Examining the Capability of Lean and Agile Manufacturing Techniques to Address the Needs of Wind Turbine Manufacturers

Korzeniewski, Thomas (2015) Examining the Capability of Lean and Agile Manufacturing Techniques to Address the Needs of Wind Turbine Manufacturers. DBA thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Abstract

Over the last few decades the wind power industry has grown very rapidly, and dozens of wind turbine manufacturers now operate all over the globe. Worldwide, installed capacity has increased tenfold in the last ten years, and the average rated power of the wind turbines available on the market has quadrupled in the same period (BWE 2010). However, in recent times wind turbine manufacturers have struggled to achieve profitable value performance, typically including wind turbine engineering, production, project management, logistics, installation, and commissioning (Knight 2012; McKenna 2012; Quilter 2012). The wind energy industry is customer-driven and regulated by local laws and guidelines. Both have a strong influence on the technology of wind turbines. Wind turbine manufacturers attempt to provide wind turbines that fit the specific requirements of each market or customer exactly. This regularly leads to a high variety of products, which are designed to fit many different market and customer demands. Furthermore, in times of overcapacity, markets demand that product manufacturers are more responsive and provide short and reliable lead times for customer-specific products (Albrecht 1999). The wind turbine market currently faces these challenges (Knight 2012; McKenna 2012; Quilter 2012). In such market environments, an excellent strategy planning with innovative elements, e.g. in product development, manufacturing procedures, the supply chain or the sales channels is inevitably a key factor for companies looking to maintain and/or improve their competitive position and profit outlooks (Albrecht 1999). The overall goal of this research is to investigate whether lean or agile manufacturing techniques can help manufacturers respond to these challenges. In particular, to evaluate whether lean or agile manufacturing techniques exist that have the capability to improve the value performance of wind turbine manufacturers and simultaneously enable sufficient product variety, as demanded by the different markets. The evaluation of the identified manufacturing strategies, concepts and methods resulted in Mass Customization being chosen as most suitable for wind turbines, due to its capabilities for managing a large number of product variants and a reduction of inventory. Finally, the manufacturing concept Mass Customization was implemented in a single case study at a wind turbine manufacturer, in order to investigate the physical and organizational impacts caused by the implementation. The research showed that there are lean and agile manufacturing techniques that address the needs of wind turbine manufacturers. The research further showed that the implementation of Mass Customization had a significant impact on the customer order process of a wind turbine manufacturer. Besides certain product preparations, a timely and comprehensive communication concept was required. The effects of both proper and poor project measures became evident in the case study. In summary, the research proved that Mass Customization has the capability to create corporate-wide and seamless communication on the product and customer order process at a wind turbine manufacturer, which can create the basis for an improved value performance.

Item Type: Thesis (DBA)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Carter, Adeleacarter@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Adamson, Ivanaiadamson2@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Uncontrolled Keywords: Wind turbines, supply chain; Wind power; Wind energy; Market responsiveness
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD2350.8 Large industry, Factory system, Big business
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Business School > Business and Human Resource Management
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2016 14:26
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2016 11:08
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/3839

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