Reference model and methodology to configure/reconfigure integrated product, process and facility development processes
Aca Sánchez, Joaquín
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Emerging economies, social and political transitions, and new ways of doing business are changing the world dramatically, these trends suggest that competitive advantages in the new global economy will belong to enterprises capable of develop high customized products. Manufacturing Industry play a leading role in regional development of Mexican Industry, however, the absence of formal programs for New Product Development place Mexican Industry at a competitive disadvantage with respect to other countries. In order to compete, Mexican Companies require adapting structured process to improve their practices in New Product Development. This research thesis proposes the methodological use of a Reference Model that allows the companies to create a Particular Model to set-up successful Integrated Product, Process and Facility Development Processes, independent of the industrial sector of a company, but focusing on specific issues of the company like market opportunities, technological constraints and declared goals. The Reference Model is structured in three dimensions: Processes, Stages and Activities. Processes are a description of the potential cases to be developed: Product Development, Process Development and/or Facility Development. Stages are a set of activities performed to achieve a partial result in a specific Process; this reference model has four types of stages: Conceptualization, Basic Development, Advanced Development and Launching. Activities are specific tasks that must be executed in order to complete a Stage; there are three types of Activities: Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation. Particular Model is defined as the structured combination of Processes, Stages and Activities, capable to develop the desired product or product family allowing exchange information from one Process to other depending on the information available and the goal of the project. In order the company configures its Process, three activities must be achieved: (1) Project Definition; (2) Activity Sequence Identification; and (2) Activity Mapping in the Company. To demonstrate the use of the Reference Model the derived Methodology was employed in a metalworking company to create its Particular Model and define a New Product Development Program to introduce automotive products. The principal results obtained on this research thesis were: (1) A Reference Model for Integrated Product Process and Facility Development was developed; (2) A Methodology was developed to configure processes for product development; and (3) A case study was developed to demonstrate how to use the Reference Model and Systematic approach can be used to develop New Products. Some conclusions obtained from this research thesis were: (1) Benefits from Reference Model uses are configuration of processes for specific product development in short periods of time and increase of the feasibility of product modification; (2) In order to exploit fully configurability of the proposed systematic approach, Case Development is required to generate an Activities Library that allows reuse knowledge in future Process Configuration; and (3) Processes Configuration requires a steep learning curve, but its systematic structure makes it feasible to be automated and in long term a reduction in configuration time is presented.