Developing intelligent technologies to support employees in manufacturing planning: applying a scenario planning method to consider future of work
Authors: Marisa Schirmer, Florens Burgert, Christina Mayer, Susanne Mütze Niewöhner
Abstract: The environment of industrial enterprises is characterized not only by increasing volatility and uncertainty, but also by growing complexity and ambiguity (Ködding and Dumitrescu, 2022; Wonsak et al., 2021). For manufacturing process planning and CAM systems in use (CAM: Computer Aided Manufacturing), new requirements arise as a result of growing complexity and individualization of components, tools, and machines (Suhl and Isenberg, 2019; Jayasekara et al., 2019). In order to overcome these requirements, CAx system providers and researchers are currently developing approaches in technology-driven projects on how conventional support systems can be further developed, e.g., by integrating artificial intelligence (AI) (cf. Dripke et al., 2017). In technology development projects, however, the classic fields of work organization as well as other dimensions at the enterprise and individual level should be taken into account in addition to technology (Mütze-Niewöhner et al., 2022). In order to remain competitive, future developments must be considered by enterprises and systematically addressed in their strategic decisions (Ködding and Dumitrescu, 2022; Fink et al., 2005).This paper presents the application of scenario planning in the context of a technology-driven innovation project. Aim of this project with the acronym CAM2030 is to create a new generation of CAM systems by integrating innovative technologies, such as AI, evolutionary algorithms, and cloud computing in order to enable employees to perform manufacturing process planning for the production of complex products quickly, efficiently, and adeptly (cf. Burgert et al., 2022). To anticipate future developments of the work of CAM users, the scenario planning method by Fink and Siebe (2016) was used. Scenarios take into account that the future of work is open and uncertain, but will take place within a limited range of development possibilities (Burmeister et al., 2019). The intention within CAM2030 was to ensure that estimations of future support needs of CAM users are considered in the technology development activities. Since the scenario planning was tested for the first time in the context of the technology-driven project, the focus of this paper is on the application and discussion of the method. First, it provides a brief introduction to the applied scenario planning method according to Fink and Siebe (2016). Second, the procedure is described and methodological findings are discussed, e.g., to what extent the concept helped to successively guide the participants through scenario planning process. Challenges included, e.g., the involvement of multiple stakeholders, time demands on all participants, and enabling participants to focus on the open and uncertain development of CAM planning work within the technology-driven project. Third, as an outlook, it is reflected to what extent the applied method may support a future strategic decision-making process.
Keywords: Scenario Planning, Manufacturing Process Planning, Strategic Decision, Making
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