June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.286.1 - 15.286.11
Collaborative Tools for Global Design Project Management: Case Study of an Academic Experience
The management of information and the capture of design ideas are very critical during the product development and product lifecycle management. They could be very challenging tasks when time, efficiency and quality are important and the concurrent design team is physically distributed in different locations. However, the existing technology for communication, the increase of tools over the Internet and the cloud computing model have made possible and accelerated the means of sharing information synchronous and asynchronously in a very effective way. This has facilitated the work of teams that in many cases are geographically dispersed around the world. Therefore, there is a need to start preparing the future engineers in the use of collaborative tools for global design project management not only to schedule and coordinate all the required tasks for the project but also to capture all the information, ideas and concepts generated during the design process which contains valuable data that supports design decisions. This paper presents the use of several tools for communication and project management used in academic collaborative global design projects. In these projects, students are required to work with international partners from different universities in coordinating activities and documenting the conceptual design for a given problem. The paper reports the experience using the tools and discusses opportunities and pitfalls in the use of them as they were identified by the authors.
The complexity of products in terms of functions and manufacturing1 and the need of improving quality and reducing product cost, which are critical factors to be competitive2 in the global economy, require the participation of many specialists in the development process of new products. As a result, concurrent engineering and collaborative design have been the operating mode in recent years for the product development industries with the aim of optimizing design cycles, improving quality and reducing design and production time in bringing new products into the global market3.
The process of integration of economies and societies as well as the rapid advances in technology are constantly changing the world’s business environment. Outsourcing, in-sourcing and off-shoring design and manufacturing operations are very common practices nowadays for many industries, making the international collaboration not only a common but also a necessary activity4. This global collaborative approach requires permanent communication among the members of the product development team for project planning and execution, and for effective and efficient management of data throughout the entire lifecycle of the product. The concept of “Integrated Product Development” means the integration of all the activities, methods, information and technologies to conceive the complete lifecycle of the product5. All these activities have been greatly simplified by the fast development of information and communication technologies6. Now, several computer based systems have been developed to support integrated product development to provide valuable and powerful tools to make easy the
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015