The impact of design uncertainty in engineer-to-order project planning
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEuropean Journal of Operational Research. 2017, 261 (3), 1098-1109. 10.1016/j.ejor.2017.03.005
A major driver of planning complexity in engineer-to-order (ETO) projects is design uncertainty far into the engineering and production processes. This leads to uncertainty in technical information and will typically lead to a revision of parts of the project network itself. Hence, this uncertainty is different from standard task completion uncertainty. We build a stochastic program to draw attention to, and analyse, the engineering-design planning problem, and in particular, to understand what role design flexibility plays in hedging against such uncertainty. The purpose is not to devise a general stochastic dynamic model to be used in practice, but to demonstrate by the use of small model instances how design flexibility actually adds value to a project and what, exactly, it is that produces this value. This will help us understand better where and when to develop flexibility and buffers, even when not actually solving stochastic models.