An investigation by case study of the development and implementation of new product development procedures in an electronic component manufacturer
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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As a result of decreasing product lifecycles, the importance of reducing the time and cost of product development has been recognised throughout manufacturing industry. In consequence, product development time-scales are reducing as companies introduce time compression methodologies, such as Concurrent Engineering, into the workplace. The overall aim of this research is to investigate the issues faced by a small to medium sized electronic component manufacturing company seeking to gain an improvement in the efficiency of their product development processes. The research follows the development and implementation of new product development procedures designed by the author to enable the philosophy of Concurrent Engineering to be introduced within the Company. In particular, the work focuses upon the methods employed to control the design and engineering functions within the overall product development process. The thesis examines the problems which frequently occur where product development cannot always be managed effectively as a result of the competing internal pressures and priorities which can exist within a small or medium sized enterprise (SME) environment. It analyses and provides additional case study evidence of the difficulties encountered in managing functions within a company culture which initially was unreceptive to the Concurrent Engineering approach. In consequence, the research provides further evidence of the need for ownership of the new product development procedures at all levels within the Company. The author also draws attention to the problems that arise in such a situation as unanticipated internal or external events occur within the product development process, or when technical solutions fail to match what is required for a new product. The thesis provides further evidence of the need for ownership of the concurrent engineering process at all levels within the Company. The case study highlights the importance of widespread and transparent communication systems to inform the product development process. Attention is also drawn to the problems that arise if unexpected internal or external events occur, or when technical solutions fail to match what is required for a new product. The thesis concludes with a discussion of the generic issues which this case study served to illustrate.
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