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A simulation model of make-to-order manufacturing: a tool for investigating manufacturing planning and control issues

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Christian Hicks, Professor Paul Braiden



This paper describes the exploration of manufacturing planning and control issues in the capital goods industry using a simulation approach. The companies produce products which have deep and complex product structures and are produced in low volume on an engineer- or make-to-order basis (ETO, MTO). The work reported here draws on the results of surveys of companies involved in the manufacture of capital goods which identified their characteristics of ETO and MTO capital goods companies and their strategic issues. The planning and control approaches adopted in the manufacturing facilities and the difficulties experienced in the application of computer-aided production management (CAPM) systems were also examined. The simulation model developed enables complex manufacturing systems to be modelled and was configured to represent a typical ETO/MTO facility using industrial data. A series of full factorial experiments were performed to explore a number of production management problems identified in surveys including capacity planning, assembly planning and scheduling strategies. Conclusions are drawn on the effects on performance and capacity of: applying minimum set-up and processing times for both major and minor activities; using different data update periods and assembly lead times; and adopting various scheduling and despatching approaches. These results are compared with those obtained by other workers who used survey techniques alone, and have implications for the manufacturers of capital goods.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hicks C, Braiden PM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Production Research

Year: 2000

Volume: 38

Issue: 18

Pages: 4783-4810