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Some considerations relating to the reintroduction of assembly lines in the Swedish automotive industry

Dan Jonsson (Department of Sociology, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden)
Lars Medbo (Department of Logistics and Transportation, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden)
Tomas Engström (Department of Logistics and Transportation, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 1 August 2004

Abstract

In recent years, assembly lines have been reintroduced in the Swedish automotive industry and, in many cases, have replaced those so‐called alternative assembly systems which had their roots in the 1970s. This paper reviews and evaluates some explicit reasons given for the return to the assembly line. It also considers whether the decisions to replace alternative assembly systems with assembly lines may have been driven by other factors and mechanisms than those implicit in these arguments and, if so, what other factors could explain their reintroduction. There is also a discussion of which dimensions that should be taken into account when choosing between alternative assembly systems and assembly lines and empirical data are used to shed more light on the issues discussed in the article. The authors report one study that compares automobile assembly in an alternative assembly system with assembly of the same products after introducing an assembly line. They also briefly discuss reasons for and experiences from the recent introduction of alternative assembly systems in the Japanese electronics industry. In this case, so‐called cellular assembly systems have replaced assembly lines.

Keywords

Citation

Jonsson, D., Medbo, L. and Engström, T. (2004), "Some considerations relating to the reintroduction of assembly lines in the Swedish automotive industry", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 24 No. 8, pp. 754-772. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443570410548202

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited