Smart Manufacturing Support to Product Platforms in Industrialized House Building
AbstractSwedish house building companies currently face many challenges in terms of fluctuating market demand, need for flexible product offering, non-uniform governmental regulations, high costs, and long lead times. These challenges affect both internal and external efficiency of companies. Product platforms have been used for more than a decade in this industry to improve both internal and external efficiency. However, the industry is still criticized for its inefficient and costly process. Smart manufacturing has emerged as means to improve the efficiency of internal processes and the question is if and how smart manufacturing can complement and support product platforms in industrialized house building. The aim of this study is to explore the potential of smart manufacturing to complement and support product platforms in theory and practice in the context of industrialized house building. A literature review and a multiple case study were chosen to fulfill the study objective. In total fourteen semi-structured interviews were conducted in two timber house building companies. The data was analyzed within and across cases using four platform assets for categorization: components, processes, knowledge and relationships. The results show that the smart manufacturing technologies are in both theory and practice mainly supporting the process platform asset through developing vertical and horizontal IT systems integration, definition and digitalization of flexible building systems, and transferring explicit drafting and engineering knowledge into parametric modelling tools.
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