A methodology for determining feasibility and choice of method for cellular manufacturing
MetadataShow full item record
This research addressed two very fundamental issues in cellular manufacturing. These two issues were organizational feasibility for the implementation of cellular manufacturing and the choice of method approach for part-family/machine grouping if feasibility was adjudged, given organizational and manufacturing characteristics. The approach to part-family/machine grouping may follow one of the following options—a design-oriented approach, a production-oriented approach, or a combination of both. An examination of published literature, in English, on cellular manufacturing indicated the need for this research. A methodology was developed to address the above issues. A Conceptual Flow Model (CFM) was first developed to structure and rationalize the research problem. The concept of the CFM originated from the basic input-output production model in literature. This model helped the formulation of the research problem by rationalizing that a new manufacturing approach, cellular manufacturing, was feasible for an organization if certain performance measures were weak and if certain criteria regarding the products, available resources, procedures used, and organizational characteristics were met. On the other hand, the model proposed that an organization could remain functionally arranged and improve its existing procedures for better performance if these criteria were not met. This work, however, did not include this latter part of the model as a research issue. Once feasibility for the implementation of cellular manufacturing was adjudged, the model hypothesized that a part-family/machine grouping approach was necessary for the initial design of the cells. This approach was to be selected from the design-oriented approach, the production-oriented approach, or a combination of both. This model formulation enabled the identification of important attributes pertinent to the research problem. The attributes were identified through a comprehensive review of applicable literature in cellular manufacturing. The attributes for the feasibility issue were clustered into four categories. These were the products and processes category, the resources category, the procedures category, and the organizational characteristics category. The attributes pertinent to the choice of method issue were clustered into the product category, the resources category, and the objectives category. The identification of the attributes was followed by an explanation of their relevance. A set of propositions was developed next to relate the level of an attribute to the feasibility for the implementation of cellular manufacturing and the choice of method issues. The propositions further strengthened the theoretical background of this research through the use of past research and enabled the construction of the rules necessary for resolving the choice of method issue. A complete set of definitions and specifications was then developed for each of the attributes for both issues. The purpose of the specifications was to enable the measurement of the attribute levels through developed measures of each attribute. All the attributes were weighted according to their perceived importance. A scoring model was developed to determine a score for feasibility for cellular implementation. This score represented a calculated measure of an organization’s feasibility for the implementation of cellular manufacturing. A rule-based procedure was developed to determine the choice of method for part-machine grouping. To verify the relevance of the attributes, their measures and weights, and (indirectly) the propositions, companies engaged in cellular manufacturing were visited and data pertinent to the feasibility analysis and choice of method procedures were collected. Valuable information was gained from these visits, and it was found that some attribute measures will require possible refinement in future research. This field research also indicated the possibility of refinement of the feasibility matrix constructed from the feasibility analysis procedure. Certain attributes pertinent to the choice of method procedure also may require refinement in future research. For comparison purposes, data were also collected from a company with a functional layout and used with the scoring model. In summary, the objective of developing a framework for determining organizational feasibility for the implementation of cellular manufacturing and the choice of method approach for part-family/machine grouping if feasibility was adjudged, given organizational and manufacturing characteristics, was undertaken. The framework was developed and its components verified through field work.
- Doctoral Dissertations