Balancing Demand and Supply in Complex Manufacturing Operations: Tactical-Level Planning Processes
Doktorsavhandling, 2022

By balancing medium-term demand and supply, tactical planning enables manufacturing firms to realize strategic, long-term business objectives. However, such balancing in engineer-to-order (ETO) and configured-to-order (CTO) operations, due to the constant pressure of substantial complexity (e.g., volatility, uncertainty, and ambiguity), induces frequent swings between over- and undercapacity and thus considerable financial losses. Manufacturers respond to such complexity by using planning processes that address the business’s needs and risks at various medium-term horizons, ranging from 3 months to 3 years. Because the importance of decision-making increases exponentially as the horizon shrinks, understanding the interaction between complexity and demand-supply balancing requires extending findings reported in the literature on operations and supply chain planning and control. Therefore, this thesis addresses complexity’s impact on planning medium-term demand-supply balancing on three horizons: the strategic– tactical interface, the tactical level, and the tactical–operational interface.

To explore complexity’s impact on demand–supply balancing in planning processes, the thesis draws on five studies, the first two of which addressed customer order fulfillment in ETO operations. Whereas Study I, an in-depth single-case study, examined relevant tactical-level decisions, planning activities, and their interface with the complexity affecting demand–supply balancing at the strategic–tactical interface, Study II, an in-depth multiple-case study, revealed the cross-functional mechanisms of integration affecting those decisions and activities and their impact on complexity. Next, Study III, also an in-depth multiple-case study, investigated areas of uncertainty, information-processing needs (IPNs), and information-processing mechanisms (IPMs) within sales and operations planning in ETO operations. By contrast, Studies IV and V addressed material delivery schedules (MDSs) in CTO operations; whereas Study IV, another in-depth multiple-case study, identified complexity interactions causing MDS instability at the tactical–operational interface, Study V, a case study, quantitatively explained how several factors affect MDS instability.

Compiling six papers based on those five studies, the thesis contributes to theory and practice by extending knowledge about relationships between complexity and demand–supply balancing within a medium-term horizon. Its theoretical contributions, in building upon and supporting the limited knowledge on tactical planning in complex manufacturing operations, consist of a detailed tactical-level planning framework, identifying IPNs generated by uncertainty, pinpointing causal and moderating factors of MDS instability, and balancing complexity-reducing and complexity-absorbing strategies, cross-functional integrative mechanisms, IPMs, and dimensions of planning process quality. Meanwhile, its practical contributions consist of concise yet holistic descriptions of relationships between complexity in context and in demand– supply balancing. Manufacturers can readily capitalize on those descriptions to develop and implement context-appropriate tactical-level planning processes that enable efficient, informed, and effective decision-making.

configure-to-order

engineer-to-order

tactical planning

organizational information processing

complexity

material delivery scheduling

sales and operations planning

order fulfillment

Vasa B (Zoom Password: 918784)
Opponent: Jonathan Gosling, Cardiff University, United Kingdom

Författare

Hafez Shurrab

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Supply and Operations Management

Managing complexity through integrative tactical planning in engineer-to-order environments: insights from four case studies

Production Planning and Control,; Vol. In Press(2020)

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift

Shurrab, H. Jonsson, P. “Managing information processing needs in engineer-to-order organizations: A prerequisite for demand–supply balancing”

Shurrab, H. Jonsson, P. “Information processing mechanisms of tactical planning to address demand–supply balancing uncertainty in engineer-to-order organizations”

Shurrab, H. Jonsson, P. “Untangling the complexity generating material delivery 'schedule instability’: Insights from automotive OEMs”

Jonsson, P. Shurrab, H. Öhlin, J. Bystedt, J. Sheikh, M. A. Verendel, V. “Explaining causes to delivery schedule inaccuracies in supply chains”

It was once said that if you give me six hours to chop down a tree, I will spend the first four sharpening the ax. We see this wisdom in today’s challenges that many operations and supply chains face. Pandemics, material shortages, labor strikes, natural disasters, changing regulations, new technology, and new markets are examples, among other things. Preparing for those unfavorable scenarios calls for an early response; “a good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow,” George S. Patton. In my thesis, I take you on a journey across various manufacturing companies that deal with substantial complexity stemming from their engineer-to-order and configure-to-order operations. The light is shed on those companies’ tactical (medium-term) response while striving to maintain a balance between their targeted customer demand and supply capacity. Here, insights into three planning processes are provided, each of which represents one-third of the thesis, including customer order fulfillment, sales and operations planning, and material delivery scheduling. The related activities and the decisions made in those processes shape the future performance of companies in managing disruptions and are shaped by complexity drivers.

Tactical-level planning problems concerning demand–supply balancing on various horizons are tackled from a hierarchical perspective, differentiating between tactical, strategic-tactical, and tactical-operational issues and consequences. To explore complexity’s impact on demand–supply balancing in planning processes, the thesis draws on five case studies using theoretical lenses such as complexity theory, organizational information processing theory, and process theory. That is to say; this thesis comprises several suggested frameworks that build upon and support the limited knowledge on tactical planning in complex manufacturing operations. Meanwhile, its contributions to managerial practices consist of concise yet holistic descriptions of relationships between complexity in context and in demand–supply balancing. Manufacturers can readily capitalize on those descriptions to develop and implement context-appropriate tactical-level planning processes that enable efficient, informed, and effective decision-making.

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Ämneskategorier

Produktionsteknik, arbetsvetenskap och ergonomi

Övrig annan teknik

Företagsekonomi

Drivkrafter

Hållbar utveckling

Styrkeområden

Produktion

ISBN

978-91-7905-625-4

Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 5091

Utgivare

Chalmers

Vasa B (Zoom Password: 918784)

Online

Opponent: Jonathan Gosling, Cardiff University, United Kingdom

Mer information

Senast uppdaterat

2022-02-22