Strategic Direction to Manage Increased Production Volumes Exploring Challenges and a Possible Strategic Direction for PowerCell’s Production System

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Master's Thesis
Quality and operations management (MPQOM), MSc
Petersson, Sara
Norrby, Sofia
A prominent challenge in today’s society is to decarbonize industries that rely heavily on fossil fuels, such as the transport sector. One way of doing this is by utilizing hydrogen, for example with hydrogen fuel cells that generate electricity with no other emissions than heat and water. PowerCell is a cleantech company with a long history of research and development within hydrogen fuel cells that has experienced a large organizational growth during the past years. Recently, PowerCell started to commercialize their fuel cell solutions, and they are today offering highly customized fuel cell solutions to their customers. With the anticipated growth of the fuel cell market, organizational preparedness for higher production volumes is required. To achieve this, there is a need to evaluate PowerCell’s current production strategy and decide on a strategic direction related to the production system. Therefore, this thesis aimed at identifying challenges related to PowerCell’s current production system and based on these provide guidance to PowerCell in developing a strategic direction for their production system. The study began with a pre-study consisting of a literature review, observations, and interviews with employees at PowerCell. Based on the results from the pre-study, a framework was developed to provide a basis for creating a comprehensive production strategy. Furthermore, in the main study, the framework was used to evaluate PowerCell’s current production strategy which led to an identification of 65 strategic decisions made related to the production system. Each decision was evaluated, and challenges and initial solutions were proposed. Then, the identified challenges were clustered into six prominent challenging areas: insufficient cross-functional communication, a lack of clear production strategy obstructs development of the production system, low degree of manufacturability of products, the high degree of customization obstructs managing increased production volumes, inadequate quality management efforts, and non-value-adding work in the production system. Each of these prominent challenging areas were addressed with a proposed strategic direction, enabling creating a comprehensive production strategy.
production strategy , production process , mass customization , do-or-buy decisions , supplier relationships , quality management , Lean Production , product and process innovation , DFMA , production planning and control
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