Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

Published by Emerald

Print ISSN: 1741-038X


Figure 1. Chronology of Decision-events 
Figure 2. Succession of products 
Figure 3. Reconstitution of Product Design history, from product concept WPM to product concept KR 
Figure 4. Domain-knowledge explored by the firm 
Creating Products in the Absence of Markets: A Robust Design Approach
  • Article
  • Full-text available

March 2008


404 Reads


Philippe Silberzahn
Purpose The purpose of this study is to examine how firms deal with a situation of true uncertainty about their potential markets and technologies. Specifically, it asks how firms can create products when the corresponding market does not exist. Design/methodology/approach This paper is based on a longitudinal study of a high‐tech firm, combined with analysis of existing theory in product design and entrepreneurship. Findings Markets and products are usually a defining choice made early on by firms in their strategic process. Such a choice guides their development by providing a “stable concept” to which decisions can be related. When markets do not exist yet, however, this approach is not effective. Early choice of products and markets limits firms' flexibility by constraining their ability and willingness to adapt, while fundamental new technical and market information is likely to emerge during the project that will prove the initial assumptions wrong. The paper shows an alternative approach where products and markets actually result from a generic process of products and markets exploration driven by the firm. It is suggested that this approach forms a robust design in that it allows the firm to deal with the uncertainty by simultaneously developing its products and exploring markets, while preserving the flexibility to adapt to the changing environment. Practical implications The practical implication of this paper is to suggest an alternative approach to deliberate planning in high‐tech ventures. With this approach, rather than markets and products, strategy defines a market and technology exploration process. Originality/value The paper is original in three ways. It links the product design and market exploration processes in high‐tech firm development; it is based on an in‐depth longitudinal study; and it results from an academic‐practitioner collaborative work.

Multi-agent architecture for supply chain management

December 2004


121 Reads

The purpose of this paper is to propose a new approach for the supply chain management. This approach is based on the virtual enterprise paradigm and the usage of multi‐agent concept. The base component of our approach is a virtual enterprise node (VEN). The supply chain is viewed as a set of tiers (corresponding to the levels of production), in which each partner of the supply chain (VEN) is in relation with several customers and suppliers. Each VEN belongs to one tier. The main customer gives global objectives (quantity, cost and delay) to the supply chain. The mediator agent (MA) is in charge to manage the supply chain in order to respect those objectives as global level. Those objectives are taking over to negotiator agent at the tier level (NAT). This architecture allows supply chains management which is completely transparent seen from simple enterprise of the supply chain. The use of multi‐agent system allows physical distribution of the decisional system. Moreover, the hierarchical organizational structure with a decentralized control guarantees, at the same time, the autonomy of each entity and the whole flexibility.

The Lead Factory Concept: Benefiting from an Efficient Knowledge Transfer

January 2010


2,200 Reads

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to compare two distinct network structures to determine and show which structure is more profitable. Specifically, it aims to show which factors render the lead factory concept advantageous. Design/methodology/approach – Based on a simple, two-stage model for prototype and serial production, the authors highlight factors that determine the relative advantages and disadvantages of the lead factory concept in comparison to an archetype network. The archetype network mirrors those networks that have not implemented special strategic plant roles. Findings – The analysis shows that the lead factory concept benefits from an efficient knowledge transfer. Particularly, it is more profitable than the archetype network under the following conditions: there are a high number of production plants; the adaptation costs for implementing the transferred prototype from the lead factory to the plant are low; the manufacturing costs for the prototype are high; and the manufacturing processes are not highly specific or knowledge intensive. Originality/value – The paper enables better understanding of the conditions under which the lead factory concept is advantageous for transferring knowledge within an intra-firm network.

Impact of Reducing Uncertainty in European Supply Chains

January 2007


85 Reads

In this chapter, we show that reducing supply chain uncertainty increases responsiveness and thereby benefits bottom line performance as assessed via total cycle time reduction. This positive effect we term the uncertainty reduction principle. As the key enabler, we use the uncertainty circle to focus on the sources to be eliminated. We also show that these sources of uncertainty can react and magnify in a flywheel effect caused by poor value stream management. A supply chain audit methodology is described for identifying and codifying uncertainty. Our proposition is that smooth material flow leads to and statistically correlates with uncertainty reduction. Examples are given of good real-world supply chain practices thereby identified. Transferability of the uncertainty reduction principle is assured by establishing readily assimilated “best practice” guidelines via the study of “exemplar” operating characteristics.

Figure 1. Analogy between manufacturing and mechanical systems
Figure 2. Sand cone model of deep leadership
A study of technology adoption in manufacturing firms

February 2012


5,307 Reads

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to study the effect of technology adoption on operational competitiveness by taking an example from international manufacturing companies. Design/methodology/approach This paper develops a conceptual model to generate strategic flexibility and benefit for a manufacturing firm by managing manufacturing strategy and technology adoption with different leadership roles. Findings The results show that the leadership role is a significant factor to motivate strategic flexibility and generate higher benefit. For intellectuals, the mechanism provides a new approach to explicate technology adoption in a manufacturing company. Besides, it provides a deep‐rooted preliminary point for supplementary empirical assessment. The mechanism facilitates managers to expand their understanding of the leadership role for trust building and knowledge sharing in manufacturing firms. Practical implications With that enhanced understanding, the managers can spotlight their actions, which help further to perk up their firm's competitiveness provoked by supporting the knowledge sharing activities through appropriate leadership roles. Originality/value The mechanism developed in this study is believed to be the first sober effort to provide a deeper theoretical understanding of trust building for improving operational competitiveness in manufacturing firms with a practical approach.

Figure 1: Producing spare parts on demand from a regional distribution center However, as long as the number of parts suitable for rapid manufacturing are few it is necessary to combine centralized warehousing and centralized rapid manufacturing. The challenge is reducing inventory holding of slow moving parts while at the same time keeping the investments in rapid manufacturing capacity well utilized. Operating a number of rapid manufacturing machines in the same centralized location is more efficient than distributing machines between many locations (Wohlers and Grimm, 2002b). The reason is the need for
Rapid manufacturing in the spare parts supply chain: Alternative approaches to capacity deployment

January 2010


6,394 Reads

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to describe and evaluate the potential approaches to introduce rapid manufacturing (RM) in the spare parts supply chain. Design/methodology/approach - Alternative conceptual designs for deploying RM technology in the spare parts supply chain were proposed. The potential benefits are illustrated for the aircraft industry. The general feasibility was discussed based on literature. Findings - The potential supply chain benefits in terms of simultaneously improved service and reduced inventory makes the distributed deployment of RM very interesting for spare parts supply. However, considering the trade-offs affecting deployment it is proposed that most feasible is centralized deployment by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), or deployment close to the point of use by generalist service providers of RM. Research limitations/implications - The limited part range that is currently possible to produce using the technology means that a RM-based service supply chain is feasible only in very particular situations. Practical implications - OEMs should include the consideration of RM in their long-term service supply chain development. Originality/value - The paper identifies two distinct approaches for deploying RM in the spare parts supply chain.

Outsourcing strategies for radical innovations: Does industry clockspeed make a difference?

December 2005


67 Reads

Purpose â–“ To determine whether or not clockspeed is an important variable in outsourcing strategies throughout the development of radical innovations. Design/methodology/approach â–“ An internet-based survey of manufacturing firms from all over the world. Findings â–“ An industry's clockspeed does not play a significant role in the success or failure of a particular outsourcing strategy for a radical innovation. Research limitations/implications â–“ Conclusions from earlier research in this area are not necessarily industry-specific. Practical implications â–“ Lessons learned via previous investigations about the computer industry need not be confined to that sector. Vertical integration may be a more robust outsourcing strategy when developing a radical innovation in industries of all clockspeeds. Originality/value â–“ Previous research efforts in this field focused on a single technology jump, but this approach may have overlooked a potentially important variable: industry clockspeed. Thus, this investigation explores whether clockspeed is an important factor.

An investigation of Turkish companies for enterprise resource management

January 2004


74 Reads

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a game plan for planning and monitoring all of the resources of a manufacturing company. It has been recognized as an effective management system leading to excellent planning and scheduling capability and significant improvements in productivity. It also provides dramatic increases in customer service, much higher inventory turns, and greater reduction in materials costs. The enterprise resource management (ERM) organizational assessment checklist provides a simple and practical reference to determine whether companies are ready for today's competitive business environment. In this study, the checklist has been surveyed within the companies using ERP systems through a questionnaire. The survey data were analyzed to determine whether the companies (using ERP software) in Turkey are ready to implement ERM..

A Petri Net Model of Process Platform-based Production Configuration.

January 2009


32 Reads

Purpose The purpose of this paper is twofold. In view of the importance of process platform‐based production configuration (PPbPC) in sustaining product family production efficiency, it is to study the underlying logic for configuring production processes for a product family based on a process platform. Second, it is to apply the Petri nets (PNs) techniques to model PPbPC, in attempting to shed light on the underlying logic. Design/methodology/approach The authors first identify the fundamental issues in PPbPC, including variety handling, process variation accommodation, configuration at different abstraction levels, and constraint satisfaction. To accommodate the corresponding modelling difficulties, the authors develop a formalism of hierarchical colored timed PNs (HCTPNs) based on the principles of hierarchical PNs, timed PNs, and colored PNs. In the formalism, three types of nets together with a system of HCTPNs are defined to address the modelling of PPbPC. Findings Applying HCTPNs to vibration motors' case has revealed the logic of specifying complete production processes of final products at different levels of abstraction to achieve production configuration. The preliminary results also further demonstrate the feasibility of modelling PPbPC based on HCTPNs. Research limitations/implications Traditional approaches to planning production processes for individual products may limit production performance improvement when companies need to timely produce a high variety of customized products. Systematic methods should be developed to plan production processes for product families so as to achieve production efficiency while utilizing the existing manufacturing resources. Originality/value By integrating the advantages of existing PN techniques, the HCTPNs formalism is developed to shed light on planning production processes for product families. The resulting production configuration model can facilitate practitioners to achieve production efficiency in producing large numbers of customized products.

A decision support system for machine tool selection

January 2004


358 Reads

Globalization of business, the worldwide competitive economy and the decrease in product life force companies to use new equipments that are continuously introduced to the market with the advances in technology. An improper selection can negatively affect productivity, precision, flexibility and company's responsive manufacturing capabilities. Thus, selecting the most suitable machine from the increasing number of available machines can be highly demanding. A decision support system is developed for the selection of machine tools. It will guide the selection process and help a decision maker solve the selection problem. Multi-criteria weighted average is used in decision-making process to rank the machines evaluated with respect to several criteria. The method is demonstrated with an example.

Figure 1. Worker commitment and site lean implementation  
Building a high-commitment lean culture

June 2011


3,329 Reads

Purpose The characteristics of successful lean operations make a committed workforce a necessity. However, there is an ongoing debate over whether lean characteristics inherently enhance or impede commitment. The purpose of this paper is to help settle the debate, as well as provide insights into the role specific work practices play. Design/methodology/approach Based on responses from 1,391 workers at 21 lean sites, the authors examined the relationship between the degree of lean implementation and worker commitment; as well as the commitment effects of 21 lean work practices. Findings The paper examines relationships between worker commitment and lean production, sheds light on the lean commitment debate and provides guidance for designing lean systems that complement high‐commitment work practices. Practical implications The results will be of value to readers with interests in operations, human resources and high‐performance work practices, as well as the management and implementation of lean and its associated practices. Originality/value The study described in the paper is unique in that it establishes a statistically valid relationship between lean production and worker commitment and associated work practices.

Figure 3. Example of alternatives scores with time
Dynamic analytic hierarchy process: AHP method adapted to a changing environment

April 2014


490 Reads

Purpose – Actual situations evidence how adopted decisions can change the decision constraints of the system where the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) is being applied. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to provide a dynamic view of the AHP method, considering the criteria and alternatives as temporary variables and finally obtaining not only one good choice for a specific moment but a more comprehensive picture of those alternatives resulting more important for the business, according to strategy and over time. Design/methodology/approach – With this purpose this paper starts with a short literature review and the general characteristics of the AHP method. Afterwards, the paper presents the problem that appears frequently in actual situations which justify the development of this research. Once described, the uncertainty appeared after the AHP implementation, the proposed methodology called dynamic analytic hierarchy process (DAHP) is presented. Findings – Finally, this paper shows a case study and concludes with the main points of the research suggesting applications and further extensions. Originality/value – The value of this paper is the description of a DAHP as a tool that can facilitate decision making related to some of the critical aspects in maintenance or post-sales area, permitting the alignment of actions with the business’ objectives.

Advanced manufacturing technology adoption in developing countries: The role of buyer-supplier relationships

October 2009


1,932 Reads

Purpose Developing countries are heavily dependent on the resources and commitment of foreign providers to ensure successful adoption of advanced manufacturing technology (AMT). The purpose of this paper is to describe the important role of buyer‐supplier relationships (BSRs) in the process of technology selection, acquisition and implementation. Design/methodology/approach A survey of 147 Malaysian manufacturing firms is the main instrument used in the research investigations and data analysis is carried out by the structured equation modelling (SEM) technique. In particular, the authors examine the impact on performance of different patterns of relationship between technology buyers and suppliers. Findings Although the majority of the firms reported improvements in their performance since the acquisition of AMT, closer investigation reveals that those demonstrating a closer relationship with their suppliers are more likely to achieve higher levels of technology and implementation performance (IP) than those that do not. Research limitations/implications The paper only assesses the strength of BSR from the buyers' perspective and they may have limited experience of acquisition, whereas suppliers may have more experience of selling AMT. Also, the research is undertaken in Malaysia and the findings may be different in other countries, especially where the technology being acquired is not imported but sourced locally. Practical implications The findings relating to BSR, technology acquisition and IP have important implications both for customers and supplier firms as well as for industrial policy makers in developing countries. Originality/value The result of the research provides useful insights that are especially pertinent to an improved understanding of BSRs in the procurement of capital equipment, about which the current research literature is limited.

Designing a support system for aerospace maintenance supply chains

February 2007


479 Reads

Purpose – To develop a systems strategy for supply chain management in aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO). Design/methodology/approach – A standard systems development methodology has been followed to produce a process model (i.e. the AMSCR model); an information model (i.e. business rules) and a computerised information management capability (i.e. automated optimisation). Findings – The proof of concept for this web-based MRO supply chain system has been established through collaboration with a sample of the different types of supply chain members. The proven benefits comprise new potential to minimise the stock holding costs of the whole supply chain whilst also minimising non-flying time of the aircraft that the supply chain supports. Research limitations/implications – The scale of change needed to successfully model and automate the supply chain is vast. This research is a limited-scale experiment intended to show the power of process analysis and automation, coupled with strategic use of management science techniques, to derive tangible business benefit. Practical implications – This type of system is now vital in an industry that has continuously decreasing profit margins; which in turn means pressure to reduce servicing times and increase the mean time between them. Originality/value – Original work has been conducted at several levels: process, information and automation. The proof-of-concept system has been applied to an aircraft MRO supply chain. This is an area of research that has been neglected, and as a result is not well served by current systems solutions.

Environmental sustainability in logistics and freight transportation: A literature review and research agenda

July 2014


1,949 Reads

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to categorise the research on environmental sustainability in logistics and transportation on the basis of the main themes and study methods and proposes directions for future research. Design/methodology/approach – The review is based on 72 papers published from 1994 to 2011 in international peer-reviewed journals. The academic papers were analysed and categorised according to both their defining characteristics (i.e. year of publication, journal title, regions addressed, and research methodology adopted) and the themes tackled. Five key themes were examined: sustainability initiatives, reasons for adoption, benefits achieved following adoption, critical issues and barriers to adoption, and the evaluation and measurement of environmental initiatives. Findings – While many studies have addressed the issue of environmental sustainability within the supply chain as a whole, papers focusing specifically on environmental sustainability within logistics and freight transportation are fewer and relatively more recent. Although researchers have started to examine the decision-making process involved in environmental sustainability adoption in recent years, many themes, such as sustainability evaluation and measurement, and the level of adoption of sustainability initiatives in the context of the third-party logistics (3PL) industry are under-represented in the literature. As far as the methodology is concerned, our review revealed that many articles are either conceptual papers or empirical studies (i.e. mostly based on surveys or case studies), while simulation and analytical modelling have rarely been addressed. Research limitations/implications – While efforts were made to be all-inclusive, some research efforts may have inadvertently been omitted. However, the authors believe that this review provides an accurate representation of the body of research on environmental sustainability in logistics and transportation published during the specified timeframe, and that the resulting assessments are reliable. Originality/value – The paper offers a guide to the previous research on this topic and identifies the most important issues that need to be addressed in future research.

An Empirical Study of Green Supply Chain Management Practices Amongst UK Manufacturers

February 2009


1,017 Reads

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent and nature of greening the supply chain (SC) in the UK manufacturing sector; and the factors that influence the breadth and depth of this activity. Design/methodology/approach Based on the findings from a sample of manufacturing organisations drawn from the membership of The Chartered Institute for Purchasing and Supply. Data are collected using a questionnaire, piloted and pre‐tested before distribution with responses from 60 manufacturing companies. Findings On average manufacturers perceive the greatest pressure to improve environmental performance through legislation and internal drivers (IDs). The least influential pressures are related to societal drivers and SC pressures from individual customers. Green supply chain management (GSCM) practices amongst this “average” group of UK manufacturing organisations are focusing on internal, higher risk, descriptive activities, rather than proactive, external engagement processes. Environmental attitude (EA) is a key predictor of GSCM activity and those organisations that have a progressive attitude are also operationally very active. EA shows some relationship to legislative drivers but other factors are also influential. Operational activity may also be moderated by organisational contingencies such as risk, size, and nationality. Research limitations/implications The main limitation to this paper is the relatively small manufacturing sample. Practical implications This paper presents a series of constructs that identify GSCM operational activities companies to benchmark themselves against. It suggests which factors are driving these operational changes and how industry contingencies may be influential. Originality/value This paper explores what is driving environmental behaviour amongst an “average” sample of manufacturers, what specific management practices take place and the relationships between them.

Figure 1. The sub-trees  
Figure 2. The sub-tree A  
Figure 4. The sub-tree C  
The Applicability of a Multi-attribute Classification Framework in the Healthcare Industry

August 2006


414 Reads

Purpose – To introduce the applicability of the Ned-MASTA classification method for medicines within the environment of a hospital pharmacy and the virtual pharmacy inventory system that forms a virtual pharmacy inventory of hospitals within the same geographical region providing the infrastructure for the cooperation of hospital pharmacies in order to improve the efficiency of their operations. Design/methodology/approach – A survey that was conducted in Greek hospitals identified the inefficiencies of their logistics systems that are similar to inefficiencies identified through surveys in hospitals worldwide. It was considered vital and necessary to investigate the solutions that are provided in other industries facing similar problems. The case of spare parts inventory for production machines was found to present similarities with the management of medicine stock within the hospital pharmacy. The approach that was followed for the case of spare parts was modified and included in the system that forms a virtual hospital pharmacy inventory; this made the approach applicable in the hospital environment and further improved the efficiency of the use of hospital pharmacy resources. Findings – The MASTA classification approach was modified to fit in the operation of the hospital pharmacy and a system was constructed to form the virtual pharmacy inventory. The applicability of the system is demonstrated through an application scenario. Research limitations/implications – The system is in the form of a prototype under evaluation. It has not been applied yet thus results that are based on actual applications are not presented. Practical implications – It demonstrates the idea of a solution to the inefficiencies of the hospital pharmacy and sets the ground for discussing the proposed solution. Originality/value – This study introduces a new approach to the problems and inefficiencies of the hospital pharmacy management.

Applying a strategic planning process to several supply chain partners

December 2005


63 Reads

Purpose The ability of a team from a manufacturer and its partners to formulate strategic plans for supply chains is investigated. The research aims to improve the process of formulate strategic plans for supply chains is investigated. The research aims to improve the process of formulation using the strategic operations and logistics planning (SOLP) process. Design/methodology/approach SOLP involves researchers facilitating many meetings of the planning team in an action research setting at their premises. Combining knowledge from operations strategy and socio‐technical systems (STS), participant observation and semi‐structured surveys are used to obtain rich data. Team members derive order‐winning criteria and design policies along the supply chain for several product groups, using the process to craft strategies whilst researchers study it. One application included managers from supply chain partners whilst the other was limited to manufacturer managers. Working within the corporate plans of the focal company, the formulation is carried out by middle managers. Findings Carrying out the process twice at a heavy fabrication business (HFB) in Australia demonstrated that a team of chain managers can formulate strategic operations plans for a complete heavy industry chain. Extensive support, in the form of worksheets and facilitation, is important to formulation and extent of implementation of the plans. A case is made that assistance is probably necessary for full implementation of those plans. Research limitations/implications Whilst limited to cases in a heavy manufacturer, the research is believed to be applicable to a range of medium‐sized supply chains. Practical implications The need for the team to include supply chain partners and the effect of member's capability and authority is investigated. The extent of implementation and the effect of team attributes on execution is studied. Originality/value The research demonstrates that a team of chain managers can, with suitable support, formulate strategic operations plans for a complete heavy industry chain. The case sheds some light on the benefits, or drawbacks, of having members of other chain partners present.

Risk assessment and operational approaches to managing risk in global supply chains

July 2014


166 Reads

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide the organization with a process for assessing risk associated with their supply chain and a framework from which they can build their strategy to manage risk. Design/methodology/approach – The proposed process is based on a compilation of research and interactions with supply chain managers in various industries, and these sources provide a specific process to identify how critical the risk is, when to act upon it, and how to manage it. An adapted risk mitigation framework organizes strategies according to the likelihood of disruption and consequences. Included is an industry example used to demonstrate the framework. Findings – The variability and uncertainty associated with supply chain risks make disruption difficult to predict. Furthermore, getting information from suppliers about the amount of risk associated with their operation in an attempt to scope one's own risk can be a challenge. Management must consider the amount of risk the organization is going to accept and how much to invest to mitigate it. Originality/value – To manage the risk associated with supply chain disruption, an organization must deploy a strategy for assessing it. Once risk areas have been identified, the organization must design strategies which will mitigate the risk. The depth and degree to which risk is mitigated depends upon how risk-averse a company is and what they are willing to invest in this activity.

Manufacturing to Asia: Who will win the emerging battle for talent between Dragons and Tigers?

January 2008


117 Reads

i>Purpose – The purpose of this study is to examine the issues relating to recruiting highly skilled managerial and professional staff experienced by multinational companies (MNCs) manufacturing in six Asian countries, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. Design/methodology/approach – Data collected from 529 MNCs were used to examine critical human resource planning and recruitment concerns of companies operating in high growth “Dragon” and newly developed “Tiger” economies. The study examined the differences in recruitment practices between manufacturing and service companies and the issues relating to how manufacturers maintain an adequate skills basis. Findings – There appears a considerable extent of battle for talent among Dragon and Tiger economies with the latter required to be more aggressive as they attempt to sustain growth. Manufacturing companies are experiencing a higher demand for more job-related managerial and technical capabilities whilst competing with service companies that are also in need for more talent. To succeed, manufacturing MNCs will need to adopt a strategic approach for recruitment and retention, and internal capability training to maintain their skilled employees in order to sustain competitive advantage. Originality/value – The results shown in the paper provide manufacturing MNCs with insights into managerial and professional recruitment trend in Asia.<br /

Figure 1. A line assignment problem tableau 
Figure 2. Overall structure of GA for the line assignment problem 
Figure 3. Representation of a chromosome 
Figure 4. 
PCB assembly line assignment: A genetic algorithm approach

September 2005


341 Reads

Purpose This paper sets out to study a production‐planning problem for printed circuit board (PCB) assembly. A PCB assembly company may have a number of assembly lines for production of several product types in large volume. Design/methodology/approach Pure integer linear programming models are formulated for assigning the product types to assembly lines, which is the line assignment problem, with the objective of minimizing the total production cost. In this approach, unrealistic assignment, which was suffered by previous researchers, is avoided by incorporating several constraints into the model. In this paper, a genetic algorithm is developed to solve the line assignment problem. Findings The procedure of the genetic algorithm to the problem and a numerical example for illustrating the models are provided. It is also proved that the algorithm is effective and efficient in dealing with the problem. Originality/value This paper studies the line assignment problem arising in a PCB manufacturing company in which the production volume is high.

Using simulation to assess the introduction of technology in a continuous operations process

October 2008


25 Reads

Purpose To investigate the role of simulation in the introduction of technology in a continuous operations process. Design/methodology/approach A case‐based research method was chosen with the aim to provide an exemplar of practice and test the proposition that the use of simulation can improve the implementation and running of conveyor systems in continuous process facilities. Findings The research determines the optimum rate of re‐introduction of inventory to a conveyor system generated during a breakdown event. Research limitations/implications More case studies are required demonstrating the operational and strategic benefits that can be gained by using simulation to assess technology in organisations. Practical implications A practical outcome of the study was the implementation of a policy for the manual re‐introduction of inventory on a conveyor line after a breakdown event had occurred. Originality/value The paper presents a novel example of the use of simulation to estimate the re‐introduction rate of inventory after a breakdown event on a conveyor line. The paper highlights how by addressing this operational issue, ahead of implementation, the likelihood of the success of the strategic decision to acquire the technology can be improved.

Queuing Network-based methodology for designing and assessing performance of centralized maintenance workshops

April 2014


39 Reads

Purpose – In this paper, the authors are concerned with a maintenance workshop (MW) centralizing all corrective maintenance activities. The purpose of this paper is to propose a methodology for designing a central maintenance workshop, enabling the evaluation of performance in terms of cost and sojourn time, for a given budget. Design/methodology/approach – The authors propose a modeling framework based on queuing networks. The aim is to maximize operational availability of the production workshop, by reducing the sojourn time of failed equipment in the MW. Findings – The proposed methodology leads to a maintenance decision support tool enabling to give the structure of the MW, performing at a higher level, but at a reasonable configuration cost. Simulation results illustrate the influence of different parameters, such as the number of stations and the level of spare parts in the MW, on the sojourn time of the equipment. Research limitations/implications – Only corrective maintenance is taken into account and only equipment that can be taken out of the production workshop are considered. The preventive replacement of some equipment items can be taken into account by the repair process by considering them as failed. Originality/value – The work falls within a more general framework for optimizing maintenance costs, in the context of integration of multi-site services in a distributed context. The paper is concerned with centralized maintenance, and proposes to integrate the so-called repair by replacement technique in a MW, used for a multi-site production workshop.

A Storage Assignment Model for Batch Preparation in Process Industries

December 2010


68 Reads

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to develop new model formulation for reducing the workload in pre‐batching at a manufacturer of flavors and fragrances, by optimally assigning ingredients to different storage types, taking into account past usage of ingredients and several restrictions about volumes and number of storage units. Design/methodology/approach Two models were developed, using mathematical programming, accommodating either fixed or variable shelf settings in vertical carousel storage, along with other varying storage types. The models were validated, yielding a sizeable reduction in workload, and run under varying scenarios of storage additions to reduce workload even further. Findings For different storage addition scenarios, application of the new model formulation yielded a reduction of 22 percent in workload. In addition, aside from space savings, approximately 40 percent of refill order total waiting time was reduced due to improved allocation. Research limitations/implications The authors' analysis was limited by considering direct cost savings only. Yet, reduced workloads in pre‐batching may also yield indirect cost savings, such as reduced quality costs, inventory costs, and investment savings by not having to extend the pre‐batching area. Such considerations may be addressed in future research, provided data on indirect savings are available. Practical implications While intuitive storage allocation overloads the pre‐batching department and increases space utilization, suggesting an incorrect perception that more personnel and space are needed, the proposed approach provides a better alternative through optimized allocations. Originality/value The present paper adds to the literature on carousel storage location by explicitly addressing the storage sizing issue, as well as workload balancing.

Top-cited authors