Determining Manufacturing System Changes Based on New Product Specifications

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate how necessary changes in a manufacturing system can be determined based on a new product specification. It proposes a formal modelling approach, enhancing the utilization of changeability of a manufacturing system given a set of changes in a product. Design/methodology/approach: To develop the proposed modelling approach, a design science research method is used to iteratively frame an issue, develop a solution and evaluate it in a relevant environment. Evaluation is carried out through a case study. Findings: A stepwise method is introduced, facilitating the creation of a model describing the relations between product characteristics within a product family and the changeability of a manufacturing system. Limitations of each manufacturing system module are evaluated to determine permittable changes in the product domain. This establishes clear relations between product attributes and manufacturing capabilities. Through this, users receive feedback on which parts of the manufacturing system must change, depending on changes in product attributes. Research limitations/implications: Testing has been carried out in an academic learning factory setting. Products and processes are thus less complicated than an industrial setting. The system used for validation is highly modular by design. Practical implications: The proposed approach could be used during product development, when determining characteristics and variety of new products, evaluating the consequences of changing the solution space. This implies a shorter time-to-market and lower product costs. Social implications: Faster product development and shorter time-to-market would give manufacturers increased agility to track market needs, and ultimately lead to greater fulfilment of customer requirements. Originality/value: The current body of literature focus on modelling either products or manufacturing systems. Little literature addresses both, but does not touch on identifying changes within parts of the manufacturing system, nor supports the high changeability proposed in this research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Global Operations and Strategic Sourcing
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)590-607
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Changeability
  • Changeable manufacturing
  • Industry 4.0
  • Manufacturing system
  • Process modelling
  • Product modelling
  • Qualitative
  • Reconfigurable manufacturing


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