We work Modulary

Most manufacturing firms do not know what flexibilities (defined by a range of product variations) are actually available from their current production systems. As a result, many firms routinely over-invest in building new production lines to produce new product variations, when in many cases their current production systems already have (or can easily be adapted to have) the flexibilities needed to produce new product variations. 

Vector Engineering is delighted to announce that it is now collaborating with Dr Ron Sanchez, Professor Emeritus at Copenhagen Business School and well-known expert in the design of modular systems. Working together, Dr Sanchez and Vector Engineering are now assisting firms in analyzing the strategically important flexibilities of their existing production systems and in specifying and designing new production systems with specific kinds of strategically important flexibilities. 

Dr. Ron Sanchez

Dr Sanchez (PhD, MIT 1991) has more than 25 years of experience working with manufacturing companies in developing modular platforms — modular product architectures supported by flexible production systems — that enable firms to increase their product variety, rapidly upgrade product performance, increase speed to market, and reduce total costs per unit by as much as 50% or more. Dr Sanchez has consulted on modular product architectures and flexible production systems with major companies around the world, including Philips, Siemens, General Electric (USA), Mercedes Benz, Renault-Nissan Alliance, Novo Nordisk, Vestas, Atlas-Copco, and Grundfoss, among others, as well as with small to medium-size enterprises in Denmark and the Nordic countries. He has also published more than 30 papers on modular system designs and their uses as enablers and drivers of firm strategies offering greater product variety, rapid upgradability, fast market response, and significant per-unit cost reductions.

Vector Engineering has been providing leading Danish companies with production system design and consulting services for over 10 years. Vector Engineering is now using the flexibility analysis methodology developed by Dr Sanchez to determine the actual range of product variations that a firm’s existing production systems are capable of producing. As firms face market demands for new product variations — often within increasingly short time frames — identifying and fully utilizing the flexibilities that a firm’s current production systems have, or can be adapted quickly to have, can often make it unnecessary to invest in building new production lines to meet new market demands.

Dr Sanchez will work directly with appropriate levels of management to identify the forms of production flexibility that are strategically important to each firm, and will then work with Vector Engineering’s staff to determine the extent of the relevant flexibilities versus inflexibilities in the firm’s current production system(s). Vector Engineering will then identify and parameterize the flexibility bottlenecks in the firm’s existing production system(s).  Working with each client firm’s own production specialists, Vector Engineering will propose solutions for removing the flexibility bottlenecks and improving the strategically important forms of flexibility in existing production systems.

The flexibility analysis methodology developed by Dr Sanchez can also be applied proactively to define the strategically important flexibility parameters for new production lines to assure that any new production capacity will have the strategically important flexibilities that a firm will need during the expected lifetime of the production system.

The unique benefits offered by the collaboration between Dr Sanchez and Vector Engineering are that we can create a dialog with senior management that can clarify what strategic benefits each firm really needs to get from its production system(s) — and then follow through to provide detailed technical production analysis and design that will be focused on solving current problems and creating future capabilities that matter most to each individual firm.

Whether our engagements are to analyze the strategically important flexibilities of existing production systems or to assist firms in designing new production systems with strategically important flexibilities, our objective is always to freely and openly show client firms how to use the flexibility analysis methodology so that each client develops its own capabilities in production flexibility analysis and design. Vector Engineering of course also stands ready to further support client firms in their flexibility analysis and design processes whenever needed.