TUTCRIS - Tampereen teknillinen yliopisto


Production system assessment and improvement - A tool for make-to-order and assemble-to-order companies



KustantajaTampere University of Technology
ISBN (elektroninen)978-952-15-2377-9
ISBN (painettu)978-952-15-2358-8
TilaJulkaistu - 28 toukokuuta 2010
OKM-julkaisutyyppiG4 Monografiaväitöskirja


NimiTampere University of Technology. Publication
KustantajaTampere University of Technology
ISSN (painettu)1459-2045


This study focused on assessing and improving production systems of Finnish mechanical engineering companies producing order-specific products and using make-to-order (MTO) or assemble-to-order (ATO) approach. These companies play an important role in Finnish industry and the national economy, for example in terms of turnover, exports, and employment, and their production systems, processes and performance have a significant effect on their competitiveness. To assist these companies in improving their production systems, production performance and competitiveness, the study aimed to develop a tool for assessing the current state of production systems and identifying the potential and means for improvement. A review of currently available assessment and improvement tools highlighted the need to develop a more useful and applicable tool for the type of companies considered in this study. The study was limited to the initial phases of an improvement process, and its results are specifically applicable and most beneficial to companies operating within the target industrial sector of the study. Design science and constructive research approaches were used in developing the production system assessment tool, named TUTKA, which consists of a set of key characteristics of a well-performing production system, an assessment scale and methods of assessment. The set of key characteristics that provide the basis for the assessment tool and process were developed iteratively using information from literature reviews, theme interviews, and observations of production systems. The literature reviews covered production strategy, production paradigms, and tools and approaches for assessing and improving production, whereas the theme interviews and observations provided a practical perspective and information on the development process and enabled evaluation and improvement of the applicability and usefulness of the set of key characteristics in the target companies of the study. Subsequently, an assessment scale and assessment methods were developed and integrated into the assessment tool based on the results of the previous phase of the study and a review of available tools and models of production assessment and improvement. Finally, to demonstrate the applicability of the TUTKA tool and to collect information to evaluate the results of the study, the assessment tool was tested in six companies and presented to three consultants. The main result and contribution of this study is the TUTKA tool, which enables assessment of the current state of a production system and identification of its strengths and potential and means for improvement. The six pilot cases and the feedback received demonstrated the tool’s applicability and usefulness in assessing and improving production systems. Additionally, a set of key characteristics of a well-performing production system were developed in the study. The observations made and the feedback received during the study indicated the relevance of the key characteristics to the target companies of this study and their usefulness for designing and improving production systems. The study thus provided tools and guidelines for improving production systems, production performance, and competitiveness. The results of the study can be used by the target companies, by companies aiming to change their production approach to make-to-order or assemble-to-order, and by consultants and researchers in the field of production and production systems. Directions for further research were also identified and these included broadening the scope of assessment to cover production network and adding new aspects, such as sustainability of production, to the TUTKA tool.


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