The research reported here derives from a recently completedquestionnaire survey of the UK mechanical engineering industry and aseries of followup case studies. The case studies investigated theproduct design strategies adopted by firms for achieving competitiveedge. It was found that companies were consolidating their productranges and increasing the use of boughtout components. There had thusbeen a shift from internal manufacturing hierarchy to boughtoutmanufacturing market. This was complemented by the changes, over thelast few years, in the production system. That is, the adoption ofmanufacturing, or FMS, cells. Here, companies were feeding morecomponents through these machining cells rather than using other, moreexpensive, manufacturing techniques, such as die casting. Thus, productdesign has had to match these changes in manufacturing strategy.Increased competition from Japan had also led companies to reduce leadtimes on product introduction. The research identifies the productdesign strategies the firms had adopted to achieve competitive edge.These were the better management of the product design process throughproject teams or project management. The use of design reviews fortailoring designs for efficient manufacture and early consideration ofmanufacturability. The full utilization of prototypes to eliminateproduction difficulties. These management factors and the ability to useCADCAMFMS technology enabled the companies to maintain competitiveedge.
Integrated Manufacturing Systems – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 1, 1992