Table of Contents
Need for Concurrent Engineering
Concurrent engineering is a business strategy which replaces the traditional product development process
with one in which tasks are done in parallel and there is an early consideration for every aspect of a pr
development process. This strategy focuses on the optimization and distribution of a firm's resources in t
design and development process to ensure effective and efficient product development process.
The Concurrent Engineering Approach
In today's business world, corporations must be able to react to the changing market needs ra
pidly, effectively, and responsively. They must be able to reduce their time to market and adapt to
the changing environments. Decisions must be made quickly and they must be done right the first time
out. Corporations can no longer waits time repeating tasks, thereby prolonging the time it takes to
bring new products to market. Therefore, concurrent engineering has emerged as way of bringing rapi
d solutions to product design and development process.
Concurrent engineering is indisputably the wave of the future for new product development for
all companies regardless of their size, sophistication, or product portfolio. In order to be compet
itive, corporations must alter their product and process development cycle to be able to complete div
erse tasks concurrently. This new process will benefit the company, although it will require a large
amount of refinement in its implementation. This is because, concurrent engineering is a process th
at must be reviewed and adjusted for continuous improvements of engineering and business operations.
Strategic Plan of Concurrent Engineering
Concurrent engineering is a business strategy which replaces the traditional product developm
ent process with one in which tasks are done in parallel and there is an early consideration for ever
y aspect of a product's development process. This strategy focuses on the optimization and distribut
ion of a firm's resources in the design and development process to ensure an effective and efficient
product development process. It mandates major changes within the organizations and firms that use i
t, due to the people and process integration requirements. Collaboration is a must for individuals,
groups, departments, and separate organizations within the firm. Therefore, it cannot be applied at
leisure. A firm must be dedicated to the long term implementation, appraisal, and continuous revisi
on of a concurrent engineering process.
Concurrent engineering is recognized as a strategic weapon that businesses must use for effec
tive and efficient product development. It is not a trivial task, but a complex strategic plan that
demands full corporate commitment, therefore strong leadership and teamwork go hand and hand with suc
cessful concurrent engineering programs.
Commitment, Planning, and Leadership
Continuous Improvement Process
Concurrent engineering is not a trivial process to apply. If firms are going to commit to co
ncurrent engineering then they must first devise a plan. This plan must create organizational change
throughout the entire company or firm. There must be a strong commitment from the firm's leadership
in order to mandate the required organizational changes from the top down. Concurrent engineering w
ithout leadership will have no clear direction or goal. On the other hand, concurrent engineering wi
th leadership, management support, and proper planning will bring success in today's challenging mark
Communication and Collaboration
oncurrent engineering is not a one size fits all solution to a firm's development processes.
There are many different aspects of concurrent engineering which may or may not fit in a corporatio
n's development process. Concurrent engineering is only a set of process objectives and goals that h
ave a variety of implementation strategies. Therefore, concurrent engineering is an evolving process
that requires continuous improvement and refinement. This continuous improvement cycle consist of p
lanning, implementing, reviewing, and revising. The process must be updated and revised on a regular
basis to optimize the effectiveness and benefits in the concurrent engineering development process.
The implementation of concurrent engineering begins by creating a corporate environment that
facilitates communication and collaboration not just between individuals, but also between separate o
rganizations and departments within the firm. This may entail major structural changes, re-education
of the existing work-force, and/or restructuring of the development process.
- Get a strong commitment to from senior management.
- Establish unified project goals and a clear business mission.
- Develop a detailed plan early in the process.
- Continually review your progress and revise your plan.
- Develop project leaders that have an overall vision of the project and goals.
- Analyze your market and know your customers.
- Suppress individualism and foster a team concept.
- Establish and cultivate cross-functional integration and collaboration.
- Transfer technology between individuals and departments.
- Break project into its natural phases.
- Develop metrics.
- Set milestones throughout the development process.
- Collectively work on all parts of project.
- Reduce costs and time to market.
- Complete tasks in parallel.
The majority of a product's costs are committed very early in the design and development proc
ess. Therefore, companies must apply concurrent engineering at the onset of a project. This makes c
oncurrent engineering a powerful development tool that can be implemented early in the conceptual des
ign phase where the majority of the a products costs are committed.
There are several application in which concurrent engineering may be used. Some primary appl
ications include product research, design, development, re-engineering, manufacturing, and redesignin
g of existing and new products. In these applications, concurrent engineering is applied throughout
the design and development process to enable the firm to reap the full benefits of this process.
The reasons that companies choose to use concurrent engineering is for the clear cut benefits
and competitive advantage that concurrent engineering can give them. Concurrent engineering can ben
efit companies of any size, large or small. While there are several obstacles to initially implement
ing concurrent engineering, these obstacles are minimal when compared to the long term benefits that
concurrent engineering offers.
Reduced Design and Development Times
Companies recognize that concurrent engineering is a key factor in improving the quality, dev
elopment cycle, production cost, and delivery time of their products. It enables the early discovery
of design problems, thereby enabling them to be addressed up front rather than later in the developm
ent process. Concurrent engineering can eliminate multiple design revisions, prototypes, and re-engi
neering efforts and create an environment for designing right the first time.
Companies that use concurrent engineering are able to transfer technology to their markets an
d customers more effectively, rapidly and predictably. They will be able to respond to customers nee
ds and desires, to produce quality products that meet or exceeds the consumer's expectations. They w
ill also be able to introduce more products and bring quicker upgrades to their existing products thr
ough concurrent engineering practices. Therefore companies use concurrent engineering to produce bet
ter quality products, developed in less time, at lower cost, that meets the customer's needs.
There are several benefits that concurrent engineering can bring, although it is difficult to
quantify many of these benefits by using spreadsheets and numbers. These are not only benefits whic
h the participating company will experience, but ultimately the end users or customers also will reap
these benefits by having a quality product which fits their needs and in many case, costs them less
to purchase. Therefore, concurrent engineering produces a unified profitable corporation and a satis
Regardless of the type of application, there are significant benefits to the firms or organiz
ations that use crossfunctional teams.
List all the benifits...