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Article
Publication date: 6 November 2017

Elham Mousavidin and Leiser Silva

The purpose of this paper is to theorize the social dynamics of modifiable off-the-shelf software (MOTS) configuration process. The authors do so by formulating…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to theorize the social dynamics of modifiable off-the-shelf software (MOTS) configuration process. The authors do so by formulating theoretical propositions about the configuration process.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors have conducted a comprehensive review of the literature on MOTS configuration and the associated challenges to draw on the properties of MOTS. The authors then examined these properties through the lens of social construction of technology to formulate the authors’ theoretical propositions.

Findings

The authors formulate theoretical propositions about the configuration process. The authors also develop four scenarios based on the authors’ theoretical propositions for managing the configuration process of MOTS. These scenarios categorize the difficulty level of the configuration by two theoretical groups: malleability and interpretive flexibility.

Practical implications

The findings especially the scenarios can guide practitioners when managing configuration processes.

Originality/value

The authors synthesize the literature on MOTS. The theoretical contributions emphasize the social dynamics in configuring this type of software which is an angle that has not been developed in previous literature.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 30 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

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Article
Publication date: 21 February 2018

Sara Shafiee, Katrin Kristjansdottir, Lars Hvam and Cipriano Forza

This paper aims to explore the use of the knowledge management (KM) perspective for configuration projects. Configuration projects implement configurators as information…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the use of the knowledge management (KM) perspective for configuration projects. Configuration projects implement configurators as information technology systems that help companies manage the specification process of customised products. An effective method of retrieving and formalising knowledge for configurators is essential, because it can reduce the risk of unsuccessful implementation and the time and effort required for development. Unfortunately, no standard KM frameworks are available specifically for configuration projects. This study identifies the knowledge necessary for different phases of a configuration project (which knowledge, for what purpose and from what sources), examines how it is transformed during a configuration project (what KM activities and tools are used) and establishes how the knowledge can be documented for future maintenance and updates.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper proposes a four-step framework for making the KM process more efficient in configuration projects. The framework is based on the literature, developed in collaboration with industrial partners and tested on four configuration projects in two engineering companies. The framework is a structured KM approach designed to save time for both domain experts and the configuration team. The authors have used a qualitative exploratory design based on multiple data sources: documentation, workshops and participant observation.

Findings

The proposed framework comprises four steps: determination of the system’s scope, to establish the project’s goal based on stakeholders’ requirements and prioritise the required products and processes; knowledge acquisition, to classify the knowledge according to the desired output and identify different knowledge sources; modelling and knowledge validation; and documentation and maintenance, to ensure that the KM system can be maintained and updated in the future.

Research limitations/implications

Because the framework is tested on a limited number of cases, its generalisability may be limited. However, focusing on a few case applications allows us to assess the effectiveness of the framework in detail and in depth to identify the practical challenges of applying it. The results of the tests support the framework’s validity. Although the framework is designed mainly for engineering companies, other industries could benefit from using it as well.

Practical implications

The individual steps of the framework create a structured approach for the KM process. Thus, the approach can save both time and resources for companies, without the need for additional investment.

Originality/value

A standard framework is lacking in the literature on KM for configuration projects. This study fills that gap by developing a KM framework for configuration projects, based on KM frameworks developed for IT projects, and KM tools.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 22 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 5 March 2018

Huibin Sun and Zhiyong Chang

The functionality and reliability of an overhauled aero-engine is determined by all configuration changes in the overhaul process. Identifying, recording, auditing…

Abstract

Purpose

The functionality and reliability of an overhauled aero-engine is determined by all configuration changes in the overhaul process. Identifying, recording, auditing, tracking and tracing of configuration modifications are significant and meaningful. Considering the barriers to these goals, this paper aims to put forward an approach to configuration management in the aero-engine overhaul process.

Design/methodology/approach

The overhaul configuration management model is proposed to describe an aero-engine’s configuration evolution trajectory in the overhaul process. The controlling and auditing procedures are put forward to control and audit parts’ return-to-zero statuses and overproof statuses. And some searching algorithms are also designed to enable tracking and tracing of the configuration status along the time coordinate, or get a snapshot of an aero-engine’s configuration at a certain time. The above model, procedures and algorithms have been implemented and adopted to fulfill the configuration management requirements in the aero-engine overhaul process.

Findings

The approach is effective in identifying, recording, controlling, auditing, tracking and tracing configuration changes in the overhaul process.

Practical implications

The approach’s implementation and adoption present a practical example for aero-engines’ configuration management issue in the overhaul process.

Originality/value

The work proposes an original aero-engine configuration management solution for the overhaul process and enables a reliable and accurate configuration management mode.

Details

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, vol. 90 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1748-8842

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Article
Publication date: 6 March 2017

Keith T. Phelan, Joshua David Summers, Mary E. Kurz, Crystal Wilson, Bryan Wayne Pearce, Joerg Schulte and Stephan Knackstedt

The purpose of this paper is to propose a three-staged approach to configuration change management that uses a combination of complexity analysis, data visualization, and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a three-staged approach to configuration change management that uses a combination of complexity analysis, data visualization, and algorithmic validation to assist in validating configuration changes.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to accomplish the above purpose, the authors conducted a review of existing configuration management practices. This was followed by an in-depth case study of the configuration management practices of a major automotive OEM. The primary means of data collection for the case study were interviews, ethnographic study, and document analysis. Based on the results of the case study, a set of support tools is proposed to assist in the configuration management process.

Findings

Through the case study, the authors identified that the OEM used a configuration management method that largely represented the rule-based reasoning methods identified in the literature review. In addition, many of the associated challenges are present, primarily, the difficulty in making changes to the rule system and evaluating the changes.

Research limitations/implications

The primary limitation is that the case study was based on a single OEM. However, the results are in line with other practices identified in the literature review. Therefore, it is expected that the findings and recommendations should hold true in other applications.

Practical implications

A set of configuration management tools and associated requirements are identified and defined that could be used to assist companies in the automotive industry, and perhaps others, in managing their option changes as they continue to move towards full mass customization of products.

Originality/value

The proposed approach for configuration management has not been seen in any other organization. The value of this paper is in the effectiveness of the proposed approach in assisting in the configuration change management process.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 28 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article
Publication date: 8 April 2021

Jens Mattke, Christian Maier, Lea Reis and Tim Weitzel

Individuals only click on a very small fraction of the in-app advertisements (ads) they are exposed to. Despite this fact, organizations spend generously placing in-app…

Abstract

Purpose

Individuals only click on a very small fraction of the in-app advertisements (ads) they are exposed to. Despite this fact, organizations spend generously placing in-app ads without theoretical knowledge of how the structure and the semantics of in-app ads influence individuals’ clicking behavior. This study aims to identify how the processing of structural and semantic factors leads to clicking behavior.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the limited capacity theory, this paper proposes that the sequential processing of structural and semantic factors leads to clicking behavior. To mirror the sequential process, this paper applies a process-oriented configurational approach and performs a two-step qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) using 262 incidents of exposure to in-app ads.

Findings

The results support the proposed sequential processing and show that neither structural nor semantic factors alone lead to clicking behavior. This paper reveals four different paths of sequential processing of in-app ads that lead to clicking behavior. The results show that individuals click on non-animated in-app ads even though these are perceived as irritating or privacy-concerning. When the in-app ads are animated, individuals do only click on them when these are not irritating, privacy-concerning and personalized.

Research limitations/implications

Organizations can use these findings to improve their in-app ads and generate more clicks. This study recommends that organizations place in-app ads in a prominent location, design them similar to the design of the app and use bright colors. The advertising message needs to have new and relevant information in a credible and entertaining way. Depending on the degree of personalization, organizations should use different sizes of the in-app ad and only use animation if it is unlikely that the in-app ad caused irritation or privacy concerns.

Practical implications

Organizations can use these findings to improve their in-app ads and generate more clicks. This paper recommends that organizations place in-app ads in a prominent location, design them similar to the design of the app and with bright colors. The advertising message needs to have new and relevant information in a credible and entertaining way. Depending on the degree of personalization, organizations should use different sizes of the in-app ad and only use animation if it is unlikely that the in-app ad caused irritation or privacy concerns.

Originality/value

From the in-app ad perspective, this study is the first to theoretically develop and empirically show the sequential processing of structural and semantic factors of in-app ads. From the methodological perspective, this study applies an advanced configurational two-step QCA approach, which is capable of analyzing sequential processes and is new to marketing research.

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Article
Publication date: 19 July 2013

Linda L. Zhang and Brian Rodrigues

The purpose of this paper is twofold. In view of the importance of process platform‐based production configuration (PPbPC) in sustaining product family production…

Abstract

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.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 24 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2015

Russell Torres and Anna Sidorova

– The purpose of this paper is to understand how business process configurations influence motivation among process participants.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand how business process configurations influence motivation among process participants.

Design/methodology/approach

An experiment was conducted in which business process rules complexity, work backlog, and case distribution method were manipulated. Participant motivation and its antecedents were measured using a survey.

Findings

The study finds that business process configurations influence the motivation of process participants through their effect on perceived competence. Increasing business process rules complexity reduces competence. The effect of case distribution method on competence depends on backlog. Sequential distribution undermines competence in the presence of backlog, and enhances competence when backlog is absent. However, batch distribution results in higher competence in the presence of backlog than in its absence.

Research limitations/implications

The study confirms the applicability of self-determination theory for analyzing the effect of work settings, including business process configurations, on employee motivation. The study further demonstrates the applicability of the task technology fit model in the context of business process automation.

Practical implications

The study suggests that reducing process complexity through the use of information technology can benefit process participant motivation. Additionally, the study highlights the importance of case distribution method on performance expectations.

Originality/value

While much of the extant research has considered the enhancement of business processes at the organizational level, this study examines how business process design can be used to preserve and potentially enhance the motivation of human process participants.

Details

Business Process Management Journal, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-7154

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Article
Publication date: 5 November 2020

Tuomas Korhonen, Erno Selos, Teemu Laine and Petri Suomala

The purpose of this paper is to better understand management accounting automation by exploring the programmability of management accounting work.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to better understand management accounting automation by exploring the programmability of management accounting work.

Design/methodology/approach

We build upon the literature on digitalization in management accounting and draw upon the pragmatic constructivist methodology to understand how digitalization takes place at the individual actors' level in accounting practice. The paper uses a data set from an interventionist case study of a machinery manufacturer.

Findings

We examine an actual process of automating management accounting tasks. During this development process, surprisingly, calculation tasks remained more fit for humans than machines though, initially, they were thought to be programmable.

Research limitations/implications

According to our findings, practitioners may interpret experts' nonprogrammable work tasks as programmable and seek to automate them. Only identifying the factual possibilities for automating accounting-related work can lead to automation-improved efficiency. Our findings can be increasingly relevant for advanced analytics initiatives and applications within management accounting (e.g. robotic process automation, big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence).

Practical implications

Practitioners need to carefully analyze the entity they wish to automate and understand the factual possibilities of using and maintaining the planned automatic system throughout its life cycle.

Originality/value

The paper shows that when processes are assessed from a distance, the nonprogrammable management accounting tasks and expertise can become misinterpreted as programmable, and the goal of automating them has little chance of success. It also shows possibilities for human accountants to remain relevant in comparison to machines and paves the way for further studies on advanced decision technologies in management accounting.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 34 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 28 October 2014

Rahul Panat*, Valentina Dimitrova, Tamil Selvy Selvamuniandy, Kazuhiko Ishiko and Dennis Sun

The purpose of this paper is to provide an example of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) application in research and development (R&D) organizations to eliminate waste and improve…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an example of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) application in research and development (R&D) organizations to eliminate waste and improve systems based on available data that in turn improves the innovative environment. Manufacturing R&D involves designing and testing innovative concepts and taking them into high-volume manufacturing. The infrastructure associated with such organizations involves experimental manufacturing lines with the ability to evaluate the result under statistical process control and configuration control. The integration of LSS process improvement methodology into the R&D organization infrastructure and operations can have a dramatic effect on reducing cost and time related to the development and delivery of new technologies and products.

Design/methodology/approach

The LSS methodology was systematically implemented to eliminate waste and improve the existing process of Intel’s configuration control during the development and ramp phases. The steps included an assessment of the current state through walking the process and collecting baseline data, preparing the process map to quantify waste and inefficiencies, defining the ideal state along with a realistic target, selecting and implementing the improvement actions together with realizing and documenting the improvements and finally developing and putting into place a control plan to ensure the new process is sustained. The LSS approach resulted in an efficiency improvement exceeding the target, i.e. 60 per cent reduction in idle time and waste (non-value-added activities) versus a target of 40 per cent reduction. The results also showed an increase in the stakeholder satisfaction without compromising the technical rigor of the manufacturing configuration control.

Findings

The LSS case study presented in this paper provides experiences to LSS practitioners in manufacturing R&D environment where the operational excellence is to be sought in new technology and product development.

Originality/value

Project leaders can use the study to help formulate strategies to cater to customer/stakeholder satisfaction and eliminate waste while maintaining the technical rigor of the R&D environment.

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2006

P.T. Helo

Product configurator is a sales and production‐planning tool that helps to transform customer requirements into bills‐of‐materials, lists of features and cost estimations…

Abstract

Purpose

Product configurator is a sales and production‐planning tool that helps to transform customer requirements into bills‐of‐materials, lists of features and cost estimations. The purpose of this paper is to introduce a method of how to analyse sales configuration models by using a design structure matrix (DSM) tool. By applying the DSM techniques, the sales configuration managers may sequence the product configuration questions and organize the connection to production.

Design/methodology/approach

First, the paper explains a sales configuration system structure from published academic and non‐academic works. These sources employ both theoretical and practical views on the topic of computer‐based sales expert systems. Second, the paper demonstrates an application of using DSM for configuration modelling.

Findings

The current sales configuration approaches include constraint‐based, rules‐based, and object‐oriented approaches. Product description methods vary, but the general problem remains the same: the configuration process should be designed in such a way that customer selections do not affect the previous selections. From the user point of view, answering the questions should be smooth and fast. In turn this will lead to the growing importance of building more effective product configuration models. DSM offers a systematic way to organise customer interface in sales configuration systems.

Research limitations/implications

This paper analyses how DSM could help in planning product configuration modelling. Comparison of different sequences is presented. The examples used are hypothetical, but illustrate the suitability of DSM analysis. Companies are trying to establish easily configured product models, which are fast, flexible and cost‐effective for adjustments and modifications. Use of DSM may help in the roll‐out of sales configuration projects. DSM may also be used as a quick view to represent the complexity of product configurability. The future needs for configuration tools will be focused towards product model management from the technical limitations of different data storage approaches.

Practical implications

Configurator software creates product variants, which are logical descriptions of physical products. Variants have parameters which describe the customer‐made selections. The parameter selections may have interconnections between the choices. Some selections may affect further selections and some combinations may not be allowed for incompatibility, cost or safety reasons. There are several commercial software packages available for creating product configurations. Product description methods vary, but the general problem remains the same: the configuration process should be designed in such a way that customer selections do not affect the previous selections. Answering the questions should be smooth and fast. Configuration of complex products, for instance, airplanes, may include several sub‐systems and have various loops within the quotation process. The use of DSM may help in the roll‐out of sales configuration projects. DSM may also be used as a quick view to represent the complexity of product configurability.

Originality/value

The paper helps both researchers and practitioners to obtain a clearer view on the development of sales configuration systems and the potential of systematic DSM‐based product model analysis.

Details

Industrial Management & Data Systems, vol. 106 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-5577

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