Integrating Design and Manufacturing for Competitive Advantage

Integrating Design and Manufacturing for Competitive Advantage

Integrating Design and Manufacturing for Competitive Advantage

Integrating Design and Manufacturing for Competitive Advantage

Synopsis

With more emphasis being placed on the cost and quality of new products and on reducing the lead time to develop them, attention is turning to the increasingly important topic of design for manufacturing (DFM). This involves the collaboration among research and development, manufacturing, and other company functions and is aimed at accelerating the new product development process from product conception to market introduction. A company can create a competitive advantage for itself by managing the process and its related organizational dynamics effectively. This collection of essays focuses on the development of strategic capabilities through use of DFM tools and practices, the role of DFM in specific product development phases, and the social, political, and cultural context within which DFM is introduced.

Excerpt

This book is about managing the new product development process, particularly about integrating the design, development, and manufacturing functions so that high quality products can be introduced to the market faster and at competitive prices. Customers, suppliers, and internal company functions, such as marketing, purchasing, and accounting, also need to be integrated into the new product development process, but the dynamics of inclusion and integration of all relevant players can be understood by focusing on the design-manufacturing interface. This interface is, perhaps, the most complex of those encountered in cross-functional product development teams. Mastering this interface is more than adequate preparation for dealing with the others.

The study of the design-manufacturing interface begins with appreciation of the strategic capabilities that companies need to develop in order to manage this interface effectively. Several chapters of this book discuss strategic capabilities, such as the systematic development and introduction of new technologies into products and processes and the use of appropriate tools and techniques to facilitate communication and problem-solving between design and manufacturing personnel. Also discussed is learning from experience, a strategic capability that companies can strengthen and accelerate by providing sufficient opportunities for such learning to occur. These strategic capabilities provide a basis for understanding the specific actions that key product development personnel take and increasing the likelihood that their actions will be successful. Several chapters also discuss the social, political, and cultural context within which these key players interact. This context can facilitate or inhibit the prospects for successsful integration between functions.

The study of the design-manufacturing interface also requires appreciation of the degree to which the new product development process is information intensive. Managing the type of information to be processed and developing an effective structure for processing information are critical to new product development success. the information intensive nature of the product development process is demonstrated throughout the book and prompted the development of a model in the book's final chapter that links the role of information in the product development process and a company's capability to organize, process, and learn from that information.

Competition in many domestic and international markets appears to be entering a new phase, in which product quality and performance are becoming more important to customers than price. Companies that can introduce superior products to such markets sooner will earn higher profits and gain market share at the expense of their slower competitors. in such markets, the effective management of the new product development process is the essence of competitive advantage.

University Park, Pennsylvania G. I. S. December 1991 . . .

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