Investment Decisions on Automation of Manufacturing in the Wood Products Industry: A Case Study


  • Roaa Salim Department of Industrial Product Development, Production and Design, School of Engineering, Jönköping University, Sweden
  • Agostino Manduchi Economics and Statistics, International Business School, Jönköping University, Sweden
  • Anders Johansson Department of Engineering Science, University West, Sweden


development projects, manufacturing technology, decision-making, wood products industry, empirical research


The wood products industry is facing increasing challenges from global competition, and automation of
manufacturing can greatly help companies in the industry to handle such challenges. Investments in automation
of manufacturing are more likely to succeed if they are the expression of informed and systematic decisions.
This paper aims to increase the knowledge on the process leading to investment decisions on automation of
manufacturing in the wood products industry, as well as on the aspects considered in such processes. A real-time
case study was conducted at a large Swedish wood manufacturing company to gain in-depth understanding
of decisions related to automation investments. The findings demonstrate that mainly representatives from
manufacturing and marketing functions were involved throughout the investment project's length. This could
be a contributing factor to the narrow view on automation of manufacturing when decisions are made, where
focus is placed on financial and technological aspects. The findings further show a limited knowledge regarding
automation of manufacturing, which resulted in a tendency to heavily rely on the technical supplier’s
recommendations. This paper identifies the weak points related to decisions on automation of manufacturing
in the wood products industry and provides insights on how to support the decision process.


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