Design of materials supply systems in product development projects : Difficulties and requirements

Sammanfattning: Technology development is now very intense in several areas, and companies have much to gain from reaching the market with new technology and products ahead of their competitors. Therefore, companies try to shorten the product development time. This has accentuated the necessity of working with overlapping activities in development projects, which involves integrating the materials supply aspects at an early stage in product development projects in order to identify and solve problems.This thesis deals with the design of the materials supply system in product development projects and is directed towards the evaluation of the materials supply system at an early stage in product development projects. The research is delimitated to materials supply for assembly of physically large products, produced in high volumes.Empirical data have been gathered in three case studies. The results show that in order to improve the evaluation of materials supply systems in product development projects, new models and tools, together with appropriate work procedures, are needed. Four characteristics of the materials supply system in operation, namely: space needed for the materials supply, volumes and frequencies, inventory levels, and the investment in packaging, are shown to be important to assess at an early stage of as well as during product development projects. In addition, the results show that the models and tools must be able to utilise partial and incomplete data as well as to consider and handle uncertainty in the data used. The importance of transferring and using partial information, and the prerequisites for succeeding with this, is discussed.

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