Efficient collaborative product design is crucial for extended enterprises willing to develop complex products pursuing a short time to market. However, successful collaborative product design depends on the ability to effectively manage and share engineering knowledge and data throughout the entire product development process. Co-design software platforms aim to facilitate cooperation in distributed teams. In the context of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) the advanced co-design software implementation to support the supply chain is not a trivial task. SMEs have peculiar characteristics such as flexibility, ICT skills and financial resources, which are difficult to be integrated within a structured design network. This paper presents a method to define and evaluate a co-design platform dedicated to SMEs in the mechanical product field. System architecture is defined by applying suitable metrics based on collaborative process characteristics in order to assess functionality performance of the available tools. Benchmarking is based on different levels of collaboration recognized in the typical product development process in SMEs. Correlation between process metrics, software functionalities and specific collaboration requirements is managed by adopting Quality Function Deployment (QFD) techniques. A practical case study allows the robustness of the proposed method to be verified and the main advantages and future developments to be discussed.
A QFD-based method to support SMEs in benchmarking co-design tools / Germani, Michele; Mengoni, Maura; M., Peruzzini. - In: COMPUTERS IN INDUSTRY. - ISSN 0166-3615. - STAMPA. - Vol.63:1(2012), pp. 12-29. [10.1016/j.compind.2011.10.007]