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Assessment of newness in a production system: Experiences from the heavy duty vehicle industry


Publication Type:

Licentiate Thesis


Mälardalen University


In today’s global competitive environment the creation of innovations in both products and production systems in manufacturing companies are of increasing importance. When, for example, expectations increase for reduced numbers of faults for each new generation of a product or a production system, shorter time to market and volume, improved productivity, and profitability, there is also a smaller window of opportunity and margin for mistakes. An effective and efficient product and production development is a necessity in order to retain and improve companies’ competitive capabilities while continuous improvements and changes of both products and production systems are made in ever more frequent intervals. Companies need to manage the changes in a structured and systematic manner. One way to study this phenomenon is by analyzing the degree of newness and the amount of new content. Current research in the area of newness has mostly focused on newness from a market or product perspective with clear improvement potential regarding definitions and theory that includes newness in a production system. Earlier research within this area further highlights opportunities to improve the understanding for, and management of, newness in several different phases of a development project. Based on the background described above, the overall aim of this licentiate thesis is to improve management of newness in a production system. Specifically, the objective is to develop a framework supporting the assessment of newness in a production system during product and production development, from the early phases until start-of-production. In order to achieve the objective, a literature review and three empirical studies were made. The first empirical study was a case study focusing on production system newness in an early phase of a product platform project. The second was a retrospective case study focusing on newness in four assembly system development projects. The third was a case study focusing on newness in 22 projects at a production project management department. All empirical studies were made related to different variants of complex sub-components within the heavy-duty vehicle industry. The results from this research contribute with new insights on newness in a production system, and new models for how newness can be evaluated. Further, to improve the understanding of newness in a production system, a proposed framework is presented that includes evaluation of newness at four levels: project management department level, project level, production process level, and sub-process level. The proposed framework is expected to be well received by practitioners working with project management in production, production developers, and production engineers who serve as the connecting link between product and production development at manufacturing companies. Finally, the prosed framework is suggested to be further validated in industry as a proposal for future research.


author = {Joel Schedin},
title = {Assessment of newness in a production system: Experiences from the heavy duty vehicle industry},
isbn = {9789174853483},
month = {October},
year = {2017},
publisher = {M{\"a}lardalen University},
url = {}