Method for capacity planning of changeable production systems in the electric drives production
Market growth and technological uncertainties characterize the electro-mobility. High emission standards, fossil fuel scarcity, environmental protection, and political initiatives promote this development. Besides, factors such as customer behavior, infrastructure, new competitors, and technological developments induce high volatility in forecasted market volumes. Due to these uncertainties, production systems of electrified vehicles require a combination of changeable production systems and flexibility measures. The production capacity of changeable production systems is currently determined by a conventional capacity planning method, which does not integrate the degrees of freedom conferred by changeability. In this publication, we present a new capacity planning method of changeable production systems in electro-mobility. Changeability comprises pre-defined measures that change either the capacity or the technological spectrum of productions by an investment. A total of five changeability drivers exist, thereof we consider scalability and universality. Scalability in this context refers to the technical, local, and personnel possibilities to expand and reduce factory elements and production systems. Universality focuses on technological production properties, in particular, the ability to meet different production and technology requirements. We define specific changeability options for both drivers. Moreover, we integrate these in production capacity planning, which leads to various production configurations. Additionally, we evaluate the monetary impact and the resulting flexibility of each configuration at any time within the observation period using the real options approach. We choose this approach to integrate market uncertainties in the decision- making process. Further, a Monte Carlo simulation validates all configurations showing positive option values, and we determine a final capacity plan. We apply the method to a production system for electric drives. Our results show that an early investment in scalability and universality options improve the financial performance and flexibility of a production system in an uncertain market environment.