What is simultaneous engineering?

A company can employ simultaneous engineering to reduce both product and process complexity. Simultaneous (or concurrent) engineering refers to the continuous involvement of all primary functions and personnel contributing to a product’s origination and production from the beginning of a project. Multifunctional teams design the product by considering customer expectations, vendor capabilities, parts commonality, and production process compatibility. Such an integrated design effort is referred to as a design-for-manufacturability approach.

Simultaneous engineering helps companies to shorten the time-to-market for new products and minimize complexity and cost.

Many traditional cost systems are not designed to account for information such as how many different parts are used in a product, so management cannot identify products made with low-volume or unique components. Activity-based costing systems are flexible and can gather such details so that persons involved in reengineering efforts have information about relationships among activities and cost drivers. Armed with these data, reengineering efforts can be focused on the primary causes of process complexity and on the causes that create the highest levels of waste.

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