Product Life-Cycle Disposition Model - Disposition Conceptualising for Design Science
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Tuote-elinkaaridispositiomalli - Dispositiokonseptointi tuotekehityksessä
Several companies in the Finnish manufacturing industry produce partly configurable products that include one-of-a-kind components. One-of-a-kind components cause challenges within companies, as opposed to fully configurable products, which include only standard and configurable components. Identifying and managing these challenges is hard, as the subject of product structure affecting the product’s life-cycle such as order-delivery process is complex and requires a holistic approach. This research aims to provide a description of differences of characteristics and behaviour between partly configurable product structures and fully configurable product structures, in a chosen scope of product life-cycle phases. This is done by developing a conceptual framework, Product Life-cycle Disposition Model (PLDM), which is an explanatory model to describe dispositions and how to manage them in order to achieve a company’s targets. The research applies Design Research methodology in the research process. The initial version of the model is constructed based on the literature review, theory basis and state of the art around Design Science and Systems Engineering. The explanatory model is demonstrated and further developed in a case study with a company from the Finnish manufacturing industry. In the case study, the current company’s partly configurable product and its captured relevant dispositions are compared to a scenario of fully configurable product. From the overall analysis of the dispositions results and recommendations are drawn. The case study indicates that the PLDM framework resembles the real world situation in business and the challenge the manufacturing industry currently faces in Finland. Partly configurable product structures are a good example of the effect the product structure has to the overall product life-cycle. The results of the case study examining the company's product indicated that the order-specific product structures caused invalidity of the information in three chosen phases of the product's life-cycle. The results also represented recommendations for actions to solve the problems following the PLDM framework. The recommended actions were directed to changing the product’s life-cycle’s characteristics. This research concludes the PLDM is comprehensive in relation to the chosen theories and state of the art in Design Science and Systems Engineering. It contributes to the Design Science by providing a cyclic model to develop the product’s characteristics and product’s life-cycle system towards its requirements and targets, derived from product’s life-cycle. The novelty of the PLDM is that it uses a Flow model to depict the information, work, material and control flows in the life-cycle process. The PLDM provides a conceptual framework for the manufacturing industry to develop their integrated product and process systems. The PLDM is seen as part of a broader research area, which aims to introduce a supportive tool for consultation purposes.