Today a major challenge for manufacturing companies embraces the growing complexity which often leads to higher costs and lower performance results of a company. The increasing number of product variants requires additional processes which have to be managed by the companies. Complexity has an impact on different departments of a company along the value-chain which, for instance, results in reduced performance in economies of scale in the supply chain, in higher lead times and inventory levels in manufacturing. It has different facets which have to be taken into consideration in the decision-making of companies. On the one hand the offerings of variety increases costs, on the other hand it can also provide product differentiation in the market, thus leading to higher market share and sales volume. Companies are faced with the challenge to find the optimal point between costs for complexity and the number of variants they offer. To ensure future company competitiveness, manufacturing companies need to set and implement new methods and adapt their structures of development and manufacturing to get the control over complexity and to meet the changing requirements of the economic surroundings under cost optimal conditions.
Complexity management related challenges of manufacturing companies:
• Control over complexity to reduce costs and to increase efficiency as well as to get a systematic utilization of competitive advantages
• To transform the increasing heterogeneous customer requirements (high external complexity) in a lean internal product and process structure (internal complexity)
• Sustainable complexity-aware design of products and processes
Altogether, we develop solutions together with companies in individual research projects as well as in state funded projects to meet the specific requirements of the companies as well as to ensure the applicability in the manufacturing industry. We hereby apply a mix of research strategies and instruments, such as case study research, survey research, and action research.