Complexity in a production process can be triggered by a wide variety of factors. The human production factor, for example, gives rise to social complexity. Unlike a machine, a human being is not able to perform the same work every day.
Other factors that can cause complexity in a production process include the environment, legal requirements and internal company structures. The task of a company is to design the production process in such a way that all requirements are met and the manufactured product still becomes a success.
This is where complexity management comes in. Complexity and complexity management can be seen in a context to each other, if a production process turns out to be complex. It is a threat to the company's existence if the true complexity drivers are not recognized and an efficient production process is not designed as a result.
Elements of Complexity Management
Good complexity management consists of several phases and steps. In order for a complex issue to be eliminated or minimized, the cause of the complex issue must first be investigated. Starting points for the fact that a production process is not running optimally are, for example, increasing dissatisfaction, recurring disruptions in the production process and declining sales figures.
At the latest when a company faces declining sales figures, company management should react and use complexity management as a countermeasure. The company's actions must result in the strategic design fields being able to operate without problems.
In the product structure, for example, complexity management ensures that interfaces and modules are standardized. The production program is converted to the narrowest possible product range. The organization of a company is also a strategic design field on which a professionally designed complexity management can have a positive effect.
For example, unclear responsibilities are eliminated and new informal communication structures are created.
Methods Engineering, Systems Engineering and Requirements Engineering
A functioning complexity management is based on different methods that can be used during a production process. The following three methods have proven their worth:
- Methods Engineering: In this method technique, new or modified methods are constructed from existing methods. A company benefits from the fact that not all old structures have to be eliminated. Rather, newly acquired knowledge and new technologies have to be applied in such a way that the old methods undergo a quasi update.
- Systems Engineering: Many production processes involve complex systems that require a high level of technical knowledge. Complexity management supports those responsible for the development and implementation of these systems. With the help of systems engineering, difficult logistics problems, for example, can be successfully implemented.
- Requirements Engineering: This method represents the path that companies take to produce successful products. The requirements, which are to be mastered here by the management department of an enterprise, are worked out by the complexity management first. In a further step, sensible solutions are found.
Fulfillment of Requirements for the Use of Professional Complexity Management
There are no legal requirements for complexity management. However, each company should set its own guidelines for the use of an effective system. Only in this way can a production process be designed efficiently and the product become a success.
The established guidelines should not only refer to the production process, but should encompass all areas of the company - from the development of the product to the definition of sales strategies.
Useful Company Areas for Complexity Management
Complexity management can be used in almost all areas of the company.
Example disposition: The management for complexity management supports the disposition manager, whose task is to lead an economic stock management. It is also advantageous to use it in the area of logistics when this has come to a standstill.
Example production planning: With the help of complexity management, many individual solutions are developed, which are aimed in particular at offering a wide range of products. Unclear targets are eliminated, as are the competing goals of the various business units.
Example material flow: The storage of materials is often subject to the negative influence that the required material is often not in stock just when it is needed for the production process. A functioning complexity management system eliminates this problem and supports companies, for example, in introducing just-in-time production or other ways of shortening replenishment times.
Handling Product Complexity
A company with a wide range of products often faces the problem of product complexity. Which product should be given preference? Should a newly launched product be paved the way to the sales market through additional marketing measures or should more attention be paid to the product that is currently experiencing its strongest market phase?
Complexity management answers these and other questions. With the help of the individual methods, an optimal production program can be developed.
Software Support for the Use of Complexity Management
In order to install a functioning complexity management system, companies are usually supported by the use of suitable software. The use of software tailored to the specific company helps to ensure that all complexity drivers are identified without any gaps. Regardless of whether the company offers too wide an assortment or the interfaces of the individual production processes are not properly coordinated, the software finds the problem and eliminates it.
In a further step, the software offers practical solutions to support measures for overcoming complexity and implements the necessary measures as desired by the company's management. Wishes, goals and measures can be defined individually.
Example company organization: The software recognizes grown structures and offers solutions. If the structure consists, for example, of a multi-line system, communication from the top to the executive employee runs through too many places. Complexity management offers the introduction of lean management as a solution approach. With the same success, the software is used in a company to optimize controlling reporting, the customer structure or the supplier structure.
Complexity management is the method used in companies to visualize and eliminate complex issues in a production process.
Systems engineering and method engineering are used to identify the typical complexity drivers. For example, management for complexity management contributes to the development of new methods from old methods, which integrate new knowledge and new technologies in a production process. Requirements that are placed on the management can be successfully implemented with the help of complexity management.
A company does not have to fulfill legal requirements when using good complexity management. However, it is advantageous if the company develops guidelines for its use, to which every employee must adhere. Suitable software provides support in defining the guidelines and installing a successful management system. The software recognizes the typical complexity drivers and offers helpful solutions.