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Sustainable evolution of SMEs in response to socio-technical emergence
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Production Engineering, Production Systems.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6669-8374
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Technological advancements such as digitalization, cloud computing, and cyber-physical systems are transforming the present-day manufacturing industry. However, striving solely on the technological shift alone is insufficient to attain a sustainable competitive advantage. Therefore, an organization has to be treated as a socio-technical system where technological development has to go hand in hand with constant evolution of organizational aspects such as human development, knowledge management, organizational capability, etc.

A manufacturing organization can also be considered as a socio-technical system of systems (SoS). It is vulnerable to the stochastic and emergent nature of the external environment, such as varying market conditions, diverse customer demands, etc. To achieve a deterministic and effective output in response to emergence, it is necessary to have an utmost awareness of the system behaviour itself. This research proposes that understanding the organizational behaviour and the interfaces that exists within the system could help the organizations in responding effectively to emergence. This in turn helps in transformation from a response mechanism based on presumptions to a fact-based approach by considering both the environmental emergence and internal organizational knowledge. The main focus of this work is on organizational capability and knowledge management within manufacturing SMEs.

The first major contribution of this work is the utilization of Viable Systems Model (VSM) for understanding the behaviour of a manufacturing organization from a holistic perspective and identification of the knowledge interfaces (KIs) within the system. The type of knowledge required at each interface is determined and a KI mapping approach has been proposed to facilitate organizations in performing system analysis. The results are analysed using the empirical data for product development process from an industrial case study.

Identification of organizational challenges for SMEs going through strategic transformations and their impact on the knowledge interfaces is the second main contribution of this work. The VSM-based KI mapping approach is used in identifying the knowledge gaps through visualization of respective KIs.

Lastly, the work addresses common pitfalls and obstacles faced by the current manufacturing companies in terms of organizational capability and provides some guidelines and improvement suggestions for achieving an effective organization.

Improved organizational capabilities of SMEs also result in enhancing regional growth through retaining competence and provision of jobs. Therefore this work can also be considered as a step towards strengthening social sustainability.

Abstract [sv]

Teknologiska framsteg som digitalisering, molntjänster och cyber-fysiska system förvandlar dagens tillverknings industri. Att satsa bara på teknikskiften räcker inte för en hållbar konkurrensfördel. Därför en organisation måste räknas som ett socio-tekniskt system där tekniska utveckling går hand i hand med konstant evolution av organisatoriska aspekter som personalutveckling, kunskapshantering, organisationsförmåga, osv. En tillverknings organisation kan betraktas som ett socio-tekniskt `system av system'. Den är känslig mot stokastisk och uppdykande (emergent) karaktär av externa miljö som varierande marknad, diverse kundbehov osv. Det är viktig att ha yttersta kunskap och kännedom av systembeteendet så att dess output blir deterministisk och effektiv. Den här forskningen föreslår att förståelse av organisationsbettende och gränssnitt inuti systemet kan hjälpa till med att reagera effektiv till uppdykandet. Det i sin tur hjälper en organisation att förvandla till faktabaserad hanteringsmekanism istället för antagande. En sådan mekanism tar hänsyn till både kännedom av interna organisation och uppdykande från sin omgivning. Huvud fokusen ligger på organisationsförmåga och kunskapshantering inom små och medelstora företag (SMF). Den första insatsen av detta arbeta är utnyttjandet av Viable System Model (VSM) för att förstå beteendet av en produktionsorganisation med ett holistiskt perspektiv och identifiering av kunskapsgränssnitt eller knowledge interfaces (KI:er) i systemet. Typen av kunskap eller information som behövs är också identifierades för varje KI. Dessutom en mappning av KI som kan underlätta systemanalys arbete är också framtagen. Resultaten analyserades med hjälp av empirisk data för produktutvecklingsprocess från ett industriellt fall. Den andra insatsen är identifiering av organisatoriska utmaningar för SMF som håller på med strategiska ändringar och dess inverkan på kunskapsgränssnitten. VSM baserad KI mappning användes för att identifiera kunskapsgap genom att visualisera motsvarande KI:er. Den sista insatsen inriktar sig på vanliga fallgropar och hinder i sammanhanget av organisationsförmågor som dagens produktions företag står inför. Riktlinjer och förbättringsförslag för att effektivisera en organisation är också presenterades.

Förbättrade organisationsförmågor kan leda till en förstärk regional utväxt genom att bibehålla kompetens och tillhandhålla jobb. Därför detta arbete kan också betraktas som ett steg mot förstärkning av social hållbarhet.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2020. , p. 188
Series
TRITA-ITM-AVL ; 2020:28
Keywords [en]
knowledge management, organizational capability, socio-technical system, viable system model
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Production Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-273043ISBN: 978-91-7873-553-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-273043DiVA, id: diva2:1430848
Public defence
2020-06-15, Publikt via Zoom, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Disputationen via Zoom (online)

Available from: 2020-05-19 Created: 2020-05-18 Last updated: 2020-05-19Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The impact of non-holistic decision making on product development projects - A case study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The impact of non-holistic decision making on product development projects - A case study
2019 (English)In: 2019 IEEE International Symposium on Systems Engineering, IEEE conference proceedings, 2019Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE conference proceedings, 2019
Keywords
Product development, Systems thinking, Decision making
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-264039 (URN)
Conference
5th IEEE International Symposium on Systems Engineering, ISSE 2019, Tue, October 1, 2019 – Thu, October 3, 2019, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Note

QC 20191204

Available from: 2019-11-21 Created: 2019-11-21 Last updated: 2020-05-29Bibliographically approved
2. Maximizing sustainable competitive advantage for SMEs by improving new product development process - A case study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Maximizing sustainable competitive advantage for SMEs by improving new product development process - A case study
2020 (English)In: International Journal of Production Research, ISSN 0020-7543, E-ISSN 1366-588XArticle in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-273042 (URN)
Available from: 2020-05-06 Created: 2020-05-06 Last updated: 2020-05-29
3. Taming a white elephant: Challenges for SMEs in entering the automotive market
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Taming a white elephant: Challenges for SMEs in entering the automotive market
2019 (English)In: 2019 IEEE International Symposium on Systems Engineering, IEEE conference proceedings, 2019Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Moving up in the value chain, from customer-specific products towards high-end applications and services, while at the same time scaling up production to reach high volume market demands is not a trivial task for any manufacturing SME (Small-to-Medium Enterprise). The complexity of the challenge further increases if the goal is also to become a first-tier automotive supplier with its stringent quality and process demands. This paper presents a case study from a Swedish manufacturing SME facing all these three uphill tasks. For achieving these goals, the first and foremost step is the identification of challenges within each of these domains, i.e. being an automotive supplier, moving up in the value chain and meeting high volume production demands. This analysis requires that each domain is not considered as a stand-alone system, rather be evaluated holistically as a system-of-systems (SoS). The main aim of this paper is the identification of these challenges and further classifying them into three categories, namely; technical, organizational and strategic challenges. The results are derived using systems thinking tools and methods with focus on the entire life cycle stages. The work shall be used as an input to the next stage of performing a gap analysis to determine the existing strengths and weaknesses at the company as a part of the future work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE conference proceedings, 2019
Keywords
Systems Engineering, Automotive requirements, SME challenges
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-264040 (URN)
Conference
5th IEEE International Symposium on Systems Engineering, ISSE 2019, Tue, October 1, 2019 – Thu, October 3, 2019,Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Note

QC 20191204

Available from: 2019-11-21 Created: 2019-11-21 Last updated: 2020-05-29Bibliographically approved
4. Towards Life Cycle Management of Industrial Manufacturing Systems: A Systems Perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards Life Cycle Management of Industrial Manufacturing Systems: A Systems Perspective
2015 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-179084 (URN)
Conference
9th Annual IEEE International Systems Conference (SysCon),Vancouver, BC, Canada, April 13-16, 2015
Note

QC 20151211

Available from: 2015-12-10 Created: 2015-12-10 Last updated: 2020-05-29Bibliographically approved
5. Challenges and Opportunities in Introducing Systems Engineering Process and Tools in Traditionally Hydraulic Industry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Challenges and Opportunities in Introducing Systems Engineering Process and Tools in Traditionally Hydraulic Industry
2019 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE conference proceedings, 2019
Keywords
Systems Engineering, Process
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-264041 (URN)
Conference
5th IEEE International Symposium on Systems Engineering, ISSE 2019,At Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, October 2019 
Note

QC 20191129

Available from: 2019-11-21 Created: 2019-11-21 Last updated: 2020-05-29Bibliographically approved
6. Production System Innovation through Evolvability: Existing Challenges and Requirements
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Production System Innovation through Evolvability: Existing Challenges and Requirements
2015 (English)In: Journal of Machine Engineering, ISSN 1895-7595, Vol. 15, no 3, p. 50-64Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent mass-customization trends and increasing global competition has posed many challenges for the current manufacturing industry, particularly in Europe. Having a quick response to market fluctuations and adapting to customer demands while maintaining shorter lead times and low cost are a few of the major challenges. This paper focuses on Evolvable Production System (EPS), which is one of the emerging cyber physical systems in the manufacturing domain to address these challenges. The main objectives of this paper are: a) to identify the potential areas which may require modifications for the wide-scale implementation of the new manufacturing paradigms in the existing industrial setup, and b) to investigate the risks, challenges & opportunities associated with the concept realization in industry within each identified area. The results are derived based on both an extensive literature study as well as a survey carried out at an SME.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wroclaw University of Technology, 2015
Keywords
evolvable production systems, innovation, challenges
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Production Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-179079 (URN)
Conference
The 4th International Conference on Advanced Manufacturing Engineering and Technologies, Wroclaw, 16-19 September, 2015
Note

QC 20151211

Available from: 2015-12-10 Created: 2015-12-10 Last updated: 2020-05-29Bibliographically approved

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3132333435363734 of 40
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