Original Date: 01/23/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Concurrent Engineering Communications
In June 1993, Sandia National Laboratories began a project to develop and demonstrate a process to rapidly transition designs of precision electromechanical devices into production. Titled Agile Product Realization of Innovative ElectroMechanical Devices, or A-PRIMED, the project had many problems to solve, none more significant than the isolation of the core team members assembled for the project from one another. Because of their widely varying disciplines, tools, and facilities, collocation was impractical. The 16 initial members were located in nine different buildings, and the team would eventually grow to include members not even in the same state.
It was obvious that Agile Product realization would require a communication infrastructure that would enable rapid and seamless exchange of information between members of the project team. Solving this problem would eventually lead the team, under the guidance of a Human Factors expert, to create a communication system that completely supported concurrent engineering of the products.
The team developed an electronic mail infrastructure for communication. There had been little cultural history of cross-organizational collaboration; therefore, the next step was to learn what information and data each discipline used and produced, where it came from and went, and what platforms the information was on. The team created a communication network that would allow it to manage and share all data. Although networking data is not a new concept, this communication system allowed the information and design data to be shared by the different platforms owned by the various organizations on the team. True concurrent engineering could not occur without this feature. A-PRIMED contributed to the concurrent engineering process development and improvement by its attention to organizational aspects of communication within the product development team, the role of information in the product development process, and human factors impacting the introduction and acceptance of new processes.
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