Wind power supply chain: relevant aspects related to manufacturing and quality management

In recent years, supply chain management (SCM) has become of great importance as nowadays not only are businesses competing with each other, but so too are suppliers. The main objective of this thesis is to analyse some of the relevant aspects of SCM found in the manufacturing processes and quality control methods of the supply chain in the wind power sector. This is done through a collection of articles which present and analyse real data collected in the field as well as empirical data. The subsequent results reveal that supply chains in the wind power sector are hybrids, where various manufacturing paradigms are in play (lean, agile,leagile and project management) at specific points of the purchasing and manufacturing process. This thesis analyses the lean manufacturing concept inside the wind power sector, revealing the extent to which the lean tools and techniques are applied and the impact they subsequently have on competing priorities. It also examines the difficulties encountered by service providers when attempting to implement lean concepts as well as those resulting from the complex technology required by this highly specialised sector. The thesis also highlights the fact that the widely-used ISO 9001 standard, valid in so many industrial sectors, falls short in sectors dealing with high technological complexity. Furthermore, it sheds light on the perception clients have concerning third-party audits. Lastly, the thesis demonstrates the wind sector’s extensive use of quality tools and techniques when compared to other industrial sectors. This thesis provides the starting point for analysing aspects related to manufacturing and quality management systems in the supply chains of sectors handling high technological complexity, where there is low volume manufacture, high levels of customised and mixed products and irregular demand. ​
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