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A Production System Classification Matrix: Matching Product Standardization and Production System Design
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Communications and Transport Systems. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology. (Bygglogistik)
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Communications and Transport Systems. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology. (Bygglogistik)
2015 (English)In: Journal of construction engineering and management, ISSN 0733-9364, E-ISSN 1943-7862, Vol. 141, no 6, article id 05015004Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The potential benefits of using off-site production in residential construction have been highlighted in many studies, but the full potential of off-site production approaches is not always realized. This shortfall can be explained by the mismatch between market requirements and the output offered by the production system, in other words, a mismatch between the degree of product standardization and the design of the production system. This mismatch could be resolved through a classification matrix that aids decision makers in matching market requirements and the degree of product standardization with the degree of off-site production and production system design. This paper describes the development of a classification matrix that guides the decision-making process during the designing of new or re-designing of existing production systems in residential construction. An important aspect of the development was balancing the trade-off between productivity and flexibility so that products can be produced competitively. The merits of the classification matrix are exemplified by five case companies with different approaches to industrialization and off-site production.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), 2015. Vol. 141, no 6, article id 05015004
Keywords [en]
Production strategy, Construction industry, Off-site production, Residential building, Process choice, Case study
National Category
Business Administration Construction Management Building Technologies Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-105990DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0000965ISI: 000354550100004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-105990DiVA, id: diva2:712649
Available from: 2014-04-16 Created: 2014-04-16 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Towards a Framework for Production Strategy in Construction
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards a Framework for Production Strategy in Construction
2014 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The problem with low productivity increase in the construction industry is highlighted in many studies and in Sweden the need to improve productivity and client satisfaction in the construction industry has promoted a number of government investigations. One suggested way of improving productivity and client satisfaction is to move value adding activities offsite, to a more industrial environment. Compared to  traditional on-site production, off-site production has been said to have many advantages such as: higher productivity, lower production cost, higher quality and shorter lead times. The trade-off when increasing the degree of off-site production is the reduced product and process flexibility. The trade-off between productivity and flexibility indicates that different production systems perform well in different areas of competition.

The purpose of this research is to develop a production strategy framework for the construction industry, and more specifically for the production of multifamily residences. This framework can help construction firms to design the production system and find the right balance between productivity and flexibility. For the manufacturing industry, production strategy frameworks have been developed and shown useful when designing new or redesigning existing production systems. A corresponding framework adapted to the construction industry would be useful for construction firms when designing production systems to meet the targeted market in the most efficient way.

Production strategy theory is traditionally built around two broad groups, decision categories and competitive priorities. Decision categories are areas in which a company must make decisions that are of long term importance for the production function. In this thesis focus is on the decision category traditionally named product/process technology and more specifically on the so called process choice i.e. choosing a production system that meets the demands from the targeted market in the most efficient way. To do this a classification matrix is developed that classify production systems along two dimensions, the degree of off-site assembly in one dimension and the degree of product standardisation in the other. This way of visualising the process and product characteristic has been used before, in traditional production strategy frameworks, to facilitate the process choice.

For the classification matrix to be useful, the positions in the suggested classification matrix must be linked to the ability of different production systems to deliver manufacturing outputs. Therefor a performance measurement system is developed. In the process of developing classification matrix and the performance measurement system three research questions are addressed:

RQ1. What dimensions can be useful, from a production strategy perspective, when classifying different production systems for the production of multifamily residences?

RQ2. What manufacturing outputs/competitive priorities have to be taken into consideration when evaluating different production systems forproduction of multifamily residences?

RQ3. How should the ability of a production system to deliver manufacturing outputs be measured?

To answer the research questions an abductive approach has been used. The results from a literature review have been used to develop theoretical constructs. Case studies have then been used to empirically test the constructs. Thereafter the empirical data and information from additional literature reviews has then been used to further develop and refine the theoretical constructs. The findings of this research are thereby grounded in both theory and practise.

There are two main contributions in this thesis. The first one is the proposed classification matrix for production systems producing multifamily residences. The classification matrix can be used as a base for production strategy reasoning in the construction industry. The second contribution is the suggested performance measurement system in which KPIs for measuring quality, delivery (speed and dependability), cost (level and dependability) and flexibility (volume, mix and expansion) have been defined.

By positioning different production systems in the classification matrix and then use the defined performance measurement system, relative differences between the ability of different production systems to deliver manufacturing outputs can be exposed. The classification matrix can help companies to work with production strategy in a structured way, and to visualize the link between the market strategy and the production function of the firm in order to meet the demands from the targeted market in the most efficient way.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2014. p. 62
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1659
National Category
Business Administration Construction Management Building Technologies Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-105993 (URN)10.3384/lic.diva-105993 (DOI)LIU-TEK-LIC-2014:92 (Local ID)978-91-7519-333-5 (ISBN)LIU-TEK-LIC-2014:92 (Archive number)LIU-TEK-LIC-2014:92 (OAI)
Presentation
2014-04-23, TP1, Hus Täppan, Campus Norrköping, Linköpings universitet, Norrköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-04-16 Created: 2014-04-16 Last updated: 2014-04-23Bibliographically approved
2. Production Strategy in Project Based Production within a House-Building Context
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Production Strategy in Project Based Production within a House-Building Context
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A production strategy enables companies to effectively manage the different challenges that the production function face in a competitive environment. A production strategy helps a company to make operational and strategic decisions that follow a logical pattern and supports the corporate strategy and the competitive priorities of the company. When no strategy exists the decisions may be arbitrary and unpredictable leading to an under-achieving production system. Production strategy involves decisions that shape the long term capabilities of a producing company. For the traditional production industry there are a number of production strategy frameworks that facilitates the process of designing production systems. However, these frameworks typically leave project based production out of the scope or treat project based production as one type of production system, when in fact project based production systems can be multifaceted depending on product design and market requirements.

This thesis focus on project based manufacturing in a house-building context. Houses can be produced by different types of production systems, and depending on how the production systems are designed they have strengths and weaknesses in different areas of competition. To be able to meet the increasing demand for residential houses, and improve performance in the house-building industry, the way houses are produced have to match different market requirements in a more effective and efficient way. To do this a production strategy has to exist. Typically there is a trade-off between productivity and flexibility, hence a production system designed to meet customer requirements concerning product design is probably not the best process choice if the customer thinks price and delivery time are the most important. A production strategy helps a company to make decisions so that the output of the production system meets customer requirements in the best possible way. Due to the fact that project based production is typically left out of the scope in traditional production strategy literature and that there is a lack of research concerning production strategy in a house-building context, the purpose of this research is:

… to extend the production strategy body of knowledge concerning project based production in a house-building context.

To fulfil the purpose the following four research questions are studied and answered:

RQ1: What aspects can be useful in a classification matrix contrasting different production systems for house-building?

RQ2: Which competitive priorities are important to measure when evaluating different production systems on a production strategy level in a house-building context, and how can they quantitatively be measured?

RQ3: How does the characteristics of the production system, i.e. the process choice, affect information exchange in a house-building context?

RQ4: How can a new production strategy be formulated and implemented in an industrialised house-building context and what challenges are important to consider in that process?

To answer RQ1 a classification matrix was developed that classify production systems along two dimensions: a product dimension (degree of product standardisation) and a process dimension (degree of off-site assembly). The two dimensions are related, for example a high degree of standardisation should be matched with a high degree of off-site assembly and consequently a low degree of product standardisation should be matched with a low degree of off-suite assembly. A mismatch, e.g. high degree of off-site assembly and low degree of standardisation, typically leads to poor performance and should hence be avoided.

To be able to see how different types of production systems perform in different areas of competition key performance indicators (KPIs) were developed. The KPIs presented in this research can be used to measure quality, delivery (speed and dependability), cost (level and dependability), and flexibility (volume and mix) at a production strategic level (RQ2).

Furthermore, to answer RQ3, a production strategy perspective was taken on information exchange by relating information exchange to the design of the production system. The results indicate that employing different types of production systems leads to different approaches to information exchange. Employing a production systems using traditional production methods on-site and a low degree of product standardisation lead to a traditional approach to information exchange, e.g. project meetings, telephone and mail. Production systems employing some degree of off-site assembly have less complex and more stable supply chains and use ICT-solutions to a higher extent, which facilitates information exchange. The findings also indicate that a high degree of product standardisation facilitates the use of ICT-solutions such as ERP and BIM.

RQ4 concerns the production strategy process, i.e. formulation and implementation. Failure in this processes can jeopardise the whole business. Based on a longitudinal case study of an industrialised house-builder a suggested production strategy process was developed, including both production strategy formulation and implementation. The study also identified context specific challenges that have to be considered in an industrialised house-building context, e.g. the complexity that comes with using two different production processes (off-site and on-site) in the same production system.

The research is case based and a total number of eight different production systems have been studied. Data has been collected through interviews, observations, and review of company documents.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2017. p. 94
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1892
Keywords
Production strategy, Industrialised House-Building, House-Building, Off-site production, Performance measurement, Information exchange, Production strategy process
National Category
Building Technologies Construction Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-143262 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-143262 (DOI)9789176854013 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-01-19, K3, Kåkenhus, Campus Norrköping, Norrköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-11-28 Created: 2017-11-28 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved

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