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Lean manufacturing at Volvo Truck Production Australia: development of an implementation strategy
2005 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The world’s globalization and consolidation of multinational companies result in increased competition for manufacturing plants. A truck manufacturer in Australia, like Volvo, feels the demand from global shareholders as well as the local customers. A factory must always attempt to achieve world class manufacturing to survive in the long run. Therefore it is important for a local factory like Volvo’s Wacol plant to continuously develop their way of working. In order to become more productive and efficient, Volvo has decided to implement the Japanese production philosophy Lean Production. With consideration to this, Volvo wanted a comprehensive investigation of the current situation in the production. Volvo’s desire was that this Master’s Thesis report should end up in an implementation strategy that Volvo could use during the implementation. The project was to be based on a theoretical framework together with empirical studies in the factory. In consultation with Volvo and tutors from Chalmers University of Technology and Luleå University of Technology the report’s purpose was formed: The purpose of the Master’s Thesis is to develop a strategy for the implementation of lean production in the Wacol factory’s manufacturing area. In order to fulfil the purpose a thorough literature study within lean production was accomplished. This resulted in a theoretical framework that together with an empirical study of Volvo’s organization was the foundation of the report. In the empirical study a comprehensive questionary survey was accomplished among both white collars and blue collars. The survey was based on lean theories and the situation in the factory. The analysis of the situation in the factory showed that the organization has to change their way of working in some areas, in order to be prepared for the implementation of lean. First of all the managers have to work with the gap between white collars and blue collars. This gap has its root in the Australian union culture and it will be a major obstacle if it is not taken care of. It is important to have the support from the whole organization when starting a large project like lean. The lean project group which has been operational for a year has to focus on the project plan and the project’s size. A large project needs a thorough and comprehensive project plan that clearly marks all the milestones, intermediate goals and external parameters that can have an impact on the project. A major area that has to be taken care of before the implementation is the differences in the way of working in the factory. All the production teams has to work in the same way regarding team meetings, continuous improvements, missing parts, ordering parts etc. The development of standardized procedures is mainly the production department’s responsibility. The other departments have to contribute with their special skills in order to get a functional production. When all this is done the ‘real’ implementation of lean production with material distribution, pull systems, multifunctional teams and continuous improvements can start. Most important is to organize a functional continuous improvement system, in order to preserve the changes towards lean. Secondly the team meetings and job rotation has to be improved. When these basic work procedures have been improved, the work with decentralizing responsibilities and developing the material distribution system can start. This implementation and change of the present work behaviour might take as much as three to four years to accomplish. When the goals are reached the organization will hopefully stand stronger and be more productive than it is today. Lean production can never be fully accomplished: there are always things to improve.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Technology, logistik, produktion, lean production, lean manufacturing, logistics
Keyword [sv]
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-50344ISRN: LTU-EX--05/222--SELocal ID: 79c1369b-bf00-46dc-9e57-276244b7ab83OAI: diva2:1023701
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 30 credits
Educational program
Industrial and Management Engineering, master's level
Validerat; 20101217 (root)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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