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Article

Isabela Maganha, Cristovao Silva and Luis Miguel D.F. Ferreira

The objective of this study is to propose a sequence of implementation of the core characteristics of reconfigurability: modularity, integrability, diagnosability…

Abstract

Purpose

The objective of this study is to propose a sequence of implementation of the core characteristics of reconfigurability: modularity, integrability, diagnosability, adaptability and customization. For this purpose, the relationships among the core characteristics and Industry 4.0 technologies are analyzed as well as the impacts of one core characteristic on another.

Design/methodology/approach

This study presented tests and validated two hypothesized models based on the literature. This paper was based on a questionnaire survey. Portuguese manufacturing companies were the sampling frame. In total, 600 questionnaires were distributed and a total of 112 responses were eligible for statistical processing, representing a response rate of 18.7%. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to hypothesize the sequence of implementation of the core characteristics of reconfigurability.

Findings

The findings presented a roadmap to implement reconfigurability, which implies significant managerial contributions on how to make the transition from conventional to reconfigurable manufacturing systems (RMSs). This highlights the importance of the sequence of implementation of the core characteristics in order to make the most of each to achieve reconfigurability.

Originality/value

Implementing reconfigurability is crucial to manufacturing companies to respond to changes in production requirements and market fluctuations quickly. However, there is a gap between theory and practice in regard to achieve reconfigurability in existing manufacturing systems. This gap includes (1) understanding the type of relationships among the core characteristics of reconfigurability, (2) understanding the influence that one core characteristic has on another and (3) establishing a sequence of implementation for the core characteristics. This study makes a contribution to fill this gap in the research area.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 32 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

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Article

Isabela Maganha, Cristovao Silva and Luis Miguel D. F. Ferreira

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the current level of reconfigurability implementation and its impact on manufacturing systems’ operational performance empirically.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the current level of reconfigurability implementation and its impact on manufacturing systems’ operational performance empirically.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is based on a questionnaire survey. Statistical analysis procedures were adopted to accomplish its objectives, namely, clustering methods based on cluster centroids. An ANOVA analysis was used to test for cluster differences among the variables.

Findings

The results show that the manufacturing companies surveyed can be divided into three clusters, with different levels of reconfigurability implemented. The implementation of the core characteristics of reconfigurability depends on the product’s complexity and demand variability, in terms of volume and product mix, as these have an impact on the operational performance, in terms of quality, delivery and flexibility.

Research limitations/implications

The data for this survey were collected from manufacturing companies based in Portugal. Therefore, the replication of this questionnaire in other countries is recommended for future research to confirm its findings.

Practical implications

The questionnaire developed could be used by managers to assess the level of reconfigurability of their production systems and for internal/external benchmarking. The findings may help managers to decide which core characteristics should be implemented in their manufacturing systems.

Originality/value

The majority of the research addressing performance issues in reconfigurable manufacturing systems has been applied to case studies. This research reports an empirical investigation using a questionnaire-based methodology to provide generalisable empirical evidence.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article

Ann-Louise Andersen, Jesper Kranker Larsen, Thomas Ditlev Brunoe, Kjeld Nielsen and Christopher Ketelsen

During design of reconfigurable manufacturing systems, manufacturing companies need to select and implement the right enablers of reconfigurability in accordance with the…

Abstract

Purpose

During design of reconfigurable manufacturing systems, manufacturing companies need to select and implement the right enablers of reconfigurability in accordance with the specific requirements being present in the manufacturing setting. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to investigate enablers of reconfigurability in terms of their importance in industry, current level of implementation in industry, and significant differences in their implementation and criticality across different manufacturing settings.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire survey is conducted, in order to provide generalizable empirical evidence across various industries and manufacturing types.

Findings

The findings indicate that the level of implementation of the reconfigurability enablers is rudimentary, while their criticality is perceived higher than the current level of implementation. Moreover, significant differences regarding implementation and criticality of mobility, scalability, and convertibility were found for companies with varying degrees of manual work, make-to-stock production, and varying production volume, industry type and organization size.

Research limitations/implications

Main limitations of the research cover the relatively small sample size and non-random sampling method applied, primarily limited to one country, which could be increased to further extent the findings reported in this paper.

Practical implications

The findings indicate that the importance and implementation of reconfigurability enablers is contingent on the manufacturing setting. Thus, the research presented in this paper provides valuable knowledge in regard to aiding a paradigm shift in industry and help companies design manufacturing systems with the right reconfigurability enablers.

Originality/value

This paper expands research on manufacturing system design for changeability and reconfigurability, by explicitly considering these as capabilities that can be enabled in various ways for various purposes in different manufacturing contexts.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 29 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article

Pallab Biswas

The purpose of this paper is to identify, analyze, and categorize the major enablers of reconfigurability that can facilitate structural changes within a supply chain in a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify, analyze, and categorize the major enablers of reconfigurability that can facilitate structural changes within a supply chain in a global scenario. The paper also addresses five reconfigurability dimensions in the perspective of supply chains and the major enablers to attain them. The paper further aims to understand the mutual interactions among these enablers through the identification of hierarchical relationships among them.

Design/methodology/approach

A framework that holistically considers all the major enablers of reconfigurability has been developed. The hierarchical interrelationships between major enablers have been presented and interpreted using a novel qualitative modeling technique, i.e., total interpretive structural modeling (TISM), which is an extension of ISM. SPSS 22.0 is employed to carry out a one-tailed one-sample t-test further to test the hypotheses for validating the results of TISM. Impact matrix cross-reference multiplication applied to a classification (MICMAC) analysis has been employed to identify the driving and dependence powers of these reconfigurability enablers.

Findings

In this paper, 15 enablers for reconfigurability paradigm have been identified through literature review and expert opinions. The authors established interrelationships and interdependencies among these enablers and categorized them as enablers of each dimension. New product development and customer satisfaction come at the highest level of priority. The levels of these enablers were obtained using TISM. The authors compared the results with the clusters derived from MICMAC analysis, and the results are found to be well within the acceptable range.

Research limitations/implications

The study has implications for both practitioners and academia. The work provides a comprehensive list of enablers that are relevant to reconfigure supply chains in today’s volatile global market. This research will also help decision makers to strategically focus on the top-level enablers and their concerned dimensions. The research is based on an automobile company case study and can be extended to products with volatile and changing demands.

Originality/value

The proposed model for reconfigurability enablers using TISM is a new effort altogether in the area of supply chain management. The novelty of this research lies in its identification of specific enablers to reconfigure a supply chain through different dimensions.

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Article

Carin Rösiö and Kristina Säfsten

– The purpose of this paper is to explore theoretical and practical challenges to achieve reconfigurable production system designs.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore theoretical and practical challenges to achieve reconfigurable production system designs.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical material of this paper includes a multiple-case study with an embedded design (Yin) including four cases, where each case represents a production system design project. The consideration of reconfigurability and its characteristics in the production system design projects was studied. To enhance validity, two real-time studies were combined with two retrospective studies (Leonard-Barton).

Findings

For more than a decade foresight reports have pointed out the need for responsiveness to change through reconfigurability in production system design. In order to achieve reconfigurable production systems, three challenges were identified: to use a structured design methodology, to gain knowledge in reconfigurability and its characteristics, and to include the reconfigurability knowledge in a structured design methodology. Still there is no comprehensive support available for reconfigurability in the production system design process.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations are mostly related to the chosen methodology approach, and additional empirical studies to establish generic results are required.

Practical implications

By combining knowledge from the production system design field with the reconfigurable manufacturing system field a potential of meeting identified challenges is pointed out.

Originality/value

This paper adds to current knowledge by pointing out three main challenges to achieving reconfigurable production systems. The paper also contributes with ideas on how to respond to these challenges.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 24 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article

Carin Rösiö and Jessica Bruch

The purpose of this paper is to explore activities, challenges, and suggest tactics for the design of industrial reconfigurable production systems that can easily adapt to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore activities, challenges, and suggest tactics for the design of industrial reconfigurable production systems that can easily adapt to changing market opportunities.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper synthesizes the empirical findings of seven case studies including 47 in-depth interviews at four manufacturing companies.

Findings

A conceptual production system design process and including activities that enables a long-term perspective considering reconfigurability is proposed. Additionally, critical challenges indicating that reconfigurable production system design is not a trivial issue but one that requires separate control and coordination are identified and tactics to overcome the challenges described.

Research limitations/implications

The authors propose a process for designing reconfigurable production systems that are better suited to adjust to future needs. The knowledge of reconfigurability from the reconfigurable manufacturing system literature is applied in the general production system literature field. This study contributes to a clearer picture of managerial challenges that need to be dealt with when designing a reconfigurable production system.

Practical implications

By clarifying key activities facilitating a long-term perspective in the design process and highlighting challenges and tactics for improvement, the findings are particularly relevant to production engineers and plant managers interested in increasing the ability to adapt to future changes through reconfigurability and improve the efficiency of their production system design process.

Originality/value

Although reconfigurable production systems are critical for the success of manufacturing companies, the process of designing such systems is not clear. This paper stretches this by giving a comprehensive picture of the production system design process and the activities that need to be considered to meet these challenges.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 29 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article

Hermann Ku¨hnle

Looks at reconfigurability – the ability of organizations to become self‐driven – as a challenge to manufacturing success factors. States that reconfigurability is the…

Abstract

Looks at reconfigurability – the ability of organizations to become self‐driven – as a challenge to manufacturing success factors. States that reconfigurability is the main characteristic of recent manufacturing approaches and thus it is important to be able to measure it. Presents a case for the measurement of reconfigurability where change processes are analyzed and the prerequisites of reconfigurablity are pointed out. Concludes that self‐organized and autonomous organizations do not use scheduling in the classical sense and instead fulfil objectives as soon as they are set.

Details

Integrated Manufacturing Systems, vol. 12 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-6061

Keywords

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Article

Ann-Louise Andersen, Thomas Ditlev Brunoe, Kjeld Nielsen and Mads Bejlegaard

The purpose of this paper is to present a decisions support tool that can be applied in initial stages of design, for evaluating the investment feasibility of changeable…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a decisions support tool that can be applied in initial stages of design, for evaluating the investment feasibility of changeable and reconfigurable manufacturing design concepts, based on future demand predictions and their uncertainties. A quantitative model is proposed, which evaluates the discounted value of capital and operating costs of changeable manufacturing design concepts, based on essential characteristics regarding their type and extent of changeability.

Design/methodology/approach

Quantitative empirical modeling is applied, where model conceptualization, validation, and implementation are central elements, using two Danish manufacturing companies as cases.

Findings

The applicability of the model is demonstrated in the two case companies, highlighting differences in type, extent, and level of feasible changeability, as a result of differences in product and production characteristics.

Research limitations/implications

Further studies of changeability implementation should be conducted across industrial fields in order to generalize findings.

Practical implications

There is currently limited support for the conceptual design phase of changeable and reconfigurable manufacturing, where critical decisions regarding type, extent, and level of changeability must be made, regardless of high degrees of uncertainty about future demand scenarios.

Originality/value

This paper expands previous research on design for changeability and reconfigurability, by explicitly considering changeability as a capability that can be enabled in various ways for various purposes in different industrial contexts. The proposed model and the case implementations provide important knowledge on the transition toward changeability in industry.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Book part

Patia J. McGrath and Harbir Singh

Firms operate in a market for their corporate assets, wherein important assets being bought and sold are business units. This market is therefore a primary mechanism for…

Abstract

Firms operate in a market for their corporate assets, wherein important assets being bought and sold are business units. This market is therefore a primary mechanism for firm reconfiguration, and offers the opportunity for firms to gain performance advantage as they prepare for and engage in their boundary-changing moves. This paper focuses on resource reconfiguration between firms, and examines internally and externally driven sources of performance heterogeneity in firms’ use of the market for firm reconfiguration. Viewing between-firm resource reconfiguration through three theoretical lenses surfaces several potential avenues for firm differentiation. For one, the necessity of firms’ possessing capabilities to execute both sides of the external resource reconfiguration transaction – acquisition and divestiture capabilities – is revealed. For another, the institutional prerequisites that are needed in the operating environment for a firm to build a sustainable resource reconfiguration strategy are brought to the fore, and are well illustrated by the private equity industry. Lastly, the potential benefits of using the transactional view of firm scope to animate the study of external resource reconfiguration are raised. Taken together, these elements lead to a research agenda around resource reconfiguration across firm boundaries.

Details

Resource Redeployment and Corporate Strategy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-508-9

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Article

Wei Yao, Jian S. Dai, Tony Medland and Glen Mullineux

This paper aims to investigate reconfigurable technology using robotic technology for folding carton in confectionery industry.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate reconfigurable technology using robotic technology for folding carton in confectionery industry.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the analysis of common motion and manipulation, modules such as robotic fingers and robotic folders are explored and designed. A robotic system is then constructed by arranging those modules for diverse cartons.

Findings

A prototyped test rig shows the adaptability of the robotic system. The reconfigurability of the robotic system is realized and verified by experiments and an industrial demonstrator.

Practical implications

This research leads to the development of a demonstrator, manufactured and controlled by industries, to further commercial exploitation of this robotic system. It has been applied in a strict industry environment for a chocolate manufacturer.

Originality/value

This robotic system applied successfully the theory of reconfigurability by using modularity in packaging systems into confectionery industry.

Details

Industrial Robot: An International Journal, vol. 37 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

Keywords

1 – 10 of 172