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Toward Pull Remanufacturing: A Case Study on Material and Information Flow Uncertainties at a German Engine Remanufacturer
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2552-3636
2015 (English)In: Procedia CIRP, ISSN 2212-8271, E-ISSN 2212-8271, Vol. 26, p. 270-275Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Abstract Together with reuse and material recycling, remanufacturing has emerged as a sustainable approach for used products. Remanufacturing is more complex than manufacturing, due to the uncertainties in material and information flows inside the remanufacturing facility and along the product life-cycle. Therefore, some remanufacturers intend to use lean production principles and philosophies to deal with this complexity and to improve their operations. The aim of this paper is to identify reasons for possible material and information flow uncertainties and develop lean-inspired solution at a German engine remanufacturer. The empirical data were collected via a Material and Information Flow Analysis workshop. The reasons for missing, late, defective and non-available spare parts as well as disrupted, uneven, chaotic and inaccessible information flows are identified. Finally, a lean pull Kanban reordering system is suggested and recognized to be a proper solution to remanufacturing complexity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2015. Vol. 26, p. 270-275
Keyword [en]
Remanufacturing, Product life-cycle, Lean, Pull, Kanban
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-118272DOI: 10.1016/j.procir.2014.07.187ISI: 000360931800048OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-118272DiVA, id: diva2:813712
Conference
12th Global Conference on Sustainable Manufacturing - Emerging Potentials, Johor Bahru, Malaysia, 22–24 September 2014
Available from: 2015-05-25 Created: 2015-05-25 Last updated: 2018-05-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Toward Lean Remanufacturing: Challenges and Improvements in Material and Information Flows
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Toward Lean Remanufacturing: Challenges and Improvements in Material and Information Flows
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Remanufacturing is an environmentally sound material recovery option which is essential to compete for sustainable manufacturing. The aim with remanufacturing at a majority of companies is to prolong physical product performance by delivering the same or betterthan-original product quality. In general, remanufacturing is an industrial process that brings used products back to useful life by requiring less effort than is demanded by the initial production process. Consequently, from a product life-cycle perspective, remanufacturing generates great product value.

Remanufacturers lag behind manufacturers since they often face complex and unpredictable material and information flows. Based on a review of remanufacturing research, remanufacturing challenges in material and information flows can be classified into three groups: insufficient product quality, long and unstable process lead times, and an unpredictable level of inventory. While some remanufacturing researchers state that manufacturing and remanufacturing are significantly different, they have more in common than many other processes operations. Therefore, to sustain competitive remanufacturing, companies investigate an opportunity for improvement through the employment of lean production that generates significant benefits for manufacturers.

In order to investigate the potential to address remanufacturing challenges by lean production, a Minimum time for material and information flow analysis (MiniMifa) method was developed. This method originates from the value stream mapping (VSM) method, broadly practiced to bring lean to manufacturing companies. The focus of MiniMifa was to collect empirical data on the identified groups of remanufacturing challenges from the remanufacturing perspective, and to provide a basis for the development of improvements originating from lean principles.

Lean production was selected for this research due to its system perspective on material and information flows. Among the defined lean principles in remanufacturing, a pull principle was investigated at the case companies. The suggested principle demonstrated a reduction in lead time, followed by improvements in inventory level and product quality. However, in order to become lean, remanufacturers have to overcome three levels of lean remanufacturing challenges: external and internal challenges as well as lean wastes.

Finally, this research reduces the gap between academia and industry by contributing with a possible solution to the identified remanufacturing challenges in material and information flows.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. p. 72
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1718
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-118280 (URN)10.3384/lic.diva-118280 (DOI)978-91-7519-045-7 (ISBN)
Presentation
2015-06-10, Industriell produktions seminarierum, A-huset, ingång 15 B, plan 3, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
VINNOVA
Available from: 2015-05-25 Created: 2015-05-25 Last updated: 2016-04-12Bibliographically approved
2. Lean Remanufacturing: Reducing Process Lead Time
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Lean Remanufacturing: Reducing Process Lead Time
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Remanufacturing is a product recovery option in which used products are brought back into useful life. While the remanufacturing industry stretches from heavy machinery to automotive parts, furniture, and IT sectors, it faces challenges. A majority of these challenges originate from the remanufacturing characteristics of having little control over the core (the used product or its part), high product variation, low product volumes, and a high proportion of manual work, when compared to manufacturing. Some remanufacturing challenges appear to be process challenges that prolong process lead time, making remanufacturing process inefficient.

Lean is an improvement strategy with roots in the manufacturing industry. Lean helps to increase customer satisfaction, reduce costs, and improve company’s performance in delivery, quality, inventory, morale, safety, and other areas. Lean encompasses principles, tools and practices to deal with e.g. inefficient processes and long process lead times. Therefore, in this thesis lean has been selected as an improvement strategy to deal with long remanufacturing process lead times.

The objective of this thesis is to expand knowledge on how lean can reduce remanufacturing process lead time. This objective is approached through literature studies and a case study conducted at four remanufacturing companies. There are five challenges that contribute to long process lead time: unpredictable core quality, quantity, and timing; weak collaboration, information exchange, and miscommunication; high inventory levels; unknown number of required operations in process and process sequence; and insufficient employee skills for process and product upgrade. When analysing the case companies’ process lead times it was found that there is a need to reduce waiting times, which account for 95 to 99 per cent of process lead times at three of the four companies.

To improve remanufacturing process efficiency and reduce remanufacturing process lead time six lean practices are suggested: product families; kanban; layout for continuous flow; cross functional teams; standard operating procedures; and supplier partnerships. The suggested lean practices have a key focus on reducing waiting time since it prolongs the process lead time. This thesis contributes to lean remanufacturing research with the case study findings on lean practices to reduce remanufacturing process lead time and increase process efficiency.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2018. p. 70
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1938
Keyword
Circular Economy, Lean Production, Toyota Production System, Value Stream Mapping, Remanufacturing Process Challenges and Improvements, Process Efficiency
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics Reliability and Maintenance
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-147875 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-147875 (DOI)9789176853030 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-06-14, ACAS, A building, Campus Valla, Linköping, 09:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-05-17 Created: 2018-05-17 Last updated: 2018-05-22Bibliographically approved

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Kurilova-Palisaitiene, JelenaSundin, Erik

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