Factors affecting production ramp-up performance

Abstract: The ability to successfully ramp-up the production when new products are to be introduced has become a critical issue for many manufacturing companies. Increased globalisation which implies severe competition makes it important both for original equipment manufacturers but also for their suppliers to perform better than potential competitors during ramp-up. Moreover, constantly decreasing product life cycles and constantly increase of individualised customer demands implies that production ramp-up has to be performed more frequent. Hence, this frequency makes it necessary to realise production ramp-ups both in a time efficient and cost efficient manner in order to be competitive. So far a lot of researches have focused the scope of time-to-market which ends when the first product is commercialised and very few researches have focused the time-to-volume which includes the process of ramping up to full production. Consequently the knowledge and supportive tools, such as a production ramp-up framework, that are available in order to manage production ramp-up in a successful manner is today rather sparse. Hence, to provide a starting point for a framework that can be used when managing production ramp-up the objective of this thesis is to identify and categorise factors that affect the production ramp-up performance. The identification of factors affecting production ramp-up performance has partly been done by reviewing previous research findings. Moreover, since previous studies of factors affecting production ramp-up performance are few, two case studies have been undertaken with the intention to complement and add knowledge to what could be found in previous research. These case studies focus the preparations for and the realisation of production ramp-ups in two assembly systems within a Swedish manufacturing company. The contribution from this thesis is a categorisation and a scrutiny of the factors identified to affect the production ramp-up performance found both in previously research and in empirical studies. The main conclusion is that several of the factors affecting the production ramp-up performance are dependent on each other both through chain relations and mutual relations. Moreover it has been concluded that the effect of different factors during the design and production preparation process and the production ramp-up process are dependent on the factors that constitute the production ramp-up situation. Therefore it has also been concluded that a useful categorisation needs to separate the factors that constitute the production ramp-up situation from factors during the design and production preparation process and the product ramp-up process. One reason for this is that such a categorisation facilitates the possibilities to compare different production ramp-ups to each other and learn from this. Moreover this type of categorisation can be supportive when different factors need to be prioritised during a production ramp-up in a certain situation.

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