Integrating Digital Technology in Industrial Production Systems - A Case Study of Decision Support and Production Planning in the Norwegian Manufacturing Industry
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The purpose of this thesis is to create a solid point of departure for further research on integration of digital technology in industrial production systems. The research is performed in the context of a larger cross-disciplinary research programme, SFI Manufacturing.An industrial production system play an essential role in most contemporary manufacturing firms. They provide for example decision support and production planning. In Hydro, the implementation of digital technology is organized through their Aluminum Production, Information and Control System (APICS). APICS is a custom-built industrial production system that integrates most of the company s operations digitally. The study employs structurational theory and the structurational model of technology in an intrinsic case study of APICS to answer the following research questions: RQ1: How is integration of digital technology in the industrial production system organized in collaboration between developers and users?RQ2: What are the intended and unintended consequences of this process? A series of semi-structured interviews and fieldwork were conducted at the company s smelters located at Årdalstangen and Sunndalsøra. Based on data from these visits, a thick description of the case formed the empirical basis for a qualitative case study. In an intrinsic case study it is the case itself that is of interest. Based on the data from the fieldwork, the study identify a series of patterns of how users and developers interact with technology. These patterns of interaction were identified at several levels and locations in the organization. Reviewing the patterns in terms of time, space and context using structuration theory, enabled the researcher to identify intended and unintended consequences. Based on this work, the study showed how the collaboration between users and developers has had profound impact on the development of the company s industrial production system over time and space. By providing a thick description of the case, further research is able to make us of the findings from this study.