The Ideal Factory

High-tech products are foreseen to build the future competitiveness of the Western economies’ manufacturing sectors. However – what probably will become the most important manufacturing paradigm for the Western economies – lacks proper theoretical concepts and frameworks for industrialisation. Lean & co are simply not suitable enough for high-tech, customized, knowledge-intensive and lower-volume production. In order to remain competitive there has been a need to develop new production concepts with belonging methods, systems and tools for modern high-tech and mass-customised production systems. A good thing then that someone has made an effort to close this gap…

In 2011 the €4 million research project “Ideal Factory”, funded one-third by the Norwegian Research Council, concluded with a manufacturing concept labeled “IdealFactory@XPS” [reads “Ideal Factory at XPS”]. In brief it enhances the existing company-specific Production Systems (XPS) in use, to the unique high-tech setting. (Read more about XPS here). All existing XPS are standing on the shoulders of manufacturing concepts such as Henry Ford’s Mass Production, Toyota Production System, Lean Production, and World-Class Manufacturing to mention a few. Thus, the project did not come up with a totally new and competing concept to an already over-populated universe of concepts and managerial advice, but it added necessary perspectives to the existing XPSes to make them work better for the ideal factory operating in a high-tech setting. The project proposes that the Ideal Factory in high-tech industries is characterized by 8 supporting elements to the technology and XPS in place:

  1. Organizational exploitation of world-class technology
  2. Flow-oriented production and organization
  3. Attractive for the attractive
  4. Rapid innovation based in production
  5. Individual documentation for standardized products
  6. Knowledge organized
  7. Integrated supply chain
  8. Socio-technical management

In addition to extensive written documentation and presentations on academic and industrial conferences, the concept IdealFactory@XPS has been visualised with a video as posted above. More information will be made available as soon as the results are published in academic journals and other outlets.

Sources / more information:
  • Ravn, J. E., Netland, T., Knutstad, G., Buvik, M. P. & Skjelstad, L. (2011) Towards a high-tech manufacturing concept: IdealFactory@xPS. Ideal Factory concept report Trondheim, SINTEF Technology & Society. Not published – Confidential.
  • The content of the video is further explained here.
  • Detailed presentations at the industrial conference “Teknologidagene på Kongsberg”, november 2010 and november 2011:
  • More information about the project can be found at the project’s webpage