Volume 4, Issue 2

Shop Floor Planning and Control in Team-based Work Processes (pp. 51-56)

Jan Riezebos
Production planning and control at the level of shop floor operations requires robust methods that are able to cope with variation in processing times, routing sequences, disturbances, resource allocation, et cetera. Nowadays, many organizations have invested in complex and expensive ERP systems, but the applicability of their shop floor control modules still lags behind the required performance and flexibility. Modern production concepts such as Lean Production and Quick Response Manufacturing advocate the use of team-based work processes and simple production control methods to manage the flow of orders at the shop floor. This paper investigates some of the fundamental principles that are behind this type of methods. We start with the concepts of Period Batch Control and Kanban, both of which were developed before the MRP crusade started. Next we will describe some recent developments in the use of shop floor control methods in Lean and Quick Response Manufacturing, such as Polca, M-Conwip, and Work Load Control.

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Strategic Innovation Development Based on Systems Research in a Rural Region (pp. 57-67)

Minna Sarkkinen, Tuomo Kassi
Strategic thinking is required to account for the different dimensions of strategic innovation management. The study builds and analyses three viewpoints of strategic innovation management, i.e. innovation environment, value delivery and innovation capability, in the context of a regional innovation system. The aim is to study how the different dimensions describe innovation situation and development needs in firms and at regional level. The data for the study was collected during 2011 in a remote rural region located in Finland. The logic of purposeful sampling was used in the selection of the 50 firms. Soft systems methodology is applied as a systems research methodology and exploratory factor analysis is used as a method to analyze the three dimensions. The findings of the study identify several factors forming the three dimensions, which may have structural connection with each other. The factors highlight, e.g. the importance of networking capability and marketing related goals of innovation.

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Managing Complex Production System Variables (pp. 69-80)

Kim Hua Tan, Zdravko Tesic
Managing a large number of production variables’ information is a complex task. So far, little is available to assist production managers to manage and visualise variables’ information in such a way that these valuable variables information could be used to support strategic decision making. This research has sought to address this problem by developing a software tool that offers a database, and visualisation function, which shows the inter-relationships of the production variables. The tool was developed based on the Connectance Concept, and has a built-in evaluation module using the Analytic Hierarchy Process to facilitate decision analysis. This paper describes the structure of the software tool and its features. The results of testing and application of the tool in companies are presented. This paper concludes by discussing the implications of this research for managers, and identifying directions for future research.

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A Simulation Game Framework for Teaching LEAN Production (pp. 81-86)

Ivo Da Silva, Ana Raquel Xambre, Rui Borges Lopes
This paper introduces a new physical simulation game framework, which can be used in a classroom environment (for both students and professionals) to help demonstrate the applicability as well as the potential advantages of lean production. The game provides a hands-on experience, focusing on experimental learning, and thus enabling students/trainees to get a deeper understanding of the lean principles. The use of simulation games is not, however, restricted to teaching, as it can also be used to test real-life implementations of production systems. By using the proposed game framework, professionals may have a cheap alternative to expensive simulation software. The game starts out by creating an unbalanced system. Throughout the iterations of the game, lean principles are introduced and implemented in the system, thus allowing students/trainees to understand how lean production can be implemented in organizations. The game elements, design of the initial system, as well as subsequent iterations, are presented and briefly discussed.

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Ideal-typical Competence Profile of Industrial Buyer-Seller Relationship Controllers in Technology Firms – Empirical Evidence from Austria (pp. 87-94)

Bernd Markus Zunk
Customer relationship managers in dynamic technology markets are not able to control industrial buyer-seller relationships both efficiently and effectively without support for two reasons. First, the characteristics of industrial goods and services are becoming more and more complex. Second, the organizational structure of the procurement process in technology firms causes a diversity of management tasks. This requires manifold competencies of controllers supporting the relationship managers. The aim of this paper is to widen the traditional internal business view of controllers by incorporating an external perspective and introducing a theoretical competence model for industrial buyer-seller relationship controllers. To test this model, data from a large-scale survey with 251 respondents from the Austrian technology sector was used. This paper provides the first empirically backed ideal-typical competence profile for buyer-seller relationship controllers. The findings enable human resource managers in technology firms to recruit the most suitable person and to choose adequate qualification programs.

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An Application of Period Batch Control Principles and Computational Independent Models for Supporting the Overhaul Process of the Railway Braking Devices (pp. 95-101)

Branislav Stevanov, Danijela Gracanin, Igor Kesic, Sonja Ristic
The overhaul of railway braking devices is a complex process. It relies on many supporting processes such as spare parts production and supplying. In order for the overhaul to proceed smoothly and to accomplish all the work required efficiently, an appropriate planning system has to be applied. It must be accompanied by good process coordination and integration of all activities. In this paper is presented a case study of the overhaul process, the proposed planning system and integrative information system support.

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