Flexible manufacturing equipment design based on a mass customization strategy
Author(s)Ludwicki, John Edward, 1963-
David E. Hardt.
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Companies are facing an increased challenge to meet the needs of individual customers in a cost effective manner. The days of mass producing standardized products for homogeneous markets for long periods of time are quickly fading from memory. Instead, a large variety of products must be produced at the same efficiencies formerly associated with mass production. In an effort to meet this challenge, some companies are implementing a business strategy of mass customization. One form of this business strategy stresses a modular product architecture. Economies of scale are achieved through standardization of components. Economies of scope are achieved by using similar manufacturing processes for each product line. Still, producing a large variety of products demands flexibility in manufacturing. Therefore, a tremendous burden is placed on manufacturing system designers. They must develop a manufacturing system that can react to frequent product changes yet be highly efficient in this low-volume, high-mix environment. In effect, manufacturing system designers are faced with the same problems imposed on product designers in a business striving to deliver mass customized products. They must meet the individual needs of a variety of manufacturing processes and customers. Because these processes are often specialized, the volumes associated with any one particular process are relatively low. The similarities to the product world are striking. In fact, it can be argued that many of the techniques now used to deliver mass customized products might well be used to deliver mass customized manufacturing systems. Moreover, this concept applies even when the products themselves are mass produced. This thesis investigates the principles and benefits of a mass customization approach to product development and extends those principles to the process domain. The focus will be on the benefits of modularity in manufacturing equipment design. It will be shown that a modular approach to manufacturing equipment design increases the flexibility of the manufacturing system, shortens the time to market, and better meets the needs of manufacturing customers without great sacrifices in cost and efficiency. Throughout this thesis, however, the reader will be reminded that modularity is just one component of the mass customization business strategy and that all components must be aligned to achieve success.
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, System Design and Management Program, 1999.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 67-68).
DepartmentSystem Design and Management Program
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
System Design and Management Program