Models and practices of cooperation between R&D and Engineering in an ETO operations environment
Embargoed until 2020-08-03
Duchi, Aldo S.
- Doctoral Thesis
Product-variety management in today’s market is, most of the time no longer an order-winning choice, but an order qualifier. This means that in turbulent market conditions, customers seek out companies that offer shorter delivery times within a customers’ price tolerance. In this context, engineer-to-order (ETO) is defined as an operations strategy that is oriented around a high degree of product customization and associated engineering processes for quickly fulfilling customer specifications. The focus of this thesis lies in the design and engineering activities of companies adopting an ETO strategy. This encompasses product development processes – usually managed by the Research and Development (R&D) department – and order-specification processes – usually managed by the Engineering department. These processes have a significant impact on the value chain’s downstream material processes, like manufacturing, and therefore significantly impact the company’s overall performance. A literature review confirms that limited advice has been provided on how ETO companies should manage distinct product development and order-specification challenges and opportunities.Discussions with company representatives further confirm the potential effectiveness and efficiency improvements that could be achieved by implementing new organizational practices and IT tools. The primary objective of this thesis is therefore to develop models and practices of cooperation between R&D and Engineering that contribute to effective and efficient product-development and order-specification processes in ETO companies. Methodologically, a case-research strategy is adopted in this thesis. The results presented are based on two series of multiple case studies of eight companies from within the mechanical engineering sector. The main contributions of this thesis are as follows. (I) A three-step methodological approach to assess the ETO environment is presented: Assessment of product variety and customization, modelling of the ETO process, and measurement of operational performance. (II) Four interaction models between R&D and Engineering are examined, contingent variables influencing the development and specification of ETO products are identified, and their influence on the interaction models is discussed. (III) An information and knowledge-reuse situations framework is introduced; a two-horizon, short- and long-term ETO-enabling process is presented; and ETO-enabling organizational practices and IT tools are summarized. Show more
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ContributorsExaminer: Schönsleben, Paul
Examiner: Meboldt, Mirko
SubjectEngineer-to-order (ETO); Operations Management; Product Development; Supply Chain Management
Organisational unit02120 - Dep. Management, Technologie und Ökon. / Dep. of Management, Technology, and Ec.
03326 - Schönsleben, Paul (emeritus)
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