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Overcoming Future Technological Challenges Through Innovation: A study of how a manufacturing company can manage process innovation
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.).
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.).
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Att övervinna framtida teknologiska utmaningar genom innovation : En studie av hur ett tillverkningsföretag kan hantera processinnovation (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

New technology, which has emerged as a part of the new industrial revolution, Industry 4.0, is changing the reality ofmanufacturing companies. Manufacturing companies are perplexed on which technologies to adopt in their productionprocesses, and when is the right time. This can be defined as a company’s ability to prepare for the future, andespecially, for these future technological challenges. A large part of being able to adopt these technologies into theproduction processes is related to the company’s ability to be innovative in their production processes. This is known asprocess innovation. Therefore, this thesis investigates how a production unit within a manufacturing company canmanage process innovation to prepare for future technological challenges.

This purpose has been achieved by conducting a single case study, where the case company’s process innovation abilitieswere assessed, and combined with necessary tools to prepare the case company for the future. The case company chosenfor this thesis was Scania. They are a world-leading manufacturer of heavy trucks, buses, and engines. The case studyfocused on one of their productions units, which produce gearboxes and axles. The data for the study was collectedthrough qualitative interviews with members of the case company. The results indicate that the case company needs toimprove their process innovation abilities in order for them to be able to adopt new technologies in their productionprocess. They need a definition of innovation, and a strategy that includes innovation so that it is prioritized andviewed as important. Furthermore, management needs to encourage innovation, and increase their level of risk-taking sothat the culture of the case company is compatible with innovation. Finally, the results show that the case companymay need to redefine or reconsider their fundamental management principle “continuous improvement” to further givepriority to innovation in their production process. Furthermore, an overview of the necessary tools for preparing for thefuture are also covered. These are trend analysis, scenario planning, benchmarking, and technological roadmap. Usingthese four tools can help the company when making strategic decisions about the implementation of new technologies.

Finally, this thesis contributes to science by providing empirical research on the topic of process innovation and gives aninteresting perspective on how it can be used to prepare for the future.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
Innovation, Process Innovation, Incremental Innovation, Radical Innovation, Future Technological Challenges, Production process, Industry
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-249510OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-249510DiVA, id: diva2:1304543
External cooperation
Scania
Subject / course
Industrial Economics and Management
Educational program
Master of Science in Engineering - Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-05-03 Created: 2019-04-12 Last updated: 2019-05-03Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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