Uncertainty analysis in product service system: Bayesian network modelling for availability contract

2016-11-17T12:08:37Z (GMT) by Swetha Narayana
There is an emerging trend of manufacturing companies offering combined products and services to customers as integrated solutions. Availability contracts are an apt instance of such offerings, where product use is guaranteed to customer and is enforced by incentive-penalty schemes. Uncertainties in such an industry setting, where all stakeholders are striving to achieve their respective performance goals and at the same time collaborating intensively, is increased. Understanding through-life uncertainties and their impact on cost is critical to ensure sustainability and profitability of the industries offering such solutions. In an effort to address this challenge, the aim of this research study is to provide an approach for the analysis of uncertainties in Product Service System (PSS) delivered in business-to-business application by specifying a procedure to identify, characterise and model uncertainties with an emphasis to provide decision support and prioritisation of key uncertainties affecting the performance outcomes. The thesis presents a literature review in research areas which are at the interface of topics such as uncertainty, PSS and availability contracts. From this seven requirements that are vital to enhance the understanding and quantification of uncertainties in Product Service System are drawn. These requirements are synthesised into a conceptual uncertainty framework. The framework prescribes four elements, which include identifying a set of uncertainties, discerning the relationships between uncertainties, tools and techniques to treat uncertainties and finally, results that could ease uncertainty management and analysis efforts. The conceptual uncertainty framework was applied to an industry case study in availability contracts, where each of the four elements was realised. This application phase of the research included the identification of uncertainties in PSS, development of a multi-layer uncertainty classification, deriving the structure of Bayesian Network and finally, evaluation and validation of the Bayesian Network. The findings suggest that understanding uncertainties from a system perspective is essential to capture the network aspect of PSS. This network comprises of several stakeholders, where there is increased flux of information and material flows and this could be effectively represented using Bayesian Networks.