In the not-too-distant past, it was deemed appropriate to compartmentalize industrial functions. This was a natural outgrowth of a management philosophy that encouraged a multi-tiered organizational structure
with layers of middle management. Without today's computer and other communications technology, it was essential to provide intermediate management for the primary purpose of coordinating and controlling the activities of the enterprise. Hence, the manufacturing director might meet with the other company directors in engineering, design, test, et al, to communicate the needs and status of manufacturing efforts and to learn about the needs and status of the rest of the organization. In order to understand the needs of
manufacturing and to communicate the needs of others, the manufacturing director met with the managers for each manufacturing area. Each of them met with their supervisors who likewise met with the actual workers. This multi-level, middle management structure of communication and control was replicated throughout each part of the organization. The resulting process was not conducive to cost-effective product development and manufacturing. It established barriers between the workers in each of the functions and discouraged interdepartmental communication.
In recent years, it has been recognized that there is a more efficient and effective process that can rapidly and economically deliver quality products. It is the straightforward idea that all the key contributors to the development of a product must regularly communicate from first concept through delivery and product support. Although the specific participants may vary depending on the product, these key contributors normally include representatives of engineering, design, manufacturing, test, sales, marketing, accounting, and legal who are working on the specific product. Participants also normally include representatives of the suppliers and vendors and, whenever possible, the customer. All participants work together as a
team to ensure that all aspects of the enterprise and its support structure as well as its customers are represented as the product evolves. For this model, most of middle management is not needed for communication. The team is composed of the workers and working level supervisors for that product, not the managers.
This concept has been described in various terms and with various titles. One such widely accepted term is Integrated Product and Process Development (IPPD). It encompasses the notion that the processes for manufacturing the product must be considered and developed together with the design and development of the product. IPPD is an outgrowth of earlier integrated design practices such as concurrent engineering. For the purposes of this document, IPPD is meant to encompass all such techniques for integrating the manufacturing process development and maturation with the product development.
IPPD encourages the formation of an Integrated Product Team (IPT) which includes representatives of all the key functions of the enterprise and its customers and suppliers. The team works together from initial
product concept to delivery to the customer, including after-delivery support. The IPT ensures that tools for controlling processes and for understanding the causes for, and solutions to, unacceptable product and process variability are implemented. The IPT must have the primary responsibility for implementing all essential elements of producibility during design, development, production, and support.
Throughout this document, emphasis is placed on including the customer as a member of the IPT. However, it is recognized that in some industries and for some products, customer participation on an IPT may not be appropriate or even possible. In those cases, the voice of the customer is still essential. This can be accommodated through participation on the IPT of a representative of marketing who may use customer contacts, trade information, and focus groups to assess customer desires and reactions.