Thesis Details

Thesis Title: The Effect of Complexity Factors on Textile Weaving Plant Performance
Thesis Author: William Baird
Abstract: World class textile manufacturers are experiencing a shift away from the once common commodity goods market. Order requests by customers have shifted to smaller lot, more frequent orders, with greater product differentiation. In fact, textile weaving plants once operated as "single product" plants, weaving continuous runs of single pattern types. These plants manufactured products defined as commodities. However, during the last five years, weaving plants have moved towards manufacturing 20 to 30 different pattern types with shorter run lengths and with a greater customization level. As a consequence of this shift, the manufacturing complexity level has increased significantly with direct effect upon plant productivity performance. This research studied the factors that affect manufacturing complexity, and it allowed for the development of a complexity model that relates specific operating conditions to plant productivity performance within a flat cloth textile weaving operation. Flat cloth textile weaving was selected because it is most commonly found in the United States (Hudson, Clapp, & Kness, 1993). A major thrust of this research has been to identify plant operating conditions that contribute to manufacturing complexity. Once these conditions were identified, multiple regression models, relating them, were developed. Specifically, the changes in the operating conditions that contributed to the level of complexity within the plant were measured against the plant's labor productivity and weaving efficiency. Results for this research indicate that four of six complexity factors, Product Variety, Assembly Factor, Product Mix Velocity, and Weave Index, are related to and effect plant operating performance in terms of labor productivity and machine efficiency. In addition, multiple attributes were found superior to a single attribute for measuring Product Variety, Assembly Factor, Product Mix Velocity, and Process Changeability .