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International Journal of Product Development


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International Journal of Product Development (17 papers in press)


Regular Issues


  • Defining 'Functional Products' through their constituents   Order a copy of this article
    by John Lindström, Daria Sas, Håkan Lideskog, Magnus Löfstrand, Lennart Karlsson 
    Abstract: Based on empirical studies combined with a literature review, the paper proposes a comprehensive framework defining Functional Products (FP) through their constituents. The framework adds additional specificity to the literature by identifying and discussing existing and emerging constituents of FP, shedding further light on what is needed to create a long and trustful win-win situation between providers and customers in an FP context.
    Keywords: constituents; definition; functional products; IPS²; industrial product-service systems; PSS; product-service systems; win-win situation.
  • Managing uncertainty, complexity, and dispersion in product development projects   Order a copy of this article
    by Glenn Johansson, Kristina Säfsten 
    Abstract: This paper reports findings from the application of a new method, denoted the Interface Management Method (IMM), for managing uncertainty, complexity, and dispersion in product development projects. The method was applied in three commercial projects and evaluated against desired features of product development methods reported in literature. The findings indicate the potential of the method to support product development teams when facing challenges related to uncertainty, complexity, and dispersion as it helps to create focus and a dialogue on how to deal with the challenges. The paper also adds to the discourse regarding product development methods by discussing and defining four interrelated concepts: method, tool, procedure, and system. Through more precise definitions, the dialogue between academics and practitioners can be refined and lead to better methods, which will ultimately result in improved product development efficiency and effectiveness.
    Keywords: product development; uncertainty; complexity; dispersion; method; tool; work procedure; system; case study
  • Modular Product Optimization to Alleviate Poverty: An Irrigation Pump Case Study   Order a copy of this article
    by Patrick Lewis, Christopher Mattson, Charles Wood 
    Abstract: One potential, high-impact area for modular products is the design of income-generating products for poverty alleviation. Income-generating products have helped millions of people sustainably escape poverty. However, millions of other impoverished people are unwilling to invest in these relatively costly products. Modular products have the potential to reduce/overcome this barrier by enabling a product to incrementally adapt to changes in income potential. In previous work by the authors, an optimization-based modular product design method was developed. Implementation of this method in the creation of a modular irrigation pump is presented herein. The purpose of this study is to physically validate the ability of the method to identify progressively affordable modular products by comparing the performance of the theoretical and physical prototype of the pump. Based on observations from this comparison, the authors conclude that the method is a feasible approach to engineering-based poverty alleviation.
    Keywords: pareto traversing, modular product design; multiobjective optimization, engineering-based poverty alleviation
  • An approach to integrate numerical simulation within KBE applications   Order a copy of this article
    by Giorgio Colombo, Caterina Rizzi, Daniele Regazzoni, Roberto Morotti 
    Abstract: This paper presents an approach to automate and integrate numerical simulations within Knowledge-Based Engineering applications to improve the use of simulation tools, especially in SMEs. Main discussed issues concern: i) the importance of the CAD model as an input of the process; ii) data migration from CAD to CAE tools; iii) model characterization; iv) effects of parameters variations; v) simulation steps; and, vi) results evaluation. In addition, formalization and representation of rules and procedures to automate the design process, in particular the simulation tasks, are presented. Two case studies are described to explain and verify the approach. The first case concerns the design process of centrifugal industrial fans, during which simulation tools are used to verify the correct sizing of impeller blades. The second one is related to a non-industrial process; actually, it regards a medical device, and more precisely lower limb prosthesis. Finally, main results are discussed.
    Keywords: Knowledge-based Engineering, Embedded simulations, Simulation rules, Industrial fan, socket design.
  • Using the parallel output DEA cooperative model to evaluate Thai dried longan exporting supply chain
    by Danaitun Pongpatcharatorntep, Nan Liu 
  • IT-enabled Product Innovation: Customer Motivation for Participating in Virtual Idea Communities   Order a copy of this article
    by Ulrich Bretschneider, Jan Marco Leimeister, Lars Mathiassen 
    Abstract: Virtual idea communities (VICs) such as Dells Ideastorm are very popular in practice. In VICs, customers of firms can submit ideas and collaborate to support product innovation. This customer-based ideation is not new per se. Small groups of customers have been brought together in lead user workshops or focus groups since the 80s to support product innovation. However, bringing customers together in VICs represents a new form of IT-mediated ideation with customers. While extant research has provided insights into customers motives for participating in traditional ideation, we know little about the motivations that drive customer participation in this new form of IT-enabled ideation. Based on a survey of customer motivations for participation, we found evidence for motives that arise directly due to the VICs IT-ability to support visualization of customer ideas, to give feedback on ideas, and to support customers social interactions. As a result, VICs are perceived as a way to demonstrate personal capabilities, for getting recognition, and for facilitating social interaction. We discuss these findings in relation to extant research on customer-based ideation.
    Keywords: Virtual Idea Community, Open Innovation, Crowdsourcing, Motivation, Ideation, New Product Development, Customer Involvement, Idea Management System

Special Issue on: "

Special issue on "Semantic Web Usage in Collaborative Product Design and Development,"

    by Zhen Li, Derrick Tate 
    Abstract: An ontology is definedas a structured, hierarchical way for describing domain knowledge. Research work regarding ontological engineering has yielded fruitful results, but these methods share a common drawbackthey require significant manual work to generate an ontology,which limits the usefulness of these approachesin practice. In this paper, we propose a computational model that combines data-mining, natural language processing (NLP), WordNet, and a novel class-based n-gram model for automatic ontology discovery and recognition from existing patent documents. A pre-built ontology library was constructed by gathering knowledge from engineering textbooks and dictionaries.Then a dataset of engineering patent claims was split into training (80%) and validation (20%)subsets. The pre-built library and WordNet were used to generate class labels for constructing class-based n-gram models in a training process.The holdout validation dataset validated the accuracy of the proposed method. The results showed that the average accuracy was 87.26% for all validation samples. The best performance was 89.26% for hybrid vehicle patents, and the worst performance was 85.15% for patents related tocomposite image projectors.
    Keywords: ontological engineering, n-gram language model, natural languagernprocessing
  • Supporting Decisional Processes in Design: a case study in the Space Industry   Order a copy of this article
    by Francesca Montagna 
    Abstract: The approach proposed in the paper considers a decision perspective on New Product Development (NPD) together with the integration of different domains and tools to support design activities. In particular, it highlights the need for methods and tools that investigate and support the design decision context, improve communication and reduce uncertainty in engineering design situations. The proposed approach has been implemented in a French-Italian space industry company.
    Keywords: Design decisions, Engineering management, Decision-Aiding tools.

Special Issue on: "

Special issue on "What Makes a Product Development Process Lean?,"

  • Efficient front-loading through knowledge integration   Order a copy of this article
    by Simge Tuna, Georg Windisch 
    Abstract: 'Front-loading', proficiency in new product development (NPD) early planning, is commonly acknowledged to improve performance. However, there is little empirical evidence on the micro-processes that improve NPD-specific efficiency outcomes. This paper analyses the specific front-loading capabilities needed to reduce waste in NPD. We investigate 53 NPD projects pursued between 2007 to 2012 by a company in the factory automation and control industry. Archival project documents are used to identify front-loading activities and efficiency outcomes; interviews were conducted with project managers and engineers. The results show that projects with systematic knowledge integration at the front-end show significantly better schedule attainment than projects with no systematic knowledge integration at the front-end. Front-loading capabilities are best described as knowledge transfer from past projects. There is also evidence that knowledge integration from downstream functions and testing has a joint impact on time efficiency.
    Keywords: front-loading; knowledge integration; front-end in new product development; lean product development; project management.
  • A case study to evaluate lean product development practices in the global automotive industry   Order a copy of this article
    by Tim Saunders, James Gao, Satya Shah 
    Abstract: This paper describes the findings of an exploratory industrial investigation to evaluate the challenges encountered in the transformation to achieve Lean Product Development (LPD) through a case study within a multi-national automotive manufacturing company. Three specific key areas within LPD were examined in detail: (a) organisational restructuring aimed at balancing global functional engineering expertise and cross functional integration, (b) growing and maintaining technical competencies across a global product development workforce, and (c) the motivation for the separation of the in-house manufacturing divisions and subsequent integration of external specialist suppliers into the global product development process. The research examines the evolution in practices at the company since the last decades of the 20th century, through to the latest challenges in delivering global platform programmes. A comprehensive overview of related literature is also presented, which provides contextual information and justifies the selection of the key areas of focus in this study. Finally, recommendations for further research directions in this context are provided.
    Keywords: automotive product development; LPD; lean product development; cross functional organisation; supplier integration; collaborative innovation.
  • Mechanisms for communication and knowledge sharing for set-based concurrent engineering   Order a copy of this article
    by Ana T. Correia, Dragan Stokic, Stefan Faltus 
    Abstract: The aim of the present research is to develop a formalised and structured model of communication and knowledge sharing mechanisms which support product/process development activities in a knowledge-based environment fostering creativity and value creation. The work is based on the concept of the so-called LeanPPD (Lean Product and Process Development) model, the cornerstone of which is the set-based concurrent engineering approach. The decision support tool is the first tool aiming to support companies applying the SBCE approach to optimise complex and critical communication and knowledge sharing processes. The tool (so-called Communication Mechanisms Box or CM-Box) has been successfully tested by several industrial companies in automotive, aerospace and home appliances sectors. The main benefits of the CM-box is a reduction of time and efforts needed to select appropriate communication mechanisms, as well as a reduction of lead time and costs in the product and process development by applying appropriate mechanisms to support communication and knowledge sharing within teams.
    Keywords: communication mechanisms; set-based concurrent engineering; lean product and process development; collaborative tools; knowledge sharing.
  • Teaching set-based concurrent engineering to practitioners through gaming   Order a copy of this article
    by Endris Kerga, Monica Rossi, Sergio Terzi, Marco Taisch, Walter Bessega, Alberto Rosso 
    Abstract: This paper presents the learning outcomes of playing the 'Set-Based Concurrent Engineering (SBCE)' game. The game is designed to bring hands-on experience to practitioners. The game is structured in two stages, simulating the traditional approach to concept development, called 'Point-Based Concurrent Engineering (PBCE)', and the lean approach, called SBCE. Although SBCE is becoming popular in academia, in practice, understanding and adoption of it are low. Therefore, this research uses the game for two purposes: the first is to assess the game's effectiveness in educating practitioners about SBCE. The second is to summarise lessons learned by running the game in a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) that designs and manufactures products for HVAC/R (heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration) markets.
    Keywords: lean product development; SBCE; set-based concurrent engineering; PBCE; point-based concurrent engineering; serious gaming.
  • A3 reports for knowledge codification, transfer and creation in research and development organisations   Order a copy of this article
    by Dag Raudberget, Cecilia Bjursell 
    Abstract: Lean Product Development (LPD) presents ways for companies to restructure and improve their organisations, and an underlying assumption of LPD is that knowledge and learning are critical in such a process. Previous literature suggested that the A3 report could be used as a knowledge carrier in product development, but it has not shown how this could be accomplished. In this paper, we present an approach to use the A3 report to support knowledge management. The approach was developed in collaboration with and tested at an R&D department. The theoretical contribution of the paper is its suggestion of a new way of viewing A3s. The application of the concept of boundary object to the A3 report enables us to use the A3 as a powerful means of transferring knowledge from tacit to explicit forms. The empirical contribution presents the A3 knowledge management structure, which supports knowledge codification, transfer and creation.
    Keywords: LPD; lean product development; A3 reports; knowledge codification; knowledge transfer; knowledge creation; knowledge reuse; research and development; knowledge management; KM; boundary object.
  • Systematic waste elimination in lean product development using generic activities   Order a copy of this article
    by Guenther Schuh, Kai Korthals, Stefan Rudolf, Stefan Breunig 
    Abstract: In the context of lean product development, the Value Stream Analysis (VSA) has proven to be an effective approach for the elimination of waste in product development processes. While this method focuses on the detection of waste by analysing the dependencies and interaction of activities in the development processes, the execution of the activities themselves is not further examined, although a great potential for the elimination of waste within activities can be identified. This paper introduces a new approach to analyse the execution of product development activities and eliminate waste. Generic activity types within the development processes are derived and their ideal and lean execution is defined. To utilise the generic activities for the optimisation of product development activities, a specific procedure applicable within a VSA is presented.
    Keywords: lean product development; VSA; value stream analysis; waste elimination; development activities; generic activities.
  • Lean engineering performance analysis   Order a copy of this article
    by Yvan Beauregard, Nadia Bhuiyan, Vincent Thomson 
    Abstract: The context of product development (PD) in the aerospace sector is one of intense competitive pressure. To ensure the continued competitiveness of this industrial sector in Canada, enhancing the productivity of PD is an urgent necessity. While the lean philosophy has been used with much success in the manufacturing world, there is an absence of comprehensive models that measure the benefits of lean improvement in PD. The purpose of this paper is to present a novel lean engineering performance assessment model. The model is applied to a real-life case company, and the results and implications arising from the application thereof are discussed. The results of the model show that it is effective in providing the ability to study the influence of a number of criteria and management policies on PD performance, in focusing improvement efforts in the most needed areas, and in supporting the overarching lean engineering goal of continuous improvement. Being able to measure lean in PD helps to shed light on what makes a PD process lean.
    Keywords: continuous improvement; lean engineering; performance model; product development.

Special Issue on: "

Special issue on "Advances in the Design Structure Matrix and Its Applications in Complex System Design and Development,"

  • Scalable product platform design based-on design structure matrix and axiomatic design   Order a copy of this article
    by Xianfu Cheng, Guangying Lan, Qihang Zhu 
    Abstract: Product platform design has been recognized as an effective means to establish and preserve competitive status in the market and to maintain the economies of scale and scope, while keeping production costs to a minimum. To this end, a new design method for scalable product platform is presented based on design structure matrix and axiomatic design. Initially in this process, the customer needs are analyzed, and then the common and individual needs are identified. Second, the key functional requirement parameters are extracted and mapped. Next, a design matrix is established. The functional structure decomposition figure and the design matrix are combined for constructing a design structure matrix. Then, an extension clustering algorithm is utilized to cluster the elements, and then common variants and adjustable variants of product platform are recognized reasonable. Afterwards, a product platform design scheme based on a design structure matrix and axiomatic design is determined. Finally, a product platform on electro-hydraulic drum brakes is developed. The results demonstrate the effectiveness and practical value of the new design method.
    Keywords: Product platform; Design structure matrix; Axiomatic design; Electro-hydraulic drum brakes

Special Issue on: "

Special issue on What Makes a Product Development Process Lean?,"

  • Effects of product platform development: fostering lean product development and production
    by Peter E. Harland, Zakir Uddin 
    Abstract: In the lean management literature, it is mentioned that product platforms foster lean product development and production. Although product platforms are well known for several effects like reducing costs and attaining multiple product variants, there is still little understanding of how these effects are interrelated and how product platforms support lean product development and production. From a content analysis, we found 27 effects; but only a few effects are mentioned per paper and they vary from paper to paper. Given reasonable indications that common hierarchies and other relationships exist, we define a consistent framework for the effects of product platforms that describes the influence on product development projects and production. An adaptation of this framework to a literature case also illustrates how cost reductions and competitive advantages are achieved. Therefore, the developed framework shows how product platforms' lean thinking helps companies to become more competitive and profitable in the market.
    Keywords: product platforms; lean development; lean production; effects; framework; review.
    This article is being considered for Open AccessThis article is being considered for Open Access