Challenges of handling assembly information in global manufacturing companies
Journal article, 2020

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe challenges the manufacturing industry is currently facing when developing future assembly information systems. More specific, this paper focuses on the handling of assembly information from manufacturing engineering to the shop floor operators. Design/methodology/approach – Multiple case studies have been conducted within one case company between 2014 and 2017. To broaden the perspective, interviews with additionally 17 large and global manufacturing companies and 3 industry experts have been held. Semi-structured interviews have been the main data collection method alongside observations and web questionnaires. Findings – Six focus areas have been defined which address important challenges in the manufacturing industry. For manual assembly intense manufacturing company, challenges such as IT challenges, process challenges, assembly process disturbances, information availability, technology and process control, and assembly work instructions have been identified and hinder implementation of Industry 4.0 (I4.0). Originality/value – This longitudinal study provides a current state analysis of the challenges the manufacturing industry is facing when handling assembly information. Despite the vast amount of initiatives within I4.0 and digitalization, this paper argues that the manufacturing industry needs to address the six defined focus areas to become more flexible and prepared for the transition toward a digitalized manufacturing industry.

global manufacturing networks


manufacturing industry

industry 4.0

information systems



Pierre Johansson

Volvo Group

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Production Systems

Lennart Malmsköld

University West

Åsa Fasth Berglund

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Production Systems

Lena Moestam

Volvo Group

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

1741-038X (ISSN)

Vol. 31 5 955-976

Global Assembly Instruction Strategy (GAIS)

VINNOVA (2013-02648), 2013-10-01 -- 2015-09-30.

Global Assembly Instruction Strategies (GAIS) 2

VINNOVA (2016-03360), 2016-10-03 -- 2018-10-01.

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Interaction Technologies

Computer Systems

Areas of Advance




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