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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Katrin Oettmeier and Erik Hofmann

The purpose of this paper is to provide a systematic analysis about the effects of additive manufacturing (AM) technology adoption on supply chain management (SCM…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a systematic analysis about the effects of additive manufacturing (AM) technology adoption on supply chain management (SCM) processes and SCM components in an engineer-to-order environment.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on two explorative case studies from the hearing systems industry, the impact of AM technology adoption on SCM processes and SCM components is investigated. General systems theory and the contingency approach serve as theoretical underpinning.

Findings

Not only the internal processes and management activities, e.g. in manufacturing and order fulfillment, of producers are affected by a changeover to AM, but also the SCM processes and components relating to the supply and demand side of a firm’s supply chain. Endogenous and AM technology-related factors are contingency factors that help to explain differing effects of AM technology adoption on SCM processes and SCM components.

Research limitations/implications

It is proposed that AM’s ability to economically build custom products provides the potential to alleviate the common dilemma between product variety and scale economies.

Practical implications

Manufacturing firms are encouraged to consider the potential effects of AM on SCM processes and SCM components when deciding whether to adopt AM technologies in the production of industrial parts.

Originality/value

The research adds to the widely unexplored effects that AM technology usage in customized parts production has on SCM processes and components. Moreover, the general lack of case studies analyzing the implications of AM technology adoption from a supply chain perspective is addressed. The resulting propositions may serve as a starting point for further research on the impact of AM in engineer-to-order supply chains.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 27 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article
Publication date: 23 August 2011

Rob Dekkers

The theories of transaction‐cost economics, the resource‐based view and the core competencies approach have been used extensively to justify the rationale behind strategic…

Abstract

Purpose

The theories of transaction‐cost economics, the resource‐based view and the core competencies approach have been used extensively to justify the rationale behind strategic decisions on outsourcing, but their validity has not been investigated yet in comparative empirical research. Additionally, no study has examined the operational effects of these decisions in‐depth. The purpose of this paper is to fill these two gaps in the academic literature.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review confirms the existence of these gaps and informs hypotheses based on the three theories. Additionally, the model for continuous decision making on outsourcing is used to systematically collect data from five cases studies. The cases – all make‐to‐order or engineering‐to‐order – have been analysed on effects for operational performance and control resulting from strategic decision making on outsourcing.

Findings

From this evaluation, it appears that these companies perform weakly on the control of the outsourced activities. Furthermore, it seems that the (manufacturing) strategy is disconnected from outsourcing practices and that outsourcing hardly contributes to competitive advantage. Moreover, from some of the case studies it appears that the decision for strategic outsourcing is irreversible. Finally, traditional criteria and behaviour during decision making prevail, i.e. a cost‐driven perspective, which does not address contemporary challenges.

Research limitations/implications

Despite being explorative and based on only five cases, these findings indicate that strategic decision making on outsourcing based on the three theories insufficiently accounts for operational issues that emerge later during manufacturing; it might be necessary to revise the theoretical base for outsourcing to include management of outsourced manufacturing activities.

Practical implications

The findings imply also that managers in companies, in any case those firms that operate on the basis of make‐to‐order or engineering‐to‐order, should be less “rushed” into strategic decision making on outsourcing that has adverse effects. Rather, outsourcing requires integral decision making in contrast to factual decision making that displayed signs of bounded rationality (particularly expressed through the focus on cost savings).

Social implications

The dominant, one‐sided view of the cost perspectives contributes to the notion that the shareholders' interests for short‐term profitability conflict with long‐term organisational health (apparent through the impact on operational management of outsourcing activities).

Originality/value

Stakeholders involved in strategic decision making might use this research to evaluate fundamentally decisions that cover outsourcing. At the same time, for consultants and practitioners it offers insight that is complementary to the often one‐sided strategic decision making with its focus on cost reductions. Furthermore, this paper demonstrates the limited validity of current theories that underpin strategic decision making on outsourcing and provides an impetus for academics to develop more appropriate theory.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 31 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2010

Anders Segerstedt and Thomas Olofsson

The purpose of this paper is to introduce a special issue about the construction industry and the management of its supply chains. It aims to discuss and point to some…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce a special issue about the construction industry and the management of its supply chains. It aims to discuss and point to some differences and possible similarities with traditional manufacturing and its supply chains.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is mostly a literature review and contains official statistics.

Findings

The market of the construction company is mostly local and highly volatile. The long durability of the construction “product” contributes to the volatility. The product specification process before the customer order arrives shows different degrees of specifications: engineer to order, modify to order, configure to order, select a variant. (The common make‐to‐stock in traditional manufacturing does not exist.) A construction company only executes a small part of the project by its own personnel and capacity. This is a way of risk spreading and risk mitigation and to compensate for an unstable market. If a construction company wants to establish a new concept, from “engineer to order” to e.g. “configure to order”, it must be engaged earlier in the business process and with other than usual customers, which might complicate the process.

Research limitations/implications

Experiences from Sweden and Swedish developments are the main source of information.

Originality/value

The paper introduces the articles that are a source of scientifically generated knowledge regarding various problems and opportunities associated with supply chain management in the project‐based construction industry.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 15 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 April 2021

Qian Chen, Bryan T. Adey, Carl T. Haas and Daniel M. Hall

The dynamic nature and complexity of construction projects make it challenging to ensure that the engineer-to-order (ETO) materials supplied onsite match changing needs…

Abstract

Purpose

The dynamic nature and complexity of construction projects make it challenging to ensure that the engineer-to-order (ETO) materials supplied onsite match changing needs. The quick and efficient communication of required changes in material fabrication, delivery and use, due to changes in the design and construction schedules, is needed to address the challenges. This study aims to provide a novel integrated management framework with its embedded informatics to help major stakeholders efficiently absorb agility during communication to deal with required changes and improve workflows.

Design/methodology/approach

An integrated management framework is developed that integrates the milestones in look-ahead plans and structured iterative processes for major supply chain stakeholders to quickly disseminate information emanating from changes in design, schedules, production and transportation. A prototype system is devised including the informatics to support the framework, which consists of BIM-RFID functional modules and a central database and uses a client-server architecture. The usefulness of the prototype is illustrated using a construction of part of a fictive but realistic high-rise building.

Findings

The integrated management framework with the informatics provides major stakeholders with the ability to coordinate their activities efficiently and stimulate their agility (measured by process time) in planning and controlling material information. Although only a fictive example was used, it is shown that the use of the system is likely to result in a substantial reduction in the time required to deal with required changes when delivering ETO materials onsite (by 18% in the example).

Research limitations/implications

The functionalities of the prototype system can be easily scaled up to coordinate changes in the design and scheduling of other types of materials. More functional developments are needed to show the extent of the possible improvement for entire construction projects. Future work should focus on investigating the possible improvements for other types and sizes of construction projects, and eventually in real-world construction projects.

Practical implications

By fitting the look-ahead plans into structured iterative processes through digital data sharing, stakeholders increased their capability to quickly capture required change information and resolve associated problems. This is particularly useful for the management of ETO supply chain processes, where prefabricated elements such as ductwork, plumbing, and mechanical systems typically have to be modified because of last-minute design and schedule changes.

Originality/value

Unlike traditional information technology (IT) based supply chain management practices, this research is characterized by a process-centered management framework that provides explicit decision points over iterative planning processes for major stakeholders to manage material information. The iterations through digital data sharing allow stakeholders to quickly respond to last-minute changes on site, which fundamentally achieves workflow agility in the construction supply chain context.

Details

Construction Innovation , vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2014

D.T. Matt

The purpose of this research is to examine relevant parts of the case of an Italian steel construction company's green field plant design process to identify best practice…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to examine relevant parts of the case of an Italian steel construction company's green field plant design process to identify best practice guidelines for the adaptation and use of value stream mapping (VSM) in the design of lean engineer-to-order (ETO) production systems.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews the most relevant literature in the field of VSM and discusses its limitations regarding the application in an ETO environment. Based on the analysis of an industrial case, the original VSM methodology is adapted with a special focus on ETO. Information was collected through multiple site visits and semi-structured interviews with the company's key staff of the project, as well as examination of relevant company documentations.

Findings

A set of guidelines was developed on the basis of an industrial case research. In this context, major attention was given to two aspects: the introduction of synchronization points in front of merge-activities in the value stream, and the splitting of customer orders into suitable production orders and equal time increments of work.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this research are limited due to the focused nature of a case study-based research. However, the obtained results encourage assuming its transferability to similar problems.

Originality/value

This paper provides an original industrial case study with valuable insights for the adaptation of the VSM methodology to batch-of-one ETO environment.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2003

Abd. Rahman Abdul Rahim and Mohd. Shariff Nabi Baksh

New product development (NPD) is the cornerstone of manufacturing companies. An engineer‐to‐order (ETO) company can achieve its business objectives by reducing design…

Abstract

New product development (NPD) is the cornerstone of manufacturing companies. An engineer‐to‐order (ETO) company can achieve its business objectives by reducing design iterations and rework, recognizing customer’s requirements up‐front and building quality into design and manufacturing. This paper discusses differences between ETO and make‐to‐stock (MTS) companies and justifies the need for a separate framework for ETO in NPD. Four frameworks from published literature were analyzed and it was found that the frameworks were not suitable for ETO companies due to the differences in operations and product design activities. This paper proposes a set of requirements for establishing a design and manufacture framework specifically for ETO companies. The framework can aid design and manufacturing engineers to plan their work to include customers, suppliers, consultants, contractors and manufacturing concern during the design stage. The framework requirements can serve as a foundation of further work to be carried out in this area.

Details

European Journal of Innovation Management, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1460-1060

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 October 2018

Dinesh Seth and Subhash Rastogi

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the application of vendor rationalization strategy for streamlining the supplies and manufacturing cycle time reduction in an…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the application of vendor rationalization strategy for streamlining the supplies and manufacturing cycle time reduction in an Indian engineer-to-order (ETO) company. ETO firms are known for a large number of vendors, co-ordination hassles, rework problems and its impact on cycle time and operational excellence.

Design/methodology/approach

The research demonstrates the case-based application of Kraljic’s matrix for supply and leverages items, on-the-job observations, field visits, discussions and analysis of supplies reports.

Findings

The study guides on the rationalization of supplies and the necessary strategic alignments that can significantly reduce supply risk, costs, manufacturing and delivery cycle time along with co-ordination hassles. The study depicts the challenges of ETO environment with respect to supplies, and demonstrates the effectiveness of vendor rationalization application for the case company and weaknesses of commonly practiced vendor management approaches.

Practical implications

To be competitive, companies should rationalize supply items and vendors based on the nature of items and their subsequent usage by applying Kraljic’s matrix-based classification. The immediate implication of vendor rationalization is misunderstood as reducing supply base, but it does much more and includes review of supplies, nature of items and strategic alignments, leading to win-win situation for company and suppliers.

Originality/value

For the rationalization of supplies, while procuring and dealing with vendors, executives should envisage engineering nature of components, considering cross-functional requirements and integration of components in context to ETO products/projects environments. There is a dearth of studies focusing on vendor rationalization aspects in ETO setups in fast-developing country context.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 30 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article
Publication date: 5 October 2012

Samuel Forsman, Niclas Björngrim, Anders Bystedt, Lars Laitila, Peter Bomark and Micael Öhman

The construction industry has been criticized for not keeping up with other production industries in terms of cost efficiency, innovation, and production methods. The…

Abstract

Purpose

The construction industry has been criticized for not keeping up with other production industries in terms of cost efficiency, innovation, and production methods. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the knowledge about what hampers efficiency in supplying engineer‐to‐order (ETO) joinery‐products to the construction process. The objective is to identify the main contributors to inefficiency and to define areas for innovation in improving this industry.

Design/methodology/approach

Case studies of the supply chain of a Swedish ETO joinery‐products supplier are carried out, and observations, semi‐structured interviews, and documents from these cases are analysed from an efficiency improvement perspective.

Findings

From a lean thinking and information modelling perspective, longer‐term procurement relations and efficient communication of information are the main areas of innovation for enhancing the efficiency of supplying ETO joinery‐products. It seems to be possible to make improvements in planning and coordination, assembly information, and spatial measuring through information modelling and spatial scanning technology. This is likely to result in an increased level of prefabrication, decreased assembly time, and increased predictability of on‐site work.

Originality/value

The role of supplying ETO joinery‐products is a novel research area in construction. There is a need to develop each segment of the manufacturing industry supplying construction and this paper contributes to the collective knowledge in this area. The focus is on the possibilities for innovation in the ETO joinery‐products industry and on its improved integration in the construction industry value chain in general.

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Article
Publication date: 7 March 2016

Olga Willner, Daryl Powell, Markus Gerschberger and Paul Schönsleben

The purpose of this paper is to conceptualize archetypes of engineer-to-order (ETO) to support companies in determining the appropriate degree of design standardization…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to conceptualize archetypes of engineer-to-order (ETO) to support companies in determining the appropriate degree of design standardization and automation, and as a result achieve superior performance. Products of ETO manufacturers are classified in a 2×2 matrix using annual units sold and engineering complexity as dimensions.

Design/methodology/approach

This research adopted a theory refining approach based on multiple case studies. Seven ETO manufacturers from different industry sectors participated in the study. Data collection was primarily based on a series of in-depth interviews supported by observations and archival sources.

Findings

The paper proposes four distinct archetypes of ETO (complex, basic, repeatable, and non-competitive) and empirically validates three of them. The organizational structures and processes most suitable for the different archetypes are described, and standardization and automation strategies are linked to the quadrants of the matrix. The matrix can support practitioners in making strategic choices and provides a framework for benchmarking their ETO products and processes.

Originality/value

Existing conceptualizations of ETO consider the company as the primary object of investigation, rather than the product or product family. However, companies often have different product families demanding different strategies. Also, there is little or no focus on the engineering perspective. The authors move the engineering perspective to the center of investigation and identify a set of standardization and automation strategies for different types of ETO products.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 36 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 19 March 2018

Josana Gabriele Bolzan Wesz, Carlos Torres Formoso and Patricia Tzortzopoulos

The purpose of this paper is to propose a model for planning and controlling the design process in companies that design, manufacture and assemble prefabricated…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a model for planning and controlling the design process in companies that design, manufacture and assemble prefabricated engineer-to-order (ETO) building systems. This model was devised as an adaptation of the Last Planner® System for ETO multiple-project environments.

Design/methodology/approach

Design science research, also known as prescriptive research, was the methodological approach adopted in this research. An empirical study was carried out at the design department of a leading steel fabricator from Brazil, in which the proposed model was implemented in six different design teams.

Findings

The main benefits of the proposed model were shielding design work from variability, encouraging collaborative planning, creating opportunities for learning, increasing process transparency, and flexibility according to project status. Two main factors affected the effectiveness of the implementation process commitment and leadership of design managers, and training on design management and project planning and control core concepts and practices.

Research limitations/implications

Some limitations were identified in the implementation process: similarly to some previous studies (Ballard, 2002; Codinhoto and Formoso, 2005), the success of constraint analysis was still limited; some of the metrics produced (e.g. ABI, causes of planning failures) have not been fully used for process improvement; and systematic feedback about project status was not properly implemented and tested.

Originality/value

The main contributions of this study in relation to traditional design planning and control practices are related to the use of two levels of look-ahead planning, the introduction of a decoupling point between conceptual and detail design, the proposition of new metrics for the Last Planner® System, and understanding the potential role of visual management to support planning and control.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 25 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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