Production Management: Design of a Production System – Page 2

Industrial Approaches to the Design of Production System

Concept Generating and Concept-Driven Approaches

It is important to note that concept-generating or concept driven approaches have an influence on the process of design within companies (Neumann, Winkel, Medbo, Magneberg, & Mathiassen, 2006, p. 907). In addition, a supplier-driven approach also has a role to play in the development of an effective production design. This involves the handing over of part of or the entire production system design process to the suppliers of a production system, and allowing them to propose various alternatives based on the detailed specifications of requirements. A concept-driven approach involves a situation where something external such as an actor’s interest or a pre-existing design drives the design process. On the other hand, a constraint-driven approach involves the following of internal logic in the design process, where the requirements and the situation are analyzed and efforts are put in working towards a solution. In the constraint-guided situation such as in the case where requirements such as the product type, number of variants, and volume guide the design, irreversible decisions are made, through which the design options are eliminated(Bellgran & Kristina, 2009, p. 123). This leads to the arising of new constraints, and the process goes on until the manufacturer is left with only one alternative. Thus, a constraint driven approach leads to the generation of a new system solution.

In the concept-generating approach, the stages in the general design process are adhered to by the design process (Bellgran & Kristina, 2009, p. 124). On the other hand, a concept-driven approach involves the application of a preferred concept of the production system, which is given at the start of the design process, leading to exclusion of the conceptual phase of design. Due to the predetermined consequences of concept-driven and concept-generating processes of design, it is evident that the design of systems of production should be developed at the manufacturing facility. When it comes to the supplier-driven approach, the manufacturing companies are involved at different degrees. In accordance with the system supplier’s perspective, the process of design can be of either a concept-driven character, or concept generating character (Neumann, Winkel, Medbo, Magneberg, & Mathiassen, 2006, p. 906). As such, situation-dependent standard solutions are mostly used by the system suppliers. Thus, this approach mostly facilitates the application of the concept-driven approach.

Design Approaches and Evaluation

The different design approaches used by manufacturing companies reflect the differences in the activities facilitated during the process of design. Hence, the evaluation-related activities are also affected by the type of approach applied. In the case of the concept-generating approach, extensive efforts of evaluation are required during the process of design. In terms of the conceptual level, several concepts that required evaluation are present, with an extensive evaluation required during the process of design than after the process of implementation (Neumann, Winkel, Medbo, Magneberg, & Mathiassen, 2006, p. 910). Before various decisions are made during the process of design, informal evaluations are carried out, and the entire system of production is evaluated in the course of the design process. As such, the resulting solution of the design process is already accepted in the course of the process as it is evaluated and progress approved.

As earlier noted, a concept generating approach is associated with designing of a new system while a concept-driven approach involves improving on an already existing system. Such a difference between improvement and design influences the evaluation process. In the improvement approach, the generated solutions are evaluated against the normal or standard conditions of operation that are aimed at by the design process (Bellgran & Kristina, 2009, p. 125). Thus, the process is based on definite goals. On the other hand, the goal in the design approach may fail to be clear, diverting the focus towards comparison of solutions during the process of design. As such, the evaluation is not based on a definite set of goals. In addition, in terms of advocating for the principles of production, the concept driven and the concept-generating design approaches provide for two distinct evaluation perspectives. As such, in the case of the concept-driven approach, the production system’s ability to fulfill the principles advocated for in production is questioned. On the contrary, in the case of the concept-generating approach, the appropriateness of the advocated principles is questioned (Bellgran & Kristina, 2009, p. 126). The supplier-driven design approach results more solutions of the production system than the concept-driven and concept-generating approaches, which only lead to one solution. Such suggestions of a variety of solutions by a manufacturing company suppliers leads to two evaluation perspectives. At this point, the extent to which the suggested system of production meets the requirements and the reliability, cooperativeness, and trustworthy of the supplier of the production system are questioned.

Downstream Effects of an Ineffective Design Process System

Insufficient considerations during the design process of a production system are bound to allow for problems during the physical system of production. One pair of the common problems that arise in such a case includes the running-in and implementing problems. These problems increase the cost of development and extend the product’s time-to-market (Neumann, Winkel, Medbo, Magneberg, & Mathiassen, 2006, p. 912). On the other hand, the system may experience difficulties related to the maintenance of the system of production and production disturbances. These problems reduce the productivity of the company, and increase the cost of the product, thus reducing profitability. In other cases, the work organization may fail to fit the technical system, an aspect that reduces productivity and ultimately profitability. It is difficult to predict the future needs of the consumers, an aspect that leaves consumers at a dilemma of either increasing or reducing the production system’s capacity. Poor analysis of preconditions during the design process leads to a need for changes in the technical and work organization immediately or at a later stage (Duda, 2000, p. 120). Late changes in the product design may also necessitate system changes in production. It is evident that there is a probability of occurrence of such problems. Nevertheless, it is more difficult to foresee the extent to which these problems would occur, and why they would occur. The process of designing production systems is thus important in considering future requirements of the product.

Proper designing of a production system leads to reduced problems, and minimizes, although does not eliminate, the future needs for changes at different points when the system has already been developed. On the other hand, imperfect designing of the production system in terms of performance quality, product flow, and material flow, among other issues can lead to high costs because of high tied-up capital, low ability to deliver, rejected products, and low reliability among other problems (Bellgran & Kristina, 2009, p. 126). Any faults and deficiencies in the system design or engineering manifest themselves during the implementation of the production system.

Apart from the problems experienced in the production system, problems can also be found in the way the system design process is carried out. Inefficient designing of production systems may lead to various disadvantages. Delays that compromise the original timetables, poorer performance of the production system than estimated, and costs exceeding the original budget and investments are the common problems experienced in the manufacturing companies during the designing and implementation of a new production system(Neumann, Winkel, Medbo, Magneberg, & Mathiassen, 2006, p. 915). As such, the manner in which the process of system design is carried out is primary to the production system’s success and profitability. Thus, it is important for emphasis to be placed on the performance of the product system designing in order to foster improvements.


In this report, it is evident that the development of a robust system of production during the design process provides an organization with the capacity to deal with any aspect of the changing environment. Production systems of any manufacturing company ought to be robust in order to facilitate the production of high quality products that meet the demand of consumers, and to promote production costs that increase the company’s profitability. Most manufacturing companies in the current society spend most of their time dealing with disturbances that arise during various stages of the productions system’s life cycle. The overall efficiency of equipment is an issue of great concern to such companies. The cost of production is of great importance to such companies in the view of competing efficiently and effectively in the market. The design process forms the most appropriate phase for adjustment of a robust system as compared to the operation phases, in which different parameters of the system are already set. In order to promote the robustness of production systems within manufacturing companies, it is important for manufacturers to not only prepare for changes in the product generation, but also to prepare for changes in the system generation. An approach that promotes the development of a robust system of production and prevents the downstream impact of a non-robust system, improves the general manufacturing industry profitability.


  • Bellgran, M., & Gullander. (2003). Disturbance Handling i Complex Manufacturing Systems During Early Life-Cycle Phases . Proceedings of the 8th IFAC Symposium on Automated Systems Based on Human Skill and Knowledge, (pp. 22-24). Göteborg, Sweden.
  • Bellgran, M., & Kristina, E. (2009). Production Development: Design and Operation of Production Systems. Berlin: Springer Science & Business Media.
  • Duda, J. W. (2000). A Decomposition-Based Approach to Linking Strategy, Performance Measurement, and Manufacturing System Design, Doctoral Thesis. Boston: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Neumann, W. P., Winkel, J., Medbo, L., Magneberg, R., & Mathiassen, S. E. (2006). Production system design elements influencing productivity and ergonomics – A case study of parallel and serial flow strategies. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 26(8), 904-923.
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