Conceptualization is the first step in the problem solving process. This step must result in a conceptual model of the problem situation, indicating the variables that will be used for discribing  the system.

The manufacturing of the custom made mobile has been analyzed using a process-oriented description. To have the idea of the process of the manufacturing the explanation is given below supporting with the IDEF0 diagram.



Process Oriented Description

After the customers create the orders through the Internet, they enter the system. First, they go to the administration department.


Orders Administration
Orders are received and stored in the Central Administration System (CAS). The CAS is used for orders, stock control and general administration.
For all incoming orders, the administration department produces an invoice, production order and dispatch order.

  • Invoice: It is first made digitally with the information that is automatically generated by the CAS. Then, it is printed out in the dispatch department and enclosed with the product when sent out.
  • Production Order: It is produced according to the design requirements for the telephone. It indicates: Order number, Pick list, Engraving template, and Software template.
  • Dispatch Order: This indicates: Order number, Address sticker, Delivery service sticker, Order specification, and Delivery deadline.

Stock control
Then, the administration department receives the order, an automatic check to ensure that all required components (print plate, front etc.) are in stock.

  • If there are all components for producing the phone, the order will be passed directly to the production department via the CAS.
  • If there are not all the components in stock, the production order and the dispatch order will be held back until the component is available.

Each morning, the system automatically checks whether the components required for an outstanding order are now in stock.
For requiring additional components for the stock, CAS is linked to an ordering system, which automatically orders required components from the suppliers.

Warehouse Stock
The company has three main suppliers, which are:

  • π-lips.- The three different print plates are developed and supplied by π-lips. The delivery time of print plates is at least 5 working days but no more than 10.
  • TOP Plastics.- The fronts are supplied by Top Plastics, with a time of two working days.
  • A Plastic.- The assembly frames and telephone keypads are supplied by A Plastic. Because of a good relationship, these components will always be delivery within two days.

The activities required in producing the telephones are carried out at various ‘stations’ within the factory. No more than ten staff can work at any one station due to the limited space. Transport between the stations relies on a conveyor belt. The production activities are (in chronological order):

  • Order Picking.- A staff member collects the automatic print-out of the pick list from the printer. This pick list is part of the production order, which has been sent digitally to the storeroom by the CAS. In the storeroom, the staff member collects the components on the list and places them on the conveyor belt.
  • Engraving.- Based on the order number, the relevant engraving template is determined by the CAS. The engraver merely places the front in a clamp, whereupon it is engraved to the customer’s specifications.
  • Assembly.- Then, assembling the various components forms the finished telephone. The components are attached to the assembly frame. The first item is the print plate, which is screwed to the frame. The front and the keypad can then be clicked together. The assembly frame and the keypad are the same for all generations and all models of phone. The time required to assemble a telephone depends on the model.
  • Uploaded.- The telephone is then placed in a docking station to have its software installed. In here, the programmer simply uploads the required software by means of a software template identified by the order number.
  • Quality Control.- This process involves testing all the telephone’s functions and features, which varies among the different types of models. If any phone is found to be defective, the entire production process begins from scratch. In that case, the inspector places the telephone on a separate conveyor belt, which takes it back to the order-picking stage. It is expected that 2,3 percent of the telephones has to go back because of insufficient quality.
    If the telephone functions properly, it will continue on the main conveyor belt to the dispatch department.


Dispatching the finished telephones is based according to the details in the dispatch order. At 08.30 each morning, the dispatch department receives a list of the dispatch orders (done on the previous day). For each dispatch order, the required packaging material is collected. Once the telephone and packaging material are ready, the telephones are ready to be sent out.
The packages are collected by the delivery service at 18:00 each evening and are delivered to the customers before 08:30 the next day.

In order to have a complete insight of the administration, production and dispatch processes of, we have done a process-oriented description based on IDEF0 diagram. This technique determines some diagrams in where activities are identified and determined inside rectangular blocks. For each activity there must identified inputs (left hand arrows), outputs (right hand arrows), controls (top arrows) and mechanisms (below arrows). This diagram also describes the activity system from different layers (from the simple to more details analysis) in a hierarchical structure.

System Boundary
The system boundary for our conceptual model is shown in the IDEFO A0 in where the input variables are the customers’ orders and mobile components and the output variables are the mobile phones.

These are the things that aren’t part of the conceptual system with their reasons:

  • The interactive Internet method of selection of the technical functionalities and design variables like the print plate, front, etc, and also the uses of the software editor are not included in the model. The reason in that including this in the model would complicate the model understanding and it would be of no use, as it would not help to attain the objective. Not including this part would also reflect the reality of the system. So it is not important to include this part in the model.
  • We have also not included the delivery service of the mobile phone in the model as it is will not have any affect on the output or the results and it is also not that much of a problem as it would be always delivered unless and until there are some extreme conditions prevailing. Adding this part in the model would make the model more complicated unnecessarily.
  • We also have not considered the external variables like the inflation or deflation in the economy and also the change in the demand depending on the trend and GDP.








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