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Facilitating Automation Development in Internal Logistics Systems
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering. Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering, Industrial Economics and Organisation. (IPR (Innovation och Produktrealisering))ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6062-2173
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The internal logistics system includes all activities connected with managing the flow of materials within the physical limits of a facility. This system is an important part of operations in need of increased focus and continuous improvements. Automation is one possible tool with a previously confirmed great potential to improve internal logistics. Despite this great potential and a growing trend of using automation in the area, internal logistics activities are still not automated to the same extent as other parts of operations. The overall aim of this research is therefore to develop knowledge that supports the successful use of automation in internal logistics systems.

The automation development process has been identified as critical for the success of the use of automation. With the overall aim of the research in mind, the objective of this thesis is to develop a framework facilitating the automation development process in internal logistics systems. To help fulfil the objective, empirical data have been collected through five case studies and a survey study. During the empirical studies, the process of improving the internal logistics system and the automation development process have been analysed and the focus has been on identifying challenges and facilitators for the successful use and development of automation in internal logistics systems.

The findings indicate a poor awareness of both current and desired performance of the internal logistics system at the companies studied. In addition, automation development is often conducted in an unstructured and poorly supported manner and there is often insecurity regarding what steps and actions to take. Foremost, the findings indicate a poor base for proper evaluation and decisions during automation development in internal logistics systems. This is analysed and concluded as a cause of unclear goals and requirements and the lack of a strategic view with regard to both internal logistics operations and the use and development of automation.

A framework, including proposed guidelines to overcome the observed challenges by including identified factors facilitating successful automation development in internal logistics systems has been developed. The core of the framework is a proposed process model for automation development in an internal logistics context. Due to the identified importance and the lack of a strategy linked to and supporting the automation development process, the framework also includes a proposed model for an internal logistics strategy as well as a proposed model for an automation strategy. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University , 2014. , 124 p.
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 150
Keyword [en]
automation development, internal logistics, automation, systems development
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-23685ISBN: 978-91-7485-130-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-23685DiVA: diva2:680303
Public defence
2014-02-13, Raspen, Smedjegatan 37, Eskilstuna, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
LEAD - Lean Automation Development
Funder
XPRES - Initiative for excellence in production researchVINNOVA
Available from: 2013-12-17 Created: 2013-12-17 Last updated: 2015-02-05Bibliographically 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, Published 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, Published 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
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-12241 (URN)
Conference
4th International Swedish Production Symposium, 3rd-5th of May, Lund, Sweden
Projects
Lean Automation
Funder
XPRES - Initiative for excellence in production research
Available from: 2011-05-11 Created: 2011-05-11 Last updated: 2017-04-07Bibliographically approved
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 (Scopus ID)
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: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
4. Automation in internal logistics: strategic and operational challenges
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Automation in internal logistics: strategic and operational challenges
2014 (English)In: International Journal of Logistics Systems and Management, ISSN 1742-7967, E-ISSN 1742-7975, Vol. 18, no 4, 538-558 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Automation in internal logistics is an enabler to increase overall competitiveness in an organisation. However, its use is currently limited. The main objective of this paper is to highlight the existing strategic and operational challenges to using and developing automation in internal logistics. A three-phased empirical study has been conducted, including case studies and a survey. The findings reveal a lack of responsibility for, and insight in current state of logistics operations as well as a lack of vision and strategy giving directions for desired future state of operations. In addition, the actual automation projects are hindered by poorly defined and supported processes. It is concluded that functional strategies for internal logistics and automation can give the support needed along with process models for automation projects. The content and application of these strategies and models are suggested. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
United States: , 2014
National Category
Engineering and Technology Other Engineering and Technologies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-23409 (URN)10.1504/IJLSM.2014.063984 (DOI)2-s2.0-84905258138 (Scopus ID)
Projects
XPRESLEAD - Lean Automation Development
Available from: 2013-12-10 Created: 2013-12-10 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
5. Designing internal logistics systems fit for the future
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Designing internal logistics systems fit for the future
2013 (English)In: 20th EurOMA conference: Operations Management At the Heart of Recovery, Dublin, Ireland, 2013Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In a manufacturing context, it is vital to be able to adjust the internal logistics system to both current and future needs. Through a longitudinal case study, industrial needs and challenges associated with the process of developing and redesigning the internal logistics system have been analyzed to identify prerequisites for successful development. The findings show that the progress and success of the development process is strongly affected by the internal customer’s ability to specify needs and requirements. The conclusions include the need for a clear logistics vision and strategy to set the directives for the future design of the system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Dublin, Ireland: , 2013
Keyword
Internal logistics, systems design and development, development process
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-22242 (URN)
Conference
20th EurOMA conference, 7th-12th June 2013, Dublin, Ireland
Projects
XPRESLEAD - Lean Automation Development
Available from: 2013-11-04 Created: 2013-10-31 Last updated: 2015-11-04Bibliographically approved
6. A model for the formulation of an automation strategy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A model for the formulation of an automation strategy
2012 (English)In: 4th World Conference P&OM/19th EUROMA Conference, 2012Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Automation technology can, if used correctly, increase an organization’s competitiveness. An automation strategy can provide support in finding the right type and level of automation as well as provide structure and routines for how to implement and work with automation. This paper addresses how an automation strategy can be developed, what it should include and how it can be used. A model for an automation strategy is suggested based on, and exemplified with, the findings from a case study. The importance of aligning the automation strategy with the overall business mission and vision as well as other strategies is stressed.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-17340 (URN)9789491621000 (ISBN)
Conference
4th World Conference P&OM/19th EUROMA Conference, Amsterdam, 1-5 July 2012
Funder
XPRES - Initiative for excellence in production research
Available from: 2012-12-20 Created: 2012-12-20 Last updated: 2013-12-17Bibliographically approved

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