Concurrent Engineering

Concurrent engineering is defined as ''a systematic approach to the integrated, concurrent design of products and their related processes, including manufacturing and support. This approach is intended to cause the developers, from the outset, to consider all elements of the product life cycle from concept through disposal, including quality, cost, schedule, and user requirements'' [7.8, 7.16]. From this definition, concurrent engineering seems to be similar to systems engineering. However, we view concurrent engineering as a subset (element of) systems engineering for two basic reasons:

1. It lacks the formal definition and historical discipline of systems engineering.

2. Its main thrust and significance flow from the notion of engineering concurrency, and therefore it is a contribution to, rather than a replacement for, systems engineering.

The essential perspective of concurrent engineering is that all parties that have a role to play in a given system design should be involved with that system throughout its life cycle. The sequential or serial process of moving from development to test to production to operations, and so forth, is augmented by adding all significant life-cycle disciplines and personnel to all life-cycle phases. Therefore, for example, even though a system may be in its early conceptual, mission analysis, or definition phases (see Section 7.2.2 for NASA phase descriptions), personnel from manufacturing should be involved in the process to assure that the system is designed for optimum manufacturability. This basic idea holds for all personnel who have a clear stake in the product or system. It also allows for parallel developments whenever possible that have the general positive effect of compressing schedules.

The implications of these notions of concurrent engineering have been that systems engineering teams must also contain integrated product teams (IPTs) that focus on integrating all life-cycle considerations. The systems engineering process, with its element of concurrent engineering, must explicitly take account of downstream integration, test, production, manufacturing, quality, operations, maintenance, logistics, and all other relevant aspects of a system's life cycle. Concurrent engineering forces this discipline as a vital part of systems engineering. Thus, it is herein defined as an essential element of systems engineering.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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