BATCH PRODUCTION CHOICE OF PROCESS AND PLANNING

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Production System Design

In order to define a production system, we need to understand this term from a holistic perspective. ‘Holistic perspective’ intimates that the system should be designed with not only the physical and technical parts in mind, but the role of humans in the system and the relation among these elements as well (Bennet, 1986). According to Bellgran (2010), a system is divided into a collection of different components with unique characteristics, which play a fundamental role in the transformation of input to output. Rampersad (1995) stated that according to system theory, a system is a group of elements which can be either of geometric or of physical nature; moreover, between the elements in a system, relationships exist that determine a certain unity between them.
However, a subsystem is a subset of the elements in a system which allows one to gain a better insight into complex systems. In general, these elements interrelate by means of processes in order to reach the desired state from the existing state (Rampersad, 1995). The production system thus represents the firm’s ability to manufacture the goods, which includes manufacturing techniques and physical objects of manufacturing technology based on operational routines and required processes (Pisano, 1997).
The components of a production system that consists of five subsystems which affect the transformation process from raw materials to finished products are characterised as follows (Groover, 2001):
 Human System: refers to direct and indirect labor (e.g. operators, administrators, etc.)
 Technical System: hardware that is directly related to the production process (e.g. equipment, tools, machines, robot, fixtures, etc.)
 Material Handling System: hardware related to the operation in order to connect between processes or at stations (e.g. forklift, conveyor, pallet, etc.)
 Computer & Information System: software and hardware aimed at communicating data (e.g. software programs, information engineering, etc.)
 Building & Premises: buildings and their premises (e.g. floor, walls, ceiling, etc.)

Batch Production Choice of Process and Planning

The process choice plays a key role in aligning operational decisions within the production environment. The process choice has been considered in four main categories: job shop, batch shop, line flow, and continuous flow (Jeffrey, et al., 1994). This classification is related to the effect of the market, product variants and product volume characteristics on the decision of process choice (Safizadeh & Ritzman, 1997).*
Regarding the different types of facilities and layout, batch production systems are recognised as the most interesting planning choice for competitive manufacturing flexibility (Garavelli, 2001). Besides that, Bellgran & Säfsten (2009) identified batch production as one of the most suitable production choices for coping with producing unbalanced volumes, perhaps in many variants. According to Groover, (2001) batch production is a process which enables items to be produced in bulk; the facility is then changed to produce other items. The flexibility of the tooling, machinery and workforce to enable quick turnaround of products is a key feature of batch production, which can easily be adopted to manufacture different products to meet specific customer requirements.
A number of past studies such as Safizadeh & Ritzman (1997); Olhager, et al (2001); and Salvador et al (2007) indicate that batch shop uses the customer orders as planning inputs to facilitate build-to-order (BTO), make-to-order (MTO), and assemble-to-order (ATO). Moreover, Safizadeh & Ritzman (1997) state that batch shop is the most suited type of production in order to respond to fluctuating levels of customer orders.
In addition, to compare batch production with other process choices, Safizadeh & Ritzman (1997) argue how production planning and inventory control decisions relate to the influence of process choice and consequently the impact on operational performance. This contributes to identifing key decision drivers in batch production, which differ from other processes. Safizadeh & Ritzman (1997) empirically considered different types of processes in order to comprise batch production and found that:
1. Operational performance improvement of batch production is achieved when firms can better handle complexity over shorter horizon planning, as well as effective manipulation of the labor capacity.
2. The production plan in batch shop relies more on the actual demand in contrast with continuous flow and line shop.
3. Batch production plants carry more raw material inventory and work-in-process inventory than line flow and continuous flow, which means that batch production tends to maximise equipment utilisation.

1 Introduction 
1.1 BACKGROUND
1.2 PROBLEM DESCRIPTION
1.3 PURPOSE AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.4 DELIMITATIONS
1.5 OUTLINE
2 Theoretical Background 
2.1 PRODUCTION SYSTEM DESIGN
2.2 BATCH PRODUCTION CHOICE OF PROCESS AND PLANNING
2.3 MANUFACTURING FLEXIBILITY
3.1 RESEARCH PROCEDURE
3.2 RESEARCH APPROACH
3.3 CASE STUDY .
3.4 DATA COLLECTION
3.5 DATA ANALYSIS
3.6 VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY
4 Empirical Findings and Analysis 
4.1 CONTEXT OF COMPANY AND CURRENT PRODUCTION IN LASERKRAFT AB
4.2 PRODUCT SAMPLING
4.3 PRODUCTION SYSTEM AND PROCESSES
4.4 PRODUCTION PLANNING AND CONTROL
4.5 ANALYSIS
5 Discussion and Conclusions 
5.1 DISCUSSION OF METHOD
5.2 DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS
5.3 CONTRIBUTIONS .
5.4 FUTURE APPROACH
5.5 CONCLUSIONS
6 References 
7 Appendices

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Investigation of Volume Flexibility and Product-Mix Flexibility in Batch Production

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