This paper examines the product engineering relationships between a vehicle manufacturer and six key suppliers which contribute to the final design of products. The interaction of design information between each supplier and customer is termed a design chain. The paper presents findings of the engineering design relationship between these companies and compares the different project management approaches used. Various mechanisms are used to coordinate these inter‐firm design operations. The paper emphasises a need for customers to differentiate between suppliers, based on their respective design contributions, in order to develop effective and appropriate coordination for the exchange of design and development information. The paper concludes that suppliers need to focus their project management skills on their customers’ processes to assist effective coordination, and finds that suppliers are promoting the use of guest engineers as one mechanism to deliver early participation.
International Journal of Operations & Production Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 1, 1998
Keywords: Design management; Engineering; Motor industry; Product development; Suppliers
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