Transferring Knowledge on the Shop Floor during Production Insourcing - A case study in the Electronics Industry
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Production transfer is defined as the transfer of production from one manufacturing environment to another from a sending source to a receiving source. There are four different components of a production transfer: Knowledge transfer, administrative transfer, supply chain transfer, and physical transfer. A production transfer decision entails a relocation strategy such as outsourcing, insourcing, offshoring or backshoring. Relocation strategies involves decisions like what strategy to use and selection of supplier and location. A production transfer is a part of a relocation process and is divided into three phases: Preparation of the transfer, physical execution, and start-up of production at the new facility. This paper will focus on the shop floor knowledge transfer part of the production transfer during production insourcing. Shop floor knowledge is knowledge on how to operate the manufacturing equipment and knowledge about the production of a product. Decisions to insource production have been increasing in numbers during recent years. However, literature on insourcing is scarce, especially on operational decisions like transfer of shop floor knowledge. There is a lack of established frameworks and methods targeting knowledge transfer on the shop floor in production insourcing situations. Thus, the overall aim of the thesis is to develop a framework to guide practitioners when deciding what means to apply for knowledge transfer during production insourcing. This is achieved through the main research question: How can shop floor knowledge be transferred during production insourcing? The main research question is addressed through two additional research questions: 1) What are the means that can facilitate shop floor knowledge transfer during production insourcing? 2) How to select means for shop floor knowledge transfer during production insourcing? This thesis is divided into two parts, a literature review and a case study. The literature review provides theoretical insight in topics of production insourcing, shop floor knowledge, transfer of shop floor knowledge, and risk in PT s. Several means for transfer of both tacit and explicit knowledge were identified in the literature review. In addition, a proposed conceptual framework is presented based on literature findings in this chapter. The case study describes a production insourcing case. Several interviews have been conducted to collect information on the case. The interviewees are key people in the production transfer and were selected based on their role in the production transfer. During the interviews the interviewees evaluated the case based on the proposed conceptual framework. The risk factors were evaluated as low, medium or high risk and means were selected for risk factors evaluated with either medium or high risk. The case study revealed that the proposed conceptual framework uncovered several production transfer risk factors that was not previously accounted for, and was a useful resource when evaluating what knowledge transfer means to apply in the case.