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  • 1.
    Etxagibel Larrañaga, Asier
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Flores García, Erik
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Approaching the Reduction of Uncertainty in Production System Design through Discrete-Event Simulation2017Conference 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.

  • 2.
    Flores-García, Erik
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Decision Making in Production System Design – Approaches and ChallengesIn: International Journal of Production Research, ISSN 0020-7543, E-ISSN 1366-588XArticle in journal (Refereed)
  • 3.
    Flores-García, Erik
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Supporting Decision-Making in the Design of Production Systems: A Discrete Event Simulation perspective2019Doctoral 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.

  • 4.
    Flores-García, Erik
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.
    Supporting Production System Design Decisions through Discrete Event Simulation2017Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Manufacturing companies are increasingly required to deal with and introduce significant changes in their production systems to gain a competitive advantage. The production system design process is widely considered a means of introducing such changes, and decisions made during design are viewed as critical to its characterization and performance. However, this presents a problem because committing to decisions that involve significant changes implies not only dealing with requirements, products, challenges, or expectations that are different from what currently exists, but also addressing uncertainties regarding both the information necessary for committing to a production system design decision and the actual benefits that can be achieved as a result of these changes. One way to support the production system design decisions in this context is through the use of Discrete Event Simulation (DES). However, understanding of DES use when supporting production system design decisions in this domain remains limited.    

    Therefore, the objective of this thesis is to explore the use of DES in support of production system design decisions when significant changes are introduced. Data are collected through a multiple case study method and DES from three real-time production system design projects at one manufacturing company. All production system design projects studied involved the introduction of significant production system changes for which limited experience existed. The cases and results are presented in three appended publications.

    The findings establish the purpose of DES use when supporting production system design decisions in this context. To this end three groups of DES model objectives are identified: communicating decisions and visualizing results, evaluating a production system design concept focused on operational performance, and experimenting with what-if scenarios while predicting production system outputs. The points of DES use when supporting production system design decisions are specified in relation to current theoretical understanding of a production system design process. Then, challenges and contributions of DES use supporting production system design decisions are identified.

    A framework is presented to facilitate the use of DES supporting production system design decisions when significant changes are introduced. The framework is based on the identification of high-level strategic objectives and relates these to production system design decisions. It defines DES use in support of these decisions and establishes milestones for DES use during production system design. Based on an analysis of the challenges and contributions of DES use, the framework helps formulate the purpose of DES use to achieve production system design decision support. 

  • 5.
    Flores-García, Erik
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Bruch, Jessica
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Wiktorsson, Magnus
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation. Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) Södertälje, Sweden.
    Jackson, Mats
    Jönköping University Jönköping, Sweden.
    Challenges of Discrete Event Simulation in the Early Stages of Production System DesignIn: International journal of industrial engineering, ISSN 1072-4761, E-ISSN 1943-670XArticle in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 6.
    Flores-García, Erik
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Bruch, Jessica
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Wiktorsson, Magnus
    Royal Inst Technol KTH, Dept Sustainable Prod Dev, Sodertalje, Sweden..
    Jackson, Mats
    Jonkoping Univ, Sch Engn, Jonkoping, Sweden..
    CHALLENGES OF DISCRETE EVENT SIMULATION IN THE EARLY STAGES OF PRODUCTION SYSTEM DESIGN2019In: International journal of industrial engineering, ISSN 1072-4761, E-ISSN 1943-670X, Vol. 26, no 5, p. 819-834Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 7.
    Flores-García, Erik
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Bruch, Jessica
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Wiktorsson, Magnus
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Jackson, Mats
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation. IPR (Innovation and Product Realisation).
    Decision Making Approaches in Process Innovations: An Explorative Case StudyIn: Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management JMTM, ISSN 1741-038XArticle in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 8.
    Flores-García, Erik
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation. IPR (Innovation and Product Realisation).
    Bruch, Jessica
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Wiktorsson, Magnus
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Jackson, Mats
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Towards a Reduction of Uncertainty in Production System Design Decisions2016In: Swedish Production Symposium 2016 SPS 2016, 2016Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A tenet of production system design is to increase a manufacturing company’s competitiveness by introducing novel processes, technologies, and products. However, uncertainties exist regarding the actual benefits that can be attained when novelty and change are introduced into a production system. Addressing this issue, this paper explores how manufacturing companies can reduce uncertainties that challenge production system design decisions when significant changes are introduced into the production system. A real-time case study at a Swedish manufacturing company that decided to change its existing product specific assembly system to a multi-product assembly one was performed. Empirical results identify uncertainties challenging production system design configuration, and the activities targeting reduction of uncertainty. To extend current theory, empirical case study data is synthesized with current findings in production system design decisions, and uncertainty reduction in product design decisions. The paper concludes that information acquisition, uncertainty prioritization, project member background, and complexity of change influence uncertainty reduction in production system design decisions. Managerial implications highlight the importance of information acquisition and a structured approach when reducing uncertainties necessary to achieve an efficient and effective production system design. Thus, academic approaches to uncertainty reduction could benefit manufacturing practice.

  • 9.
    Flores-García, Erik
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Bruch, Jessica
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Wiktorsson, Magnus
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Jackson, Mats
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    What guides information consensus? Approaching the reduction of equivocality in process innovationsIn: International Journal of Manufacturing Research IJMR, ISSN 1750-0591Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 10.
    Flores-García, Erik
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Bruch, Jessica
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Wiktorsson, Magnus
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Jackson, Mats
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    What guides information consensus?: Approaching the reduction of equivocality in process innovations2020In: International Journal of Manufacturing Research, ISSN 1750-0591, Vol. 15, no 1, p. 73-89Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 11.
    Flores-García, Erik
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Jackson, Mats
    Volvo construction equipment, Sweden.
    Wiktorsson, Magnus
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    A Virtual Verification Approach Towards Evaluating a Multi-Product Assembly Systems2014In: Swedish Production Symposium 2014 SPS 2014, Göteborg, Sweden, 2014Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Growing operational complexity and higher variety of products require flexibility in assembly. Despite its many benefits flexibility is a complex concept that requires evaluation to harness its full potential. This study uses virtual verification tools as enablers of the decision making process for production system design of a flexible multi-product assembly system. A case study approach analyses a flexible assembly concept for the earth moving equipment industry through a visual and a discrete event simulation model. The paper also discusses the challenges faced by virtual verification tools when applied to the evaluation of flexible assembly systems.

  • 12.
    Flores-García, Erik
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Ruiz Zúñiga, Enrique
    University of Skövde, Sweden.
    Bruch, Jessica
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Urenda Moris, Matias
    University of Uppsala, Sweden.
    Syberfeldtb, Anna
    University of Skövde, Sweden.
    Simulation-based Optimization for Facility Layout Design in Conditions of High Uncertainty2018In: Procedia CIRP, ISSN 2212-8271, E-ISSN 2212-8271, Vol. 72, p. -339Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 13.
    Flores-García, Erik
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Wiktorsson, Magnus
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation. KTH, Sweden.
    Bruch, Jessica
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Jackson, Mats
    Jönköping University, Sweden.
    Revisiting challenges in using Discrete Event Simulation in early stages of Production System Design2018In: International conference of advances in production management systems APMS, Springer, 2018, Vol. 535, p. 534-540Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper presents challenges of using discrete event simulation when supporting decision in early stages of production system design, when significant changes are introduced. It was based on three real-time case studies performed at one manufacturing company during 2014-2016. Challenges in the cases were mapped to previous literature, pointing out discrepancies and highlighting three additional challenges, specifically related to issues in the early stages of the pro-duction system design process. The significant change introduced to the assembly system, and the early phases of evaluation put significant challenges to the use of discrete event simulation and the study points out further efforts needed to support manufacturing companies under change, with an established industrial structure and legacy systems to consider.

  • 14.
    Flores-García, Erik
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Wiktorsson, Magnus
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Jackson, Mats
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Bruch, Jessica
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Simulation in the Production System Design Process of Assembly Systems2015In: Winter Simulation Conference 2015 WSC15, 2015Conference 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.

  • 15.
    Johansson, B.
    et al.
    ept Ind & Mat Sci, Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Bärring, M.
    Chalmers Univ Technol, Dept Ind & Mat Sci, Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Flores-García, Erik
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Bruch, Jessica
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Wahlström, M.
    RUAG Space AB, Microwave Prod Unit, Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Challenges of data acquisition for simulation models of production systems in need of standards2019In: Proceedings - Winter Simulation Conference, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. , 2019, p. 691-702Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this paper, we analyze the challenges in data acquisition for simulation models of production systems based on two cases from the robotics and aerospace industries. Unlike prior research, we focus not only on the challenges of data acquisition but also on how these challenges affect decisions in production systems. We examine this linkage using the concepts of strategic objectives, decision areas, and internal fit from operations management literature. Empirical findings show that for data acquisition to lead to improved production system performance it is necessary to develop standards. Standards should consider ownership of data by different functions within a manufacturing company, alignment of data to performance measurements, and the connection between data, information, and production decisions. Using these concepts, this paper proposes a set of guidelines that facilitate the standardization of data acquisition for simulation models in production systems. We conclude by discussing the managerial implications of our findings. 

  • 16.
    Sanno, Anna
    et al.
    Volvo CE, Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Oberg, Anna Ericson
    Volvo CE, Gothenburg, Sweden..
    Flores-García, Erik
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Jackson, Mats
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation. Volvo CE, Gothenburg, Sweden.; Jonkoping Univ, Innovat Prod, Jonkoping, Sweden.; SPARK, Jonkoping, Sweden..
    Increasing the Impact of Industry-Academia Collaboration through Co-Production2019In: Technology Innovation Management Review, ISSN 1927-0321, E-ISSN 1927-0321, Vol. 9, no 4, p. 37-47Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Increased competition and globalization motivate us to join forces to enhance the impact of the research conducted. Collaboration between organizations with different views can, however, be difficult to manage and needs awareness and skills to meet different expectations. This article will consider both a mutual industrial and academic perspective into the development of action research and, in six research project cases, empirically explore how the impact can be enhanced by considering certain key factors in the research process. How the phases of problem formulation, methodology, and results are managed is critical for the success of a collaboration and, thereby, its impact. Counter-productive forces that could dilute the progress over time need to be considered given that combining practical relevance and scientific rigour comes with challenges.

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