Hafez Shurrab is a doctoral student Chalmers. He studies tactical planning processes that drive project-based manufacturing, focusing on engineer-to-order (ETO) settings - where products need to be developed or customised to meet the customer's needs.
Now, he has presented his licentiate thesis, Tactical planning in engineer-to-order environments
What challenges do you focus on in your research?
In ETO settings, products more frequently need to be customised. This makes it more difficult to balance demand and supply capacity as greater complexity needs to be addressed, with more details and uncertainties.
With your research, how are you aiming to address the problem?
I aim to capture how formal and informal tactical-level planning processes help to manage the complexity embedded in ETO settings when balancing demand and supply. When a formal tactical-level planning process like sales and operations planning is dedicated, I address how the ETO-specific complexity can be managed. When no formal tactical-level planning process is recognised, I study planning activities, including decision-making and problem-solving activities, and how these activities can be integrative with a view to manage the embedded complexity.
What do you hope for your research to lead to?
I hope my research will encourage ETO-oriented companies to integrate their tactical-level planning activities into a formal companywide process in which all functions are motivated and supported to cooperate with each other in a regular basis, to produce an aggregated plan. In addition to this, I hope my research propositions will lead to process configurations that genuinely enhance the information processing capacity and reduce the coordination needed to manage the ETO complexity. In this respect, I hope that the IT developers will be inspired to develop IT tools in line with the research results, since such IT tools will offer the support needed for decision makers and problem solvers.
Text: Ulrika Ernström
FACTS: Tactical planning in engineer-to-order environments
Hafez Shurrab is a doctoral student Chalmers, the Department of Technology Management and Economics. With his research, he has expanded the knowledge about how to balance demand and supply capacity in a medium-term, up to 24 months, in engineer-to-order (ETO) settings, where products need to be developed or customised to meet the customer's needs.