The following results have been obtained from the HOPE project contributing to the improvement of the production organisation of SMEs with small-batch production:
- Reports about the trends and techniques concerning production restructuring, including production programme analysis tools and human- oriented production organisations.
- A methodology to analyse and redesign the production organisation of SMEs with small-batch production.
- Various tools that support the methodology, among which:
- A workshop to determine the success factors of a company.
- The HOPE Analysis Guide, to provide a holistic company analysis.
- The PDL, a tool to describe, analyse and redesign production structures, including human-oriented Production Basic Types (PBTs) and Service Basic Types (SBTs) that combine machine configuration, organisational structure and workshop communication of a production organisation. Suitability profiles for the Basic Types have been developed as well as guidelines to combine the Basic Types into a production organisation structure.
- IMAPS, a tool for the evaluation of various alternative production structures on economical as well as human-oriented performance indicators.
! The methodology and its tools have been documented in a reference manual which forms a practical guide for structuring improvement projects.
- The PBTs and SBTs have been validated in a benchmarking project.
- The methodology has been applied and validated at three end-users in different sectors. Results of the restructuring process included a decrease of delivery time by 40%, reduced stock levels by 20%, decrease of quality problems by 25%, and an increase in day-to-day yield by 20%. In general, flexibility at the end-users has been increased and the organisational as well as the communicational structures have been improved considerably.
- A project has started within the CEC-Innovation programme to further develop the benchmarking tool and to establish a European database with production performance data of SMEs with small-batch production.
The heavily discussed MIT study headlined "lean production" shows how much potential is left unused in the structure and organization of the mass production of automobiles. Following our experience, there is a greater potential in the structure and organization of the small batch production. Long throughput times, great stocks and organizational overhead are characteristics for the small batch production of today. The workshop structures, in addition, are very sensitive to breakdowns and behave in an unpredictable and sometimes chaotic manner. Only the human skills of improvisation and flexibility prevent the increase of technical and organizational problems. These problems are caused by non-linear structures in the production and a multi-step manufacturing. A method is missing to find the right production type or a combination of different production types which fulfills best the requirements of making high-quality products at short throughput times and at low costs. Another important aspect is that no method exists to combine the production structure with human-oriented organizational techniques and matching communication concepts. This heavily slows down the dissemination of state-of-the-art and future structuring techniques and human-oriented organization concepts in the proudction of SMEs.
The aim of the HOPE project is to develop an advanced methodology of production engineering and design for small batch production. By this robust structures can be achieved to provide low throughput times combined with high productivity and flexibility. The outstanding flexibility of human beings in managing delays and breakdowns is the crucial point in this project and will be supported by useful services. It is the first time that machine configuration, organizational structure and workshop communication are treated as equal components for structuring the workshop.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
3527 GA Utrecht
5652 AJ Eindhoven