Optimisation Approach for the Convergence Process of Design and Technology in Automotive Development
Authors: Florian Reichelt, Daniel Holder, Thomas Maier
Abstract: Technical product development (PD) is becoming increasingly complex. New adaptations have to be carried out constantly in order to meet the process-related, but also product-related challenges. In order to be able to effectively optimize a development process, a precise understanding of the process, i.e. on the process steps and correlations, is necessary. The fundamental decisions during automotive development are made in the early phase as part of the Design-Technology Convergence process (DTC). For this reason, the convergence process is of great importance for automotive development and yet there is very little valid knowledge about it. In addition to the ambiguity of the cause-effect relationships in this phase, no specific approaches exist to initiate necessary changes in a holistic way, taking into account the prevailing characteristics in this important phase, in order to make PD fit for the current challenges. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to elaborate approaches for optimizing PD in the early phase, especially DTC from everyday practical experiences.A systematic literature review was used to identify the basic needs and current approaches for optimizing development processes. Since no approaches exist for DTC, we have conducted expert workshops specifically on this topic area. The experts were professionals from the automotive industry who contributed their experience of daily work in DTC in order to ultimately derive optimization potential. Based on these results, various approaches were formulated that can be used to address the current challenges facing PD.Through the interviews, it was possible to create an up-to-date depiction of the practice in the early phases of automotive development. In particular, this describes the current challenges that need to be taken into account in these crucial phases. These challenges include the current trend toward sustainable PD, as well as the general shortening of development times and better integration of interdisciplinary development teams. Furthermore, potential were also mentioned as to how the convergence process can be made fit to master these challenges. With the help of the results, four approaches were derived that can be used to raise the potential. These approaches can be divided into a method-based, process-based, tools-based and skills-based approach. These different approaches can be used to address the current challenges in a targeted manner. On main focus is on supporting specific collaboration between designers and engineers, as this is seen as a core factor for success in DTC.Based on our investigations, we were able to generate a valid image of real-life practice in the early phases of the automotive development process. On the basis of this image, we identified both the current challenges as well as the potential that ultimately describe the need for optimization of the DTC. Thus, on the other hand, specific approaches could be derived as to how an optimization of the DTC can be accomplished so that the identified potential can be effectively raised. Furthermore, the results also serve as requirements for the targeted implementation of changes in the DTC. Ultimately, the combined application of the various approaches results in a holistic strategy for the implementation of optimizations in the early phases of PD in the automotive industry. This will be further elaborated and evaluated in subsequent studies.
Keywords: Design Strategy, Design Method, Human, Centered Design, Design, Technology Convergence, Automotive Design
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