manufacturing industries
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards tailoring the product introduction process for low-volume manufacturing industries
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

As the closing phase of product development projects, the product introduction process significantly influences the time to market and product quality. The rapid launching of new products to market aids manufacturing companies in avoiding crucial consequences, such as a loss of market share and revenue and the early obsolescence of products in a globalized market. Therefore, the characteristics and influential factors of the product introduction process must be identified to facilitate the management of new product development projects and to maintain competitiveness for manufacturing companies.

The management and support of product introduction processes in low-volume manufacturing industries require solutions that are tailored to the characteristics and requirements of these industries. However, studies on the characteristics of low-volume manufacturing industries and their influence on the product introduction process are limited. Therefore, the objective of the research presented in this thesis is to develop knowledge about product introduction process and its facilitators in low-volume manufacturing industries by focusing on characteristics of products and production systems in these industries. To fulfil this objective, the characteristics of low-volume manufacturing industries and their influence on the product introduction process were investigated via literature reviews and a multiple-case study. In addition, the facilitators of the product introduction process in low-volume manufacturing industries were examined. A case study was performed, comprising two longitudinal real-time cases and two retrospective cases, all within one Swedish company.

The characteristics of low-volume products and production systems are studied in this research. The identified influences of these characteristics on the product introduction process include few engineering prototypes, limited and uncertain numbers of pre-series productions and the infeasibility of conventional production ramp-up. Other identified influences include the modification of existing products instead of the development of entirely new products, the use of existing production systems with slight modifications for new products, a high frequency of introducing new products, and an extensive focus on the functionality of products instead of their manufacturability.

Finally, the utilization of knowledge and experiences from the development and production of prior similar products was identified as a potential facilitator of the product introduction process in low-volume manufacturing industries. A process was suggested to support the product introduction process in low-volume manufacturing industries in gathering, sharing and using knowledge and experiences from the production of prior similar products. This process can compensate for the lack of opportunities to test and refine products and production systems during the product introduction process in low-volume manufacturing industries. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2015
Series
Mälardalen University Press Licentiate Theses, ISSN 1651-9256 ; 201
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-27847 (URN)978-91-7485-205-9 (ISBN)
Presentation
2015-05-29, Filen, Mälardalens högskola, Eskilstuna, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Available from: 2015-04-17 Created: 2015-04-17 Last updated: 2015-05-08Bibliographically approved

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