Managing Engineering Changes Throughout the New Product/Service Introduction Process using a System Dynamics Approach

Alexandros Antonaras, Peter Deasley

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    Abstract

    Changes and modifications in forms, fits, materials, dimensions, functions, etc. of a product or part are referred to as product design changes before the design is released, or engineering changes (ECs) after the design is released. An EC usually includes a resulting series of downstream changes along the product development process. Organisational, technological and operational changes are often causes for ECs [1]. ECs are a very significant issue in any product development process and especially in any new product development process.

    The scope of this paper is to report on the use of a specific business process modelling and simulation technique, namely System Dynamics, in order to develop an efficient and effective Engineering Change Management System. System Dynamics is a modelling technique that is especially suited for modelling, simulating and analysing the behavioural aspects of a system, i.e. the way that the system elements interact and influence each other to generate overall system behaviour. In terms of the New Product/Service Introduction (NP/SI) process, such an analysis can reveal positive or negative feedback loops in the process, thereby allowing managers to understand the likely impact of ‘local’ changes on overall process cost, time, and perceived quality.

    To the best of our knowledge this is the first attempt to use the methodology of System Dynamics in order to develop an Engineering Changes Management System. The primary aim is to simulate the NP/SI process of two particular companies in Greece and get an indication of the relationship between cost, time and quality. Furthermore, by inserting disturbances into the models and then simulating the NP/SI processes, it is possible to get an overview of the effects of ECs throughout this process. The results of the simulation process together with the ECs background, can provide the basis for developing an Engineering Change Management System, which when managed effectively can lead to an improved environment for product innovation, and provides a favourable opportunity for increased sales and profits.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 6th International Product Development Management Conference
    Subtitle of host publicationCambridge University
    Place of PublicationCambridge, UK
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 1999

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