The use of concurrent engineering methodologies : achieving world class product development performance in the automobile industry : executive summary
This research project is about product development strategy and practice in the automobile industry. Specifically, it concerns the transformation of Rover Group body and tool development capability over four years from 1993 to 1997. A single Rover Body and Pressings organisation was created in 1991. It encompassed the functions of Body Engineering, Press Tool Engineering, and Press Tool Manufacturing. As Engineering Director the Author had the opportunity to directly influence a significant portion of the body product creation process. At the start of the research period the product development performance of Rover Body and Pressings was weak. Major investments in new press equipment could not depend on in-house die technology. Quality and cost delivery incurred customer dissatisfaction. Resulting from the research are three innovations: The Engineering Quality Assurance Procedure was implemented as a disciplined stage/gate quality management system. A focused manufacturing strategy was implemented for die manufacturing based on die size. A new engineering design methodology was established utilising the scientific principles of metal forming technology as an integrated element in the design process. These innovations were applied within the strategic framework of a new model describing a system view of the product creation process for body, at enterprise level. The new product development process strategy was partially applied to two new vehicle programmes. One vehicle has since been initiated and delivered from within the new framework. Strategic targets were defined for product development at Rover Body and Pressings covering product quality, development lead time, press tool cost and programme financial budget. The targets for quality and lead time were met during the research period. Although substantial progress is evident in physical performance the targets for press tool cost and programme budget were not met. The major elements of the product development strategy applied in this research remain in place. The transfer of the strategic model of concurrent engineering to a wider context was demonstrated by applying it as part of the Rover Group product development reengineering project.