The advantages Concurrent Engineering

Essay by lynn_33 November 2004

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Concurrent engineering is a new and flexible way of developing products that allows the company to gather information from all the parties including the customers and dealers to concurrently design, build and market as one process. In concurrent engineering product development, teams of manufacturing and design personnel are not separated but work together on their tasks simultaneously. The teams should also include employees from marketing, quality, packaging, and maintenance that will need to communicate on a regular basis. For example Black & Decker used the concurrent engineering approach to develop its Quantum line of tools targeted towards serious-do-it yourselfers. Black & Decker assigned a "fusion team" called Team Quantum to get the right product line to customers as quickly as possible. The team of 85 members included marketers, engineers, finance people, designers and others from the Britain, Germany, USA, and Italy. From the idea to launch, including three months of consumers research, the team developed the highly acclaimed Quantum line in only 12 months.

Customer is a crucial element that involved in the product development process from the beginning till the end. Concurrent engineering helps a company to be sensitive to customer's need by capturing the voice of internal and external customers and converted it into specific predictable and measurable product characteristics. A key enabling technology of concurrent engineering is Quality Function Deployment (QFD). QFD is a structured approach to define customer needs or requirements and translating them into specific plans to produce products to meet those needs. The "voice of the customer" is the term to describe these stated and unstated customer needs or requirements that can be captured in a variety of ways such as direct discussion or interviews, surveys, focus groups, or observations. For example, at Motorola, top executives routinely visit corporate customers at their offices to...