Systems Engineering and Lean Product Development in Ship Design
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The goal of this master thesis is to generate knowledge about integrating best practices from systems engineering and lean product development into ship building. There is a need to develop product development processes in shipbuilding that incorporate a systems perspective from the earliest phases of product development to ensure that all the needs and requirements of the system are analyzed and accounted for in the later development and production processes. Furthermore, these processes should be as effective and efficient as possible to keep lead time and cost at a minimum. In order to achieve this, elements from both systems engineering (SE) and lean product development (LPD) are needed. This thesis provides an overview of systems engineering and lean product development concepts and identifies key practices to deliver flawless systems and increase the efficiency of the product development process. The literature review on SE identifies requirements engineering combined with an interdisciplinary approach as key practices for enabling the success of a project. “System thinking” design is based on research observations indicating that if more time is spent in the early phases of a lifecycle, when most of the total lifecycle cost is decided and the cost of removing errors is lowest, then systems can be cheaper to deliver. These observations are also fundamental to LPD practice, where shifting (loading) the problem identification and solution efforts backward in time (to the front of the process) is referred to as front loading. Four important lean strategies for front loading are presented in the thesis; project-to-project knowledge transfer, concurrent engineering, set-based concurrent design and early supplier integration. One of the main contributions of the thesis is a developed model illustrating how SE can contribute to the LPD. Furthermore, the thesis introduces a derived model for implementing LPD in a company. The literature review formed the basis for the case study of the Ulstein Design and Solutions AS that is part of the Norwegian ship building company the Ulstein Group. The company works with product development and sales/marketing of ship design and equipment packages for offshore vessels and short sea vessels. The work of this thesis is formulated around the problem statement “how can integrated systems engineering and lean best practices help Ulstein Design and Solutions AS deliver value to their customers?” with value defined as a measure of three variables; quality, costand lead time to market. The case study analysis of Ulstein Design and Solutions identified project-to-project knowledge transfer as a main area for potential improvement. Suggested future research includes investigating methods for ways knowledge can be shared across projects and additional research within the field of combining systems engineering and lean practices inthe product development process.