Integrated information model for managing the product introduction process
The thesis proposes an integrated product introduction (PI) information model for managing the product introduction process in an efficient manner. Through the process of product introduction, ideas and needs are converted to the information from which technical systems and products can be made and sold. Two critical factors for its success are the management of the product introduction activities, and the quality and functionality of its output (i.e. the product) which itself depends on the quality of the PI process. The process is as effective as the decisions made within it, and as efficient as the speed with which the information required for each decision is made available. In order to improve the efficiency of the management of the project in meeting its diverse targets (project time, project cost, product cost and uparrow product functionality), a model that integrates the targets would be essential in relating the activities of the project to their outcomes. Existing information models in related areas such as design, product development, project management, computer aided design and manufacturing consider some of these targets, but not all of them simultaneously. Especially product functionality is not considered along with the other targets of the PI project. The project introduction information includes managerial and technical information and complex associations among these two categories. Its representation places a challenging and novel set of demands on database technology as it is evolving, distributed and heterogeneous. Existing information models do not address the link between the managerial and technical information, and their continual evolution. Based on a detailed analysis of its nature and content, the thesis presents a three dimensional model of the product introduction information from three related but different viewpoints:- (1) entity-relationship or objects, (2) intra-layer integration and (3) evolution, each capturing important aspects of the PI information, but all required for a complete description. The overall three dimensional information model includes the following layers:- from view 1 - product functionality, process or project, product introduction resources, product and information map; from view 2 - node, relationship, and organisation; from view 3 - meta-model, data model, and data. Each model describes one aspect of the product introduction information but contains references to the others. The building blocks of the information model are described using schema definitions.