Volume 3 - 2012

Communication Tools for Geographically Distributed Work (pp. 1-7)

Kari Liukkunen, Jouni Markkula
In the current globalized business environment, companies face increasing collaboration challenges at different levels of operation. Economic factors, as well as advancements in technology, have led to the globalization of design and production, which are organized into distributed projects. Information management and communication system issues are highlighted in collaboration within global companies with different branch offices and between organizations in business networks. In this paper, we tackle these communication and collaboration challenges by studying how different communication technologies can support geographically distributed work. We address this question by identifying from the literature the key categories of collaboration challenges and by conducting an empirical, multiple-case study of three companies from 2009 to 2011. The companies consisted of a small consulting company, a medium-sized software company, and a company-driven large R&D project. In this paper, we present our findings concerning the suitability of different communication tools in various working contexts.

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Labour turnover in apparel retail chains in China (pp. 9-14)

Xu Ming, Nikola Zivlak, Marko Ljubicic
The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview on consumption and retail sector in China, with focus on leisure clothing retail chains. The problem more specifically addressed in this paper is employee high turnover rate, which directly negatively influences customer experience while shopping, sales performance, as well as brand image of the retailer. During the course of four months, we have visited numerous retail outlets of four major brands, in six major Chinese cities. The study mainly focuses on the relationship between salary level and employee turnover within the given industry.

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Lean PLM - Information Technology Strategy for Innovative and Sustainable Business Environment (pp. 15-23)

Valentina Gacevska, Ivica Veza, Franc Cus, Zoran Anisic, Nedeljko Stefanic
In today’s process manufacturing environment, innovation is viewed as critical to sustainable growth and business profitability. While innovation is regarded as the answer, the companies can effectively measure the return on R&D investment, have acceptable product success rates, achieve acceptable promotional effectiveness, or have visibility into their compliance risks or operational readiness for new product launches. Companies must have repeatable, compliant and responsive business processes, global ICT information infrastructure that provides a single source of the truth, alignment across departments and solutions that evolve without coding. With holistic strategy and supporting infrastructure, companies can consistently minimize the time to scale, improve product success rates and promotional effectiveness, and enjoy sustainable and profitable growth. The companies must first focus on the needs of their customer, continually minimize time to scale, eliminate waste, drive out costs and improve. These are core concepts of a Lean strategy. This paper will describe how Lean concept with PLM business strategy can leverage Lean with integrated compliance, continual improvement and other PLM best practices to increase the return on R&D investments and provide sustainable and profitable growth for business processes mainly manufacturing processes. The purpose of this paper is to review PLM approach linked to Lean concepts in order to achieve sustainable and innovative business environment with profitable growth.

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Low-Overhead Continuous Monitoring of Service Level Agreements (pp. 25-31)

Dusan Okanovic, Milan Vidakovic, Zora Konjovic
Constant monitoring and verification of the software are required in order to assure the software meets service levels required by the service consumer are met by the service provider. We propose a new XML schema for defining service level parameters. In documents based on this schema we define parts of application to be monitored, which metric is going to be used and what are expected values. We present the DProf tool for adaptive continuous monitoring of software performance, which is based on Kieker framework. The overhead generated by this system is lower then that of the other tools or Kieker framework extensions. The system is implemented in Java, but, with minor modifications, it can be used for .NET applications.

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Competitive advantages of Serbian industry sectors (pp. 33-37)

Dusan Dobromirov, Mladen Radisic, Djordje Celic, Viktorija Bojovic
This paper presents an overview of industry sectors in the Republic of Serbia, with their recent export and import data comparison. Being the country that is proceeding with the EU integration process, Republic of Serbia has to undertake major society and economic changes. In light of those changes, the country has to define its most important industries and to enforce progress within those flagship sectors. In our research, we will present a methodology that examines an industry’s competitive advantage. According to our findings, we propose possible strategic alternatives on the national level in Republic of Serbia, which can be used by Serbian economic policy makers.

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Shortest-path algorithms as a tools for inner transportation optimization (pp. 39-45)

Ivan Beker, Vesna Jevtic, Dalibor Dobrilovic
This paper deals with business processes and productivity improvement in order to reduce costs of any kind, especially by eliminating of the wastes. Therefore, automation of logistic processes is very important, and in this case is the source of reducing one of the biggest wastes of all: inner transportation. There are several models of routes selecting in practice and, the main focus of this paper is to investigate the implementation of one of them - the shortest path algorithms for forklifts routing optimization. By calculating the optimal route for forklifts, transportation routes are shortened and work in the warehouses is reduced. These algorithms can be applied for the other types of vehicles and for the other type of storage facilities as well. Preview of the optimization methods is used for identification of the most suitable method.

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Emotional Dynamics of Student Projects (pp. 47-51)

M. J. Platts
Every student tackling a real problem on location in a company they don’t know faces a series of crises. After the initial fact finding, a blank fog descends in which the jumbled mass of technical and human issues seems incomprehensible and the problem insoluble. In fact, the mind is sifting very sensitively but careful support is needed to help the student keep panic at bay long enough to learn by experience this is so. At a certain point, glimmers of understanding begin to take shape in the fog. Supportive dialogue helps this recognition process. The truth may be uncomfortable and support to develop the courage to say it and guidance to find the diplomacy of how to say it fruitfully for all the team in the company, are essential. The quality of human tutorial support for the student through these stages crucially affects the student’s professional competence later. The paper presents visual models of this sequence, the style of support necessary at different stages and possible patterns of emotional resistance, all of which help both students and staff recognise and gain confidence in the pattern of the process.

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A Chain is only as Strong as its Weakest Link: Managing Change in the Curriculum of Industrial Management Education (pp. 53-65)

Par Blomkvist, Lars Uppvall
In this paper we discuss the process of designing a new Industrial Management Master Program given by the department of Industrial Economics and Management at Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden. The foundation of the IM-master program lies in the notions of authenticity and change. We decided early on in the design process, that our aim was to teach the skills of real world change management and to “mould” our students into industrial managers able to master complex industrial change processes. But we realized that we also had to “mould” our own pedagogical tools, examination forms, and not the least, faculty, to reach our goals. These insights lead us to emphasize a Systems perspective, both in regards to program and course design and in regards to the actual management skills we wanted to teach. The objective of this paper is to present and discuss our explicit use of a systems perspective in designing the Industrial masters program. We have identified four major parts of “our system” where changes had to be made: Premises – Learning activities – Examination – Program management. These four system parts are divided into ten subsections – “systems components”. We discuss all four system parts in relation to our goals to enhance authentic skills in change management.

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Designing an Industrial Management Curriculum, Overcoming Obstacles (pp. 67-74)

Taija Okkola, Tuomo Kassi
The degrees in Industrial Management are often so called combination degrees linking business and management to engineering. They aim to bring out the best of both worlds: to combine the logical, engineering mindset with economical and managerial awareness. Including the essentials and advanced knowledge of several fields in one degree program is a clear challenge. How to choose the essential knowledge and link it in a useful way? There is also a risk that the combination degree would produce just superficial engineers who would not be able to find their place in the world of work. This fear seems to be wrong according to a survey conducted for the graduates of 1995-2002 in Industrial Management at Lappeenranta University of Technology. One of the main reasons for the top-level employment of the graduates may be the smooth slide to the world of work through the master’s thesis. The master’s thesis reflects the whole curriculum and exposes the graduate's knowledge and skills, both in the academy and the world of work.

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An Analysis of Knowledge Areas in Industrial Engineering and Management Curriculum (pp. 75-82)

Rui M. Lima, Diana Mesquita, Marlene Amorim, Gerald Jonker, Maria Assuncao Flores
Industrial Engineering and Management (IEM) is a continuous, flexible and dynamic area of engineering. Its intervention relates not only in manufacturing industry, but also in hospitals, education systems, transport systems, financial institutions, etc. Thus, there is the need to prepare students to the extended scope of IEM and the curriculum has to provide this broad vision. This range of IEM is evident in curriculum rationale. Graduates have to be ready for a wide range of jobs in the labour market. This is a challenging demand to cope with when designing and developing the curriculum. Thus, a selection of a special focus is the basis for the curriculum design process and for that reason the curriculum programs have different emphasis. The aim of this study is to analyse four IEM curriculum programs in Europe based on a classification of courses by areas of knowledge. Furthermore, the relative weight of areas was computed based on courses’ credits. Two interrelated group of areas were used, one aggregated and another one for IEM specific areas. This framework revealed to be useful for curriculum analysis and the results show that the four program curricula have a comparable weight of specialization area of IEM and that Production Management is the specific area with the larger weight in all programs. The results show that one of the characteristics of IEM curriculum programs is diversity in the knowledge areas related to IEM specialization. This study also emphasizes the importance of a structured framework for characterization of IEM programs, enabling benchmarking exercises, and facilitating the dialogue between academia and the profession of IEM.

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