Constraints on the implementation of concurrent engineering with suppliers in civil and defence design communities : differentiating design ethos
Successful Concurrent Engineering (CE) with suppliers requires a pre-disposition on the part of the prime company and the supplier to work in this manner. This thesis explores the impact of design ethos on the implementation of Supplier-inLoop (SIL) CE between an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and a first tier supplier. Design ethos for the purpose of this thesis is described as 'a characteristic manner or approach to constraints on SIL displayed by personnel involved in the design of new products'. This research employs a mixed-method to understand SIL constraints across industry sectors. A design ethos framework is developed and a military design community is characterised in terms of anomalies to the existing literature. These anomalies are then tested through a questionnaire and then interpreted in terms of the design ethos framework. The results of this comparison show that some characteristics are common to both the civil and military design communities and some are not. A case is made that design ethos, in the context of SIL, is primarily determined by: suppliers' aptitude, skill level and contracts; problems with data I information exchange mechanisms; existing processes, relationships and management support; supplier history; technological view of the product; external influences on the process; existing design milestones; visibility of supplier capability; and, continuity of service in terms of skill and data security. The research concludes that the implementation of SIL is directly impacted by design ethos, and that for SIL to be a success in the military sector design ethos must be managed in line with business objectives. The contribution to knowledge that this thesis provides is the insight it offers into the human issues associated with implementing concurrent engineering with external suppliers, and the identification of sector-specific issues as well as those which will benefit from cross sectoral learning. It is of value to military and civil OEMs for purpose of change management, also to their suppliers in understanding the different needs of military and civil customers when working in a concurrent engmeenng manner.