Mateo, R. (Ricardo); Bultó-López, R. (Ramón); Viles-Díez, E. (Elisabeth). "Overview of ramp-up curves: A literature review and new challenges". Journal of Engineering Manufacture. 232 (5), 2016, 755 - 765
The automotive sector, along with many others, has been subject to two key trends in recent times. The first relates to globalization, in other words, the incorporation of new markets and a growing demand that needs to be satisfied. The second concerns the high expectations of customers regarding quality and the on-going renovation of products. The incorporation of new markets results in the expansion of new production centres all over the world, making it necessary to synchronize launches in different parts of the globe. Furthermore, customers’ new demands cause shorter product life cycles. Time is seen as the main factor in the success of any new product launch. Particularly, the period that begins when the production has started in a production plant and continues until the planned production rate has been attained (the ramp-up curve). Because launches have become more frequent, the specific importance given to the life of the model is greater. This article has the following objective: provide a thorough review of the literature, focusing on this specific phase in the life cycle of a model in order to identify, compile and extract any relevant information that will enable us to build a theoretical framework for the ramp-up curve. The article begins by analysing the different interpretations of the phases of the launch stage of a new product that exist in the literature, and it concludes with the evidence that ramp-up curves are an item of scientific interest, where the 21% of the papers relating to this item are focused on the automotive sector, where planning and management are the most recurrent themes. Finally, two themes that remain open for further research are detected: the lack of structured organization during the ramp-up phase and knowledge transfer between different launches of the same product in different places.