Concurrent engineering is a systematic approach to integrate the activities aimed at the customer and the customer’s requirements of design and manufacturing processes. As a result of such actions in decision-making processes and conceptual within the product life cycle (concept, design, manufacture, quality and cost control, use, disposal) everyone should be involved that has a contact with the product (designers, technologists, users, suppliers, collaborators, vendors). Quite similar definitions presents Palos Verdes:
Concurrent Engineering is a systematic approach used in an integrated, simultaneous the process of product design process and development of related processes intending to engage external stakeholders (including customers and suppliers) to analyze all the elements of the product life cycle, from concept through to disposal, including quality control and user requirements. Scheme of integrated product development process shows below chart.
The main goal is to accelerate the development, obtain faster relevant results and improve the quality of product development.
Circumstances that determine effective product development through this model are as follows:
- organization of teams and their cooperation,
- appropriate technological and computer base,
- appropriate selection of tools and analytical methods,
- multifunctional and multidisciplinary team-based working.
Concurrent engineering, forward engineering, integrated problem solving, parallel engineering, team approach, and lifecycle engineering are some of the terms that have been applied to this over-lapping and integration of design, development, prototyping and manufacturing. In the simultaneous model the product development is much faster but more difficult and communication, knowledge and technology often play a key role.
Scheme of integrated product development process
Concurrent Engineering is also synonymous with the concept of integrated product development. It is estimated that 70-90% of the production cost of is determined at the product design level. This means that the design of the product, having a significant impact on the course of all manufacturing processes by optimizing the project may affect the achievement of business objectives.
Thanks to the involvement of many people responsible for different parts of the design product development it is not partial but continuous process.
Participants shared responsibility for the product development process causes frequent and free flow of information.
Flow of information and multidisciplinary integration shows chart below.
Chart no. 7 Scheme of multidisciplinary integration and interdependence of functional in NPD
Activities such as research, market analysis, supply, calculation of the production costs, manufacture, assembly, inspection and marketing complement each other and thus a quick verification of erroneous decisions follows on. It is estimated that due to its early detection 70% of the costs can be reduced and changes in the later stages of development may be avoided.
There also increases the product quality. Savings are also made. Managing the project budget, shorten product development time and close cooperation between departments in financial, structural, technological, qualitative and logistics terms lower process costs.
It is worth emphasizing how important cooperation and communication between participants are. Participants often have knowledge of various areas and only appropriate transfer of knowledge between them can solve many of which can contribute to the success of a new product. 3T method is used to ensure suitable data transfer- tools, training and time. As one of the tools that can be mentioned are the IT systems that provide the possibility of important information and organized data:
- the IT system for the exchange of information between people having an impact on the course of the product life cycle;
- the IT production furtherance (CAPP including CAD and CAM) in the form of a special computer program for simulation and analysis of the whole process within the particular department, as well as globally recognized (virtual factory) including processing parameters, quantitative data;
- the IT furtherance of production preparation (construction and arranging handles, selection of instrumentation, tools, product documentation, administration of product documentation and distribution of documents in electronic form).
- the existence and the interaction of the 3T elements (tools, training and time) are decisive to the process of developing a new product insofar as the time and the costs are concerned. The synergy effect may appear between participants causing the increasing efficiency.
- the concurrent engineering is mainly: the integration of the developing processes, the incorporation of the projects team’s, their cooperation, and the assisting computer programs. Those factors guarantee not only that the product will meet the clients demand to a larger extend but also it will generate more profit for the company.