Aspects of design for a spare parts provisioning system
This thesis describes an investigation by the author into the spares operation of compare BroomWade Ltd. Whilst the complete system, including the warehousing and distribution functions, was investigated, the thesis concentrates on the provisioning aspect of the spares supply problem. Analysis of the historical data showed the presence of significant fluctuations in all the measures of system performance. Two Industrial Dynamics simulation models were developed to study this phenomena. The models showed that any fluctuation in end customer demand would be amplified as it passed through the distributor and warehouse stock control systems. The evidence from the historical data available supported this view of the system's operation. The models were utilised to determine which parts of the total system could be expected to exert a critical influence on its performance. The lead time parameters of the supply sector were found to be critical and further study showed that the manner in which the lead time changed with work in progress levels was also an important factor. The problem therefore resolved into the design of a spares manufacturing system. Which exhibited the appropriate dynamic performance characteristics. The gross level of entity presentation, inherent in the Industrial Dynamics methodology, was found to limit the value of these models in the development of detail design proposals. Accordingly, an interacting job shop simulation package was developed to allow detailed evaluation of organisational factors on the performance characteristics of a manufacturing system. The package was used to develop a design for a pilot spares production unit. The need for a manufacturing system to perform successfully under conditions of fluctuating demand is not limited to the spares field. Thus, although the spares exercise provides an example of the approach, the concepts and techniques developed can be considered to have broad application throughout batch manufacturing industry.