People, Process, and Software: 3 Keys to Successfully Implementing Concurrent Engineering in Your Firm

People, Process, SoftwareIn a previous article, we outlined 5 major benefits of concurrent engineering. Sounds great, right?

And it is! But there’s a catch. Most engineering organizations today aren’t set up for concurrent engineering because their teams are siloed, their processes are disconnected, and they don’t have the tools to support this type of collaborative work.

In this article, we’ll look at three elements necessary to successfully implement concurrent engineering in your organization: people, process, and software.

People

Concurrent engineering, by definition, requires engineers from different teams and disciplines to work together. For those accustomed to the more traditional serial design approach, this idea might be intimidating.

Here are a few ways to ensure your people are on board and foster multidisciplinary teamwork.

Get buy-in from the top

Organizational change doesn’t always have to start at the top, but it does need support from the top. Whatever your role in the company, your first step in implementing a new process should be to get buy-in from the top.

Communicate the benefits of concurrent engineering for individuals

Concurrent engineering will give your firm a competitive advantage by reducing project time and costs, increasing productivity, and decreasing mistakes, among other advantages.

But that doesn’t mean much on an individual level. Rather than talking about the benefits in general, communicate how the new method will benefit engineers specifically.

For example, design engineers will benefit from fewer change requests and rework because engineers working on later phases of the project will be brought in earlier. Field engineers will have fewer problems during installation because they will have the opportunity to review the designs and spot problems before the machines are actually built. Everybody wins.

Provide training and support

Finally, don’t expect anyone to wake up one morning completely comfortable with a new way of doing things. Provide training and support to help your engineers adjust and succeed.

Process

Concurrent engineering is a much different process from serial engineering. But it’s still a process and you’ll need to define how it will work for your teams.

For example:

  • When will resources be passed from an upstream team to a downstream one?
  • How will information be transferred?
  • How will teams communicate?
  • How will designs be analyzed and compared?
  • How will changes be requested and assessed?
  • What’s the process for dealing with any conflicts that may arise?
  • Etc.

The exact process will differ from firm to firm and project to project, but these questions will give you an idea of the things you need to consider.

Software

Finally, concurrent engineering requires a software that can support the entire project, beginning to end.

In a traditional engineering process, each discipline usually has its own specialized software. To transfer information to another team, you have to export the data out of one system and import it into another.

Concurrent engineering works best when a common data model and common tools are used across all phases of the project. A software like Engineering Base, which takes a data-first orientation, can support concurrent engineering because it stores all project data in a central database that’s shared across teams.

There you go — three key components of implementing concurrent engineering. To learn more about how Engineering Base can help, visit our YouTube channel. There, you’ll find videos about workflows, integrations, and other ways the software supports concurrent engineering by connecting people and processes.

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