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Competitive Internal Logistics Systems through Automation
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering. (Innovation och Produktrealisering)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6062-2173
2011 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The growing demand for products and services puts great pressure on logistics performance and enhances the role that logistics plays in determining a company’s competitiveness.

This research focuses on internal logistics systems, which includes all logistics activities and processes within the physical limits of an isolated company. Internal logistics is vital for the overall function of many companies. However, despite its importance, this part of logistics has traditionally not been viewed or developed in a strategic way. Since internal logistics activities are often characterized by a high degree of manual handling and hence strongly affect the cost of operations, there is a large incentive for improvements in this area.  

One possible way to improve an internal logistics system is with the help of automation. In many areas, automation is a well-known means to increase productivity and cut costs, thus improving competitiveness. However, automation is not commonly used within internal logistics activities, and there is a lack of knowledge and research within this new application area. The main objective of this research, therefore, is to contribute to an increased understanding of how automation can be used to develop competitive internal logistics systems.

Four empirical studies have been performed to investigate how companies perceive and work with their internal logistics systems, specifically in terms of improvements using automation. The empirical studies also aimed at identifying and describing how the studied companies could benefit from automation within internal logistics activities.

From the studies, the importance of assessing and being aware of the current state of logistics performance was discovered as a basic requirement that needs to be fulfilled before conducting improvement work. Further, one of the main overall conclusions from this research is the need for a logistics strategy that includes goals and plans for the operation and development of an internal logistics system. As a result of the research, a structure and procedure for the development of a logistics strategy and a framework for conducting an improvement process in internal logistics using automation were developed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University , 2011.
Series
Mälardalen University Press Licentiate Theses, ISSN 1651-9256 ; 137
Keyword [en]
Internal logistics, logistics systems, automation, performance
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-12246ISBN: 978-91-7485-017-8OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-12246DiVA: diva2:417133
Presentation
2011-06-17, Raspen, Smedjegatan 37, Eskilstuna, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Lean Automation
Funder
XPRES - Initiative for excellence in production research
Available from: 2011-05-16 Created: 2011-05-11 Last updated: 2013-12-06Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Logistics Automation - an Enabler for Competing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Logistics Automation - an Enabler for Competing
2008 (English)In: Management in Logistics Networks and Nodes: Concepts, Technology and Applications, Hamburg, Germany: Schmidt Erich Verlag , 2008, 129-146 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Today´s business environment is dominated by uncertainty and fast changes which result in the need for companies, in all lines of businesses, to focus on logistics in a greater extent than before. Companies need to attain high resource usage, low level of tied up capital as well as high delivery accuracy. One way to achieve this is with the help of logistics automation. This paper presents the result of a study conducted at different SMEs. Issues the study includes are: to what extent SMEs applies logistics automation; the interest, knowledge and needs for improving the supply chain; problem areas and difficulties for SMEs concerning logistics automation and future industrial needs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hamburg, Germany: Schmidt Erich Verlag, 2008
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-9068 (URN)9783503112272 (ISBN)
Conference
HICL 2008: Logistics Networks and Nodes, 04 - 05 September 2008, HAMBURG, Germany
Projects
xpres
Funder
XPRES - Initiative for excellence in production research
Available from: 2010-03-03 Created: 2010-03-03 Last updated: 2013-12-17Bibliographically approved
2. Resource Efficiency in Internal Logistics: a Survey on Objectives and Performance
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Resource Efficiency in Internal Logistics: a Survey on Objectives and Performance
2011 (English)In: Proceedings of the 4th International Swedish Production Symposium, 3rd-5th of May, Lund, Sweden / [ed] Jan-Eric Ståhl, 2011, 303-311 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

A growing need for flexible supply chains and low cost make logistics more complex and critical for competition. Internal logistics is a crucial function in manufacturing industries but despite its potential as a competitive strategy it has not been in focus when discussing performance and efficiency. The aim of this paper is to show and discuss how manufacturing companies work with, perceive, and develop their internal logistic system. The paper is based on the results from a survey study of Swedish manufacturing companies, intended to give an outlook of the current situation and views. The results show that system performances and information aspects together with a balanced flow and committed staff are the most important success factors for a well functioning internal logistic system. The most important performance criteria are delivery precision and dependability together with customer service and quality degree. Competence and manpower are considered the most critical resources, but desired and ongoing improvement work rarely relate to these areas. Many lack extensive performance measurement systems for logistics, risking sub optimization. Most also lack a vision and strategy with their internal logistic system and many do not have anyone who is strategically responsible for operating and developing it.

Keyword
internal logistics, efficiency, performance, resources, survey
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-12241 (URN)
Conference
Swedish Production Symposium 2011
Projects
Lean Automation
Funder
XPRES - Initiative for excellence in production research
Available from: 2011-05-11 Created: 2011-05-11 Last updated: 2013-12-17
3. Automation in Healthcare Internal Logistics: A Case Study on Practice and Potential
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Automation in Healthcare Internal Logistics: A Case Study on Practice and Potential
2013 (English)In: International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management (IJITM), ISSN 0219-8770, Vol. 10, no 2Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The current demographic development puts even greater demands on the healthcare sector which already struggle with scarce resources and constant pressure of cost reductions. This paper aims at through a multiple case study describe how automation of hospital internal logistics can be a tool in improving the efficiency. The results include several potential implementations for patient transports, waste handling and small goods transports. However, organizational issues as lack of ownership and a strategic view render difficulties and needs to be dealt with. The authors conclude that transfer of knowledge and technology used in manufacturing industry would be beneficial. 

Keyword
Automation, internal logistics, healthcare, case study
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-12245 (URN)10.1142/S0219877013400129 (DOI)2-s2.0-84899851982 (ScopusID)
Projects
Lean AutomationXPRESLEAD - Lean Automation Development
Funder
XPRES - Initiative for excellence in production research
Available from: 2011-05-11 Created: 2011-05-11 Last updated: 2015-11-04Bibliographically approved
4. Realizing a Factory-in-a-Box Solution in a Local Manufacturing Environment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Realizing a Factory-in-a-Box Solution in a Local Manufacturing Environment
Show others...
2009 (English)In: 42nd CIRP Conference on Manufacturing Systems, Grenoble, France, 2009Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Meeting customer demands require manufacturing systems with a high degree of flexibility in the same time as the use of automation is becoming critical for competition. This is challenging, especially for SMEs with their inferior economical and competence conditions. This paper presents a new set up where the Factory-in-a-Box concept has been realized for a small manufacturing company with a profile of craftsmanship and small volumes. The objective of this paper is to discuss the possibility for SMEs to use automation and the Factory-in-a-box-concept to stay competitive and also the Factory-in-a-Box concept as means for realizing a Product-Service System.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Grenoble, France: , 2009
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-8969 (URN)
Conference
42nd CIRP Conference on Manufacturing Systems Sustainable Development of Manufacturing Systems Grenoble, Wed. 3 - Fri. 5, June 2009
Funder
XPRES - Initiative for excellence in production research
Available from: 2010-03-03 Created: 2010-03-03 Last updated: 2013-12-03Bibliographically approved

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