Empirical Evaluation of the Reformed Assembly Work at the Volvo Uddevalla Plant. Psychosocial effects and performance aspects
Journal article, 1995
This paper reports on the innovative, now defunct, Volvo Uddevalla final assembly plant. Theoretical frames of reference, the design process and empirical data on workgroup characteristics and working conditions are focused upon. Information regarding the Uddevalla plant has been gathered during a long-term co-operation project with the Volvo Corporation. During the closing-down period, we obtained full access to all the production engineering data and personnel files available.
We also had the opportunity of studying the responses to a questionnaire distributed to a random sample of blue-collar workers. Working conditions in Uddevalla in the form of psychosocial job factors are compared with industrial blue-collar workers in general as well as with assembly workers in the closed down Volvo Kalmar final assembly plant, which had a different, more traditional, production system. The paper also compares the psychosocial job factors, performance measures and work-group characteristics in the five assembly workshops in the Uddevalla plant. In comparing assembly workshops, the paper contrasts two approaches to competence development and work structuring used in Uddevalla, namely (1) giving priority to the individual in-depth training of a specific task or (2) giving priority to a large competence overlap between individuals in a workgroup. Relevance to the industry. This paper reports and explains some results from a multidisciplinary evaluation of shop-floor work in the Volvo Uddevalla plant, a full-scale assembly plant with a parallelized flow and long cycle time, using autonomous work groups. These experiences should be of general interest to industries searching for the factory of the future.
materials feeding techniques
learning and training
long work cycle times
product variant codification
alternatives to line assembly
restructuring of information systems
alternatives to lean production
Volvo Uddevalla plant