Flexible Change Management for the Factory of the Future
Being in a permanent change cycle, manufacturing companies have to set up methods for managing changes internally and across company borders. These methods shall enable the efficient realisation of changes and keep or improve the agility of the manufacturing systems and networks. Reason for this permanent change cycle is the growing demand for manufacturing of products with higher quality and variety. All within an international environment that is characterized by fierce competition. Thus the manufacturing industry is facing a number of significant challenges such as:
How to design and innovate best.
How to understand constantly shifting customer needs.
How to produce the products that meet those needs within tight budget and time constraints.
Agile production, virtual enterprise and holistic manufacturing concepts mostly cope with the improvement of manufacturing agility. The X-Change project increases manufacturing agility by focussing on the one hand on flexibility aspects by utilizing flexibility indicators and on the other hand by integrating these into existing change management processes to support the decision making process.
Today's radical changes in competition, technology and customer expectations are creating an increasingly uncertain environment. Production managers need a new kind of decision support in the business environment. They need methods and tools to assist them on decisions about planning, monitoring and changing a production system. The ability to change with uncertainty is often referred to as the flexibility degree of the system. The flexibility ability of a company refers to its capability to change and adapt under different change drivers. It is difficult to account for flexibility in a decision process if it is not defined in a quantitative manner. Integrating quantified flexibility measures into lifecycle and change management can be a key factor in enhancing the effectiveness and competitiveness of the European industry.
The main objectives of the X-Change project are:
- The development of several innovative, live, 'near-realtime' flexibility measurement methods as part of a flexibility evaluation toolbox with wide applicability range.
- The integration of the results of the flexibility measures, the flexibility indicators, into existing change management (business) processes.
- The realization of this flexibility evaluation toolbox into an open-interface X-Change lifecycle platform able to facilitate lifecycle and change management in production systems and extended enterprises.
X-Change aspires to cover the entire lifespan of production systems while adopting a holistic approach by addressing production and business processes in a multi-level structure.
Prof. Jivka Ovtcharova,
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) – Institute for Information Management in Engineering (IMI),
Adenauerring 20, Geb. 50.41,
Phone: +49 721 608 2129
Fax: +49 721 661 138