Product family manufacturing based on dynamic classification
According to requirements of the market a great number of small companies are forced to offer a wide variety of products and to frequently respond to the market with customized solutions. At the same time, the fast delivery of products is often key to winning orders. Recent developments in Information Technology have made product family manufacturing available for small companies. It is made possible by applying a class of software tools called product configurators which can be integrated with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. This paper presents production management based on dynamic classification. High-variety production like mass customization is facing the challenge of effective variety management, which needs to deal with numerous variants of both product and process in order to accommodate diverse customer requirements. In high-variety production, in spite of applying modern management techniques, setup time still plays an important part in the production cycle time. The problem is not single change over time, but is in the quantity of changeovers required. This observation inspired the author to prepare a method of setup time reduction through the appropriate arrangement of tasks in the operational production plan. The appropriate arrangement of tasks means considering the similarity of parts from the point of view of operation carried out. The similarity of parts facilitates setup time reduction, which translates into smaller lot sizes, reduced in-process inventories, shorter lead time and higher throughput. The presented method is one of the elements of a computer aided management system for high-variety production. The method was validated in the conditions of best practice for unit and small batch production.
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