Systems thinking for rapid decision making in industrial contexts

Darren John J Winter, Paul Ashton-Rickardt, Carwyn Ward, Mike Yearworth, Chris A McMahon, Kevin D Potter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Decision making involving the procurement of high-cost capital equipment can often be lengthy. The ability to rapidly structure and understand procurement problems before arriving at a solution is therefore an asset to any business. When formulating these solutions, accelerating the decision making processes through optimised methodologies are also of benefit. At its flagship manufacturing facility (producing rear spars for the A350 aircraft) GKN Aerospace are in this position having reached a decision to increase its manufacturing capability, to be achieved through the procurement of additional capital equipment. In order to reduce the procurement issue a combination of Strategic Assumptions Surfacing and Testing (SAST) and Interactive Planning (IP) were employed to garner consensus and elicit requirements from a group of stakeholders who possess differing opinion on the procurement related problem for a large CNC router. This paper presents the development, research, and application of these systems methodologies and their impact on the business case. The paper demonstrates the IP process formulating a holistic solution of great benefit while the combined methodology offered an effective framework for constructing an understanding of the problem and reaching a pragmatic solution. Industrial practitioners may use the same approach for decision making processes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication8th Annual IEEE International Systems Conference, SysCon 2014 - Proceedings
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9781479920877
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Event8th Annual IEEE International Systems Conference, SysCon 2014 - Ottawa, ON, United Kingdom
Duration: 31 Mar 20143 Apr 2014


Conference8th Annual IEEE International Systems Conference, SysCon 2014
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityOttawa, ON


  • SAST
  • Interactive Planning
  • Decision Making
  • Procurement
  • Stakeholder Management

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