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Product development-Production interface in a geographically dispersed setting
Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH, Industrial Engineering and Management.
Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH, Mechanical Engineering. Jönköping University, School of Engineering, JTH. Research area Computer Supported Engineering Design.
2008 (English)In: The 17th International Conference on Management of Technology, IAMOT 2008, Dubai. UAE, 2008Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

It has become more and more common for companies to move part of their production to low cost countries and/or closer to important markets. However, quite often the product development is not moved. The result is an increased distance between product development and production. The interface between the two departments is important to lead time, cost and quality and therefore the cooperation must work smoothly. To achieve this, most literature recommends early and tight cooperation. However this can be complicated by expensive and time consuming travels and/or usage of less rich communication such as emails and phone calls.

It is difficult to make the transition in general from product development to production and the possible problems increase with the distance. The PD-P interface consists of several components and how a problem in one component is affected by problems in other components is not explicitly discussed in literature. The purpose in this paper is to explore if there are such connections i.e. connections between an observable problem and other components in the PD-P interface in a geographically dispersed setting. The paper does so by merging the distributed work literature and the PD-P interface literature.

The analysis is based on four PD-P interface components; technological, organizational, scope and task. The analysis indicates that observable problems as e.g. low frequency of communication can be the symptom of one or a combination of problems. Connections between the components in the PD-P interface are exemplified in a geographically dispersed setting. Furthermore the underlying causes to the problems connected to the geographically dispersed setting in the PD-P interface are elucidated. In the case of low frequency of communication, it could be the technical system hindering communication and the different time zones disrupt it even more. Hence one symptom could be caused by different underlying problems. Each problem needs to be broken down to find the cause and the solution could be found in any of the four interface components.

The results indicate that the actual distance is not the biggest problem but uncertainties (e.g. new collaborations) and differences (culture and work methods) which increase lead time. We have also seen that single underling problems can cause problem in several of the PD-P interface components. This indicates that if these underlying problems can be solved the project results can be vastly improved. For example, trust issues occur in the scope component (affects the willingness to share information) and in the organizational interface component (both competence trust and goodwill trust affects involvement and commitment to the project). Consequently, if problems like this can be solved many other problems will become minor problems and project objectives will be more likely to be obtained. However trust is difficult to achieve with a geographical distance between product development and production. The analysis also indicates that due to the distance more attention is paid to the PD-P interface, e.g. more experienced team members are appointed. This can be contributing to a smoother PD-P interface than expected.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-5585OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-5585DiVA, id: diva2:36405
Available from: 2008-05-15 Created: 2008-05-15 Last updated: 2016-11-25Bibliographically approved

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Lundin, RolfCederfeldt, Mikael

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