Producing special-ordered engines : A mapping of the special-order process and the impact of working from home at an engine assembly plant
Abstract: This report is presenting a master thesis work in Industrial Design Engineering with a focus on production development at Luleå University of Technology. The thesis work was conducted in the spring term of 2021 at the engine assembly plant of Scania in Södertälje. The project aimed to map the special-order process to create an overview of the process and present improved work patterns. The project also aimed to map the impact of working from home. A special order is an order that is tailored for the customer in a way that is not supported by the standard order system but produced in ordinary production, this is made possible using the S-order process. The background of the project was that the process is among other things, unclear and person dependent and has resulted in stops and unnecessary and costly maneuverers in the production. The project was a pilot study with a focus on the mapping and analysis of the current and future state of the process, limited to the engine assembly, marine and industry engines and with a focus on the local product preparators. Interviews, observations and document studies were the main methods used to map the process. These data collecting methods complemented each other to create an understanding of the situation using a broad range of perspectives. The result of the data collection was then analysed to present the process and the perceptions of the process to find problems and needs. A specification of requirements was used to summarise the results and to be used during concept development. Concepts were developed through a workshop where the participants brainstormed solutions on the found problems and needs. Literature research was conducted about customisation, digital work environment and learning organisation. Research on customisation was used to understand the background and the challenges with it. The digital work environment consisted of the effects of digital work as well as research on how to design and implement a digital work environment. Research on learning organisation was used to support the presented needs and proposed improved work patterns. The mapping of the current state showed that it is a quick process that affects a lot of people who together quickly must assess if and how the orders are and will be possible to deliver. A coordinator at the engine assembly must make sure that the right people are informed and involved meanwhile these people have been shown to lack understanding of the process its responsibilities and activities, resulting in e.g., worry and stress. To improve the process, a proposition was made on focusing on improving the transfer of knowledge and experience, create a common understanding and approach and improve communication and collaboration. Four concepts were presented where the focus was on learning organisation, continuous improvements and based established methods used at the engine assembly.
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