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Title: A Study of How Model-centric Engineering Relates to Time-to-Market and Agility to Accommodate Customer-Required Changes
Authors: Schroeder, Craig A.
Issue Date: 20-Jul-2011
Abstract: As customers increasingly demand immediate product variation, companies are required to shorten product design and manufacturing life cycles to remain competitive. The ability to respond quickly to continuous and unexpected change is the key to success in the manufacturing industry (Yu, Liu, & Chen, 2005). As a result, manufacturing firms are using model-centric engineering (MCE) in product development to remain competitive in their ever-changing global environment. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the use of model-centric engineering and a firm’s competitiveness as defined by time-to-market and agility to accommodate customer-required changes. The study focused on two areas. The first area of focus defined the current model-centric environment in the manufacturing industry by factors such as level of MCE usage, years of MCE experience, discrete employee MCE job functions, and extent of MCE implementation. The second area of focus concentrated on MCE utilization as it relates to a company’s competitiveness. This relationship was achieved by comparing a firm’s level of MCE usage to its time-to-market, agility to accommodate customer-required changes, and company sales. Contingency tables, Fisher’s exact test of significance and logistic regression were used to test hypotheses comparing the relationships of key variables. From the results of this study it was concluded that there are some relationships between variables of MCE and a firm’s competitiveness defined by the initial time-to-market and the firm’s agility to accommodate customer-required changes. These relationships concerning MCE were not based upon the software itself that supports this method but more from the MCE’s relationship with the firm’s business systems. Over 75% of the issues logged by the survey relate to a firm’s way of managing MCE and not the functionality of the software. Through hypothesis testing, items such as co-location of engineers, training of employees, and consistency of implementation and usage of the MCE tools were found both to have impact on time-to-market and the agility to accommodate customer-required change. Per the survey results, 45% of the engineers located in the same building tend to have quicker time-to-market than did engineers segregated in a different location. Proper training and implementation is also important to create and sustain an educated workforce in an MCE environment. Even though 83% of the respondents indicated their staff received training, several of the issues of MCE led back to training-related items. A MCE methodology is more than having capable computer-aided tools for the design and process development. MCE requires a strong foundation of policies, procedures, and protocol to allow the computer-aided software to function as it is intended and not hampered by a restrictive or unorganized business system.
In Collections:Technology Management

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