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Characteristics of changeable systems across value chains

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Engineering changes (ECs) are inevitable for businesses due to increasing innovation, shorter lifecycles, technology and process improvements and cost reduction initiatives. The ECs could propagate and cause further changes due to existing system dependencies, which can be challenging. Hence, change management (CM) is a relevant discipline, which aims to reduce the impact of changes. EC assessment methods form the basis of CM that support in assessing system dependencies and the impact of changes. However, there is limited understanding of which factors influence the change-ability across value chains (VCs). This research adopted a VC approach to EC assessment. Dependencies in products and processes were captured, followed by the risk (i.e. likelihood x impact) assessment of ECs using change prediction method (CPM). Four case studies were conducted from two industries (automotive, furniture) to identify design (product) and manufacturing (process) elements with high risk to be affected by ECs. Based on the case results, characteristics were identified that influence change-ability across VC. This contributed to the CM domain while businesses could also use the results to assess ECs across VC, and improve the design of products and processes by increasing their changeability across VC e.g. by proactive decoupling or reactive handling of system dependencies.



Changeability, product architecture, engineering change prediction, manufacturing, system dependencies, design structure matrix

Journal Title

International Journal of Production Research

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Informa UK Limited


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Birmingham City Council (14005)
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), UK under Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI)