Software content delivery in an outsourced manufacturing environment
Author(s)Hung Shion C. (Shion Chen), 1976-
Leaders for Manufacturing Program.
Alvin Drake and Sara Beckman.
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The trend towards integrated hardware and software solutions has become prevalent in the corporate server market. At the same time, companies struggle with the apparently conflicting goals of providing customers more customized and relevant products while handing over control of manufacturing to third party vendors. Competition is fierce, as customers who once chose on technology have begun to discriminate on price, compatibility and integration services as well. This thesis describes an effort at Sun Microsystems, Inc. to prototype the factory installation of software. Several of its competitors have already initiated factory software installation, and Sun would like to determine whether software preload is viable on systems manufactured at Sun's external manufacturers (EMs). The capability was already available on systems built internally, but these constitute the high end, low volume systems sold by Sun. The systems produced by EMs are much higher in volume, but they tend to be lower in cost and complexity. It is a challenge to convert a fully documented, highly controlled internal process into a flexible, easily deployable external process. This thesis discusses the obstacles that must be overcome to transfer software installation processes and also sets some criteria on when and where to make such changes. These findings are useful not only to Sun, but to other companies contemplating outsourcing of specific processes. As the prototype progressed, several organizational issues had to be addressed to make deployment beyond the pilot site possible. Therefore, we discuss some of the organizational concerns and channel conflicts that affect the project, both on a short-term and long-term basis. We also cover the strategic choice of(cont.) transitioning from mass production to mass customization. The software download capability opens a wide array of customization options, but the organization and its processes must be ready to support the change. Affecting change remotely with both internal and external stakeholders is critical in today's business environment. The project confirmed the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of having external manufacturers load software for a family of hardware/software configurations, and Sun Microsystems plans to deploy the software installation capability at the EM in the future.
Thesis (M.B.A.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management; and, (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; in conjunction with the Leaders for Manufacturing Program at MIT, 2004.Includes bibliographical references (p. 79-81).
DepartmentSloan School of Management.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.; Leaders for Manufacturing Program.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Sloan School of Management
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sloan School of Management., Electrical Engineering and Computer Science., Leaders for Manufacturing Program.