Continuous improvement of manufacturing systems with the concept of functional periodicity
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To compete effectively in the dynamic global marketplace, manufacturing companies have to maintain a high level of responsiveness to remain competitive. This paper presents a theoretic framework for the installation of mechanisms in order to control the effects of the time-dependent combinatorial complexity caused by the uncertainty of maintaining the fulfillment of once defined functional requirements for a manufacturing system. Inspired by the idea of a system that automatically detects, diagnoses, and repairs identified areas of inefficiency, the objective of this research is to find mechanisms that anticipate market or environmentally driven events and help to set up the manufacturing system in advance in order to maximize total system efficiency. The paper builds on previous research about system complexity and on recent findings of a research project conducted in an Italian manufacturing company. Starting from the overall objective of “enhanced survivability” for the company and its manufacturing system, functional system requirements are deducted mapping between functional and system design domain, first on a time-independent basis. With the help of the scenario-technique, time-dependent influence is shown and improvement strategies are developed, using functional periodicity as a trigger point for their release. The first results from practical application show very promising results which will be discussed in the paper.