Visibility and variability in industrial operations
Holmaranta, Mike (2017)
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Protection and promotion of flow is the fundamental principle that businesses and the rules and tools they use should be built upon. Flow of information and materials must be relevant to the required output of the system. Visibility means relevant information for decision making. Variability is summation of differences between plans and what happens. Improved flow results from less variability. A change in variability is caused by a change in visibility. Variation experienced by an organization decreases when access to relevant information increases. Variation experienced by an organization increases when visibility is blocked or inhibited, or irrelevant information for decision making is generated. The importance of visibility for flow based operating models is only rarely addressed in literature. With a constructivism approach, this thesis investigates how visibility is understood and implemented in the relevant literature and in the operations of the case company. The results of the research are represented according to a conceptual framework that is developed based on the review of relevant literature of the subjects of visibility and variability. The research is concluded with a proposal for potential future developments in the case organization and in relevant literature. The potential development areas are specific for the operations of the case company business units but generalizable for other organizations and studies.