Collaboration and Process Control in Rapid Product Development

A. Henning and E. Westkämper (Germany)


Rapid Prototyping, Product Development, Collaboration, Communication, Quality Control


The process of product development is recently undergoing substantial changes. Diametric demands for faster development of products with higher complexity put high pressure on the developing staff making it necessary to utilize highest possible knowledge. Collaboration of experts here offers a promising approach to combine expertise and to meet specific goals. Where collaboration within a company is already feasible at present, co-operation among different companies needs thorough analysis of participating information and workflow processes. In a "rapid virtual enterprise (RVE)" the active cooperation between partners is a vital element. In this paper requirements for participation are derived. For this in the first part the structure and the formation of collaborative work in a Rapid Virtual Enterprise is described. In the second part requirements for the finding of possible partner in a newly generated network as well as for the selection and validation of new partners for an existing network are described. Also specific tools and approaches for flexible and spontaneous cooperation are presented that make it possible to collaborate within the product development process even across company borders. With such both the speed and the quality of the development process can be improved by integration of all relevant experts already at a very early point of the development process.

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