Sunday, February 19, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Daniel Nåfors, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
As the academic work keeps on evolving, realizing new improved solutions to old problems it’s rarely the same authors that end up implementing the theories in practical situations. This leads to a gap in knowledge and is often a reason for why some issues are standard in the industry while being solved in the academic world. This study means to identify where some of the perceived difficulties lie to guide further research in improving the implementation process. The data was gathered through a workshop at two separate occasions with two different Swedish companies active in manufacturing. The participants got to brainstorm what was and what should be a part of the layout planning process on post-its, rate whether or not it was considered in their process as well as if it was something they thought should be included. These post-its where then positioned on a board with two scales, one horizontal, ranging from difficult to consider in the process to easy to consider and one vertical, ranging from not important to very important. 72 topics were written down on colored post-its and placed on the board depending on its perceived levels of difficulty and importance. Some appeared more than once due to a difference in the perception of the participants. Among the perceived most important and difficult ones were the economic aspects of layout planning, handling chemicals, the flow, lighting, chemicals, future layout changes, changes in adjacent processes, changes to the work-environment and the ability to visualize the layout. Among those considered important and not difficult, five were not considered in the layout planning process; lighting conditions, takt time, ergonomics, available space and spaghetti diagrams. The case study shows that there are differences both between these two companies as well as internally in how the layout planning process is perceived. Topics such as ergonomics and lighting hade very different opinions, showing that there is no clear understanding of these. This study shows that there is a need to reach the industry the area of layout planning with the solutions for issues that already have been solved in the academic world. More implementation and application studies needs to be performed in order to better understand how to reach out to the industry and working for a sustainable future.