Enabling Communication and Collaboration by Building an Infrastructure for a more Accurate and Effective Information Flow

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Arnoldsson, Lovisa
Carbonell Peraldo, Karen Del Carmen
Communication, collaboration, and information are crucial elements for companies’ success but are often the root cause of errors in projects. The larger the company is the more complex the information and communication flow will be. At the same time, more and more data are available for companies which increase the risk of overloading information that can end up with important data/information being lost or hidden in an overflow of documentation, or even in not using any of them. The aim of this research was to identify important factors and flaws in communication and collaboration in the New Product Development process to investigate the possibility to build an infrastructure that can support the data/information flow as well as to investigate if a general visualization tool could be implemented and applied to all cases at Volvo Construction Equipment. The research involves the three main departments of the company: Operations, Technology and Purchasing, and different functions within them. Since the scope of the Masters’ Thesis is quite wide, a mix of business research methods and the Six Sigma methodology was applied using both quantitative and qualitative approaches that followed the DMAIC cycle. The business research approaches were used for data collection that were analyzed and served as a base for answering three research questions. The findings of the research show that there are several different factors and flaws that influence the possibility of building an infrastructure such as organizational structure, accessibility to the systems, amount of standardization, what communication channels that are used, the informal and formal knowledge structures, transferring knowledge, what storage system for information sharing is used, and how to measure performance in order to be able to improve continuously. The literature as well as responses from survey and interviews indicated that it was not possible to use one single visualization tool to meet all different demands that could be implemented. That would result in a huge and costly visualization tool where data/information could be lost or hidden inside the tool. The researchers found that the most crucial elements for a visualization tool to be successful is that it must fulfill a purpose, present the right information as well as enabling the user to transfer the information into knowledge. Therefore, the different features used in a visualization tool will vary from situation to situation. Some of the desired features that arose from Volvo Construction Equipment were planning and Virtual Reality. The researchers advised the company to further investigate if a Kanban Board and Virtual Reality could be the visualization tools needed for the company.
Information Flow, Communication, Collaboration, New Product Development, Knowledge Sharing, Visualization, Six Sigma, DMAIC, Quality Indicators, Standardization, Infrastructure
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