تغییر نقش مهندسان طراحی در توسعه محصول
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|2659||2005||17 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Operations Management, Volume 24, Issue 1, December 2005, Pages 63–79
Product development is recognized as cross-functional, knowledge-intensive work that has become increasingly important in the fast-paced, globally competitive environment. Researchers and practicing managers contend that design engineers may play an important role in product development efforts. However, their effect on the product development process is not well understood and the extent of their impact on product development performance has not been adequately accessed. This research defines the changing role of design engineers, and it discusses their impact on setting clear project targets and sharing knowledge about customers. The study investigates the impact of these variables on product development productivity. Data collected from 205 manufacturing firms were used to create valid and reliable instruments to assess role change of design engineers, clarity of project targets, shared knowledge about customers and product development productivity. Results from structural equation modeling indicate that as the role of design engineers expands the clarity of project targets increase. This increase impacts the extent of shared knowledge about customers. Increases in the clarity of project targets and shared knowledge about customers appear to enhance product development productivity.
Product development is knowledge intensive work that creates successful new products by linking upstream activities such as research and development, marketing and product conceptualization with downstream activities such as manufacturing system design, operations and supplier chain management (Brown and Eisenhardt, 1995, Clark and Fujimoto, 1991, Clark and Wheelwright, 1993, Ettlie, 1995, Cooper, 1999 and Peterson et al., 2003). Successful product development requires the integration of these activities to create a team-oriented environment that facilitates information exchange and shared decision-making (Davenport and Jarvenpaa, 1996, Khurana and Rosenthal, 1998, Koufteros et al., 2001 and Koufteros et al., 2002). Product development design engineers help the team transform the concepts generated by customer contact, market study and research and development into shapes, characteristics and functions that meet customer price and performance expectations (Ettlie and Stoll, 1990 and SandstrÖm and Toivanen, 2002). Positioned at this significant junction between abstract ideas and viable products, design engineers have the opportunity to coordinate important aspects of the product development process including concept development, planning, system level design, detail design, testing and refinement and ramp-up (Twigg, 1998 and Ulrich and Eppinger, 1995). Design engineers also support the product development team to clarify targets and to receive, analyze and disseminate knowledge among team members. These activities are necessary for successful cross-functional product development. For design engineers to participate effectively in this new environment, they should possess an expanded set of capabilities. Beyond rigorous technical skills, they should be effective team players and communicators who can participate in cross-functional decision-making and problem solving (Jassawalla and Sashittal, 2000, Lam, 1996 and SandstrÖm and Toivanen, 2002). As project targets are clarified, efforts of the design team should become more focused and efficient. Khurana and Rosenthal (1998) emphasize the importance of knowledge sharing in the fuzzy front-end of product development. Hoopes and Postrel (1999) and Paashuis (1998) indicate that more knowledge sharing may facilitate greater product development productivity. With shared knowledge about customer wants, it is easier for groups to reach consensus because they have a common understanding of product design issues and expected outcomes. This study develops and discusses a conceptual framework that describes the relationships among the role change of design engineers, the clarity of project targets, shared knowledge about customers and product development productivity. The study develops valid and reliable measures for each variable using approximately half of the data collected from the Society of Automotive Engineers. The remainder of the sample is used to test the relationships among these variables.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study develops a research framework that describes the links among role change of design engineers, clarity of project targets, shared knowledge about customers and product development productivity. Structural model testing implies that as role change of design engineers expands, clarity of project targets improves, which in turn, increases shared knowledge about customers. Clarity and shared knowledge have positive, direct and significant impacts on product development productivity. In addition, the study defines these variables and develops valid and reliable scales to measure them. The final scales, listed in Appendix A, are short and easy to use. Each scale has five or fewer items and the total number of items across all four scales is only 17. The content domains of the sub-dimensions have been adequately covered because rigorous procedures were used during item generation and testing. The factor structure is simple and has high loadings, and the scales have both discriminant and convergent validity. The instruments exceed generally accepted validity and reliability standards for basic research. These instruments provide a foundation to support future research. The study provides important insights regarding the nature of the role change for design engineers. In their expanded role, design engineers have more influence on product development teams because they possess knowledge that facilitates the process. In addition, to more rigorous technical skills to perform their engineering work, the design engineer's job has enlarged from technical specialist to participating member of a cross-functional team where communication and cooperation are key success factors. According to Moody (2001), “A crucial factor in achieving quality and speed is the extent to which a company's manufacturing processes can deliver what the product designers envision.” Effective product development requires integration to occur at the conceptual level because product development is knowledge intensive work. Design engineers are in a position to help the team provide this integration. Design engineers have access to and understand the technical data and knowledge that determine the characteristics, features and performance of the product. They work closely with marketing specialists to transform concepts and ideas into products that customer's want. The design engineer's position in the product development process allows them to bridge the gap between market conceptualization and the realities of production. Clarity of project targets and shared knowledge about customers mediate the relationship between the role change of design engineers and product development productivity. Clarity of project targets means that project targets are clearly set, understood by all team members and guide development efforts. Design engineers play an important role in setting and communicating these targets. Clarity of project targets provides a framework for sharing knowledge about customers and it drives the organization towards higher product development productivity. Shared knowledge about customers measures the degree to which customer wants and needs are understood by the project team. As shared knowledge about customers expands, organizations can make better decisions faster, which may improve product development productivity. Understanding the expanding role of design engineers on product development teams offers an opportunity to improve firm performance. In an environment where customer demand is constantly changing and market segments are shrinking, product development is the life blood of successful organizations. Product development stimulates demand, and it is a primary determinant of product cost, quality, features and performance. As a result, it is a critical element in the value proposition that influences a customer's decision to purchase. Research on product development and the role change of design engineers may offer opportunities for firms to built competitive advantage.