After reading my blog on DFX, a client asked about the difference between DFX and concurrent engineering (CE). In principle, CE is a process structure that can enable and support DFX, but in itself, many CE practices tend to emphasize the process much more so than the outcomes. There’s usually some discussion of the need to identify and resolve problems before they are locked into the design, but it seems that those charts that show the cost to fix an error relative the product’s development phase have been around for so long that we have become numb.
One important practice of CE involves the formation of cross-functional teams. This allows engineers and managers of different disciplines that have different goals and constraints to collaborate in order to optimize multidisciplinary decisions: design, engineering, supply chain, manufacturing and service. Companies that excel in CE and leverage concurrent engineering to optimize design and manufacturing operations:
- Maintain cross product centers of excellence (COC)
- Use advanced software tools for simulation, including digital manufacturing
- Maintain a “live” knowledge base of design rules and best practices systematically
- Promote systems and data interoperability, including master data management and common taxonomies
On September 5 I will host a webinar in which I will discuss this topic and present several case studies. You can register to attend the webinar here: Reduce Costly Design Mistakes Through an Automated Approach to DFx.