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The Value of Collaboration in Multi-Disciplinary Design Processes

Today’s international market brings with it increasing challenges for companies, that include the competition for scarce natural resources and the demands of empowered consumers. Organizations are forced to seek more-efficient ways to create, plan, and innovate products. In addition, product design is becoming a highly iterative and interactive activity. This process involves engineers from various disciplines and workgroups, often located in distant offices, participating in the creation of a complete product.

The situation is exacerbated by the fact that enterprises are facing difficulties in controlling and sharing product design information with their key stakeholders. Product development is slowed by geographically distributed teams with design data scattered across different systems or multiple users. This, along with inadequate security control over intellectual property and complex supply chain networks, contribute in decreasing design process efficiency in a fast changing market.

The ultimate solution comes from collaborative software systems which can centrally manage and integrate enterprise product records.

Collaborative Enterprise software promotes cooperation among experts in various disciplines within a company, or within the same team, and promptly addresses demands from customers while minimizing duplication of efforts. This approach fosters cross-pollination within departments and promotes flexibility while maintaining information control.

Cooperation within teams supports the development process. Requests and issues are tracked and managed, while project status is made available to everyone involved on a timely fashion, leading to a quality design process advancement.

Work allocation is coordinated and all relevant roles are automatically notified of task completion, enforcing process accountability. Communication and knowledge sharing among team members is improved, and reporting and progress evaluation simplifies project management. This results in lower costs, higher quality products and faster time to market.

Enhanced working practices are fundamental to cope with the shifts in the engineering practices, which are quickly moving towards multi-level and multi-domain team work. Innovative processes and products require effective management of the interrelations in conceiving, designing, prototyping and finally manufacturing complex products. Thus, enterprise collaboration platforms prove to be the base of competitive and innovation-driven engineering processes enabled by virtual teams.

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