Concurrent Engineering

Concurrent engineering (CE) is a philosophy and set of guiding principles where product design and process design are developed concurrently, i.e., with some product design and process development overlapping. With sequential engineering, the engineering phases are accomplished one after the other. Concurrent engineering overlaps the engineering phases.

Concurrent engineering is a system of new product development in which design and development tasks occur in parallel, with a high level of interaction between functions and tasks. This process requires a management and cultural environment, teams, and an improvement system focusing on collaboration and a commitment to customer satisfaction.

The concurrent engineering philosophy emphasizes a customer focus. It advocates an organizationwide, systematic approach using a disciplined methodology. It stresses the never-ending improvements of product, processes, production, and support. It involves the concurrent, simultaneous, or overlapping accomplishment of the phases of the project. For instance, the concept and design phases are accomplished concurrently. The design and development phases are performed simultaneously. The development and production phases are done with some overlapping activities. In most cases of concurrent engineering, all the phases contain some overlapping activities. Concurrent engineering requires upper management's active leadership and support to be successful. It accents robust design that decreases loss. It aims at reducing cost and time while improving quality and productivity. It uses the latest engineering planning initiatives including automation. Concurrent engineering forges a new reliance on multifunctional teams using tools and techniques such as six sigma, quality function deployment, design of experiments, the Kaizen approach to continuous improvement, statistical process control, and so on.

A more formal definition from the Institute for Defense Analysis Report R-338 states, "Concurrent Engineering is a systematic approach to the integrated, concurrent design of products and their related processes, including manufacture and support. This approach is intended to cause the developers, from the outset, to consider all elements of the product life cycle from conception, through disposal, including quality, cost, schedule, and user requirements."

The concurrent engineering steps are:

1. Establish a multifunctional team. Ensure representation from all required disciplines. The team should include representatives from such functions as

Systems/Design Engineering, Reliability and Maintainability Engineering, Test Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Production Engineering, Purchasing, Manufacturing Test and Assembly, Logistics Engineering, Sup-portability Engineering, Marketing, Finance, and Accounting.

2. Use a systematic disciplined approach. Select a specific approach using appropriate tools and techniques.

3. Determine customer requirements. Be sure to communicate with customers.

4. Develop product design, process design, and the planning of production and support processes together.

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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