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Self-Assessment Tool for Implementing Concurrent Engineering Through Change Management

Self-Assessment Tool for Implementing Concurrent Engineering Through Change Management

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A self-assessment tool for implementing concurrent engineering
through change management
Matthew Ainscough, Kevin Neailey, Charles Tennant*
Warwick Manufacturing Group, School of Engineering, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
Received 19 December 2001; received in revised form 20 September 2002; accepted 19 November 2002

A review of various tools for assisting organisations to implement Concurrent Engineering (CE) found they tend to operate independently from each other, rather than being integrated to rigorously manage the change towards e\ufb00ective assessment and deployment. A new workbook style tool is proposed, which is based on a self-assessment model to enable the implementation of CE through a change management strategy. The combination of self-assessment and change management enables the simultaneous measurement and deployment of practices, which can assist organisations in the project management of product development, and lead to the identi\ufb01cation of further improvements to rigorously manage the transition to CE. The new tool described was imple- mented at London Taxis International (a large sized UK based automotive company) and led to the creation of a formalised new product introduction process, implementation of a project management system, and enhanced teamworking at the company.

#2003 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
Keywords:New product introduction; Self-assessment; Change management; Concurrent engineering; Product development; Project management
1. Introduction

An e\ufb00ective New Product Introduction (NPI) process, which is concurrent, can enhance an organisation\u2019s competitiveness by compressing product development lead-times, and enabling upstream and downstream processes to be considered when taking decisions at the product concept phase[1,2]. This approach is typically described as Concurrent Engineering (CE) and is described by Carter and Baker as \u2018the systematic

approach to the integrated, concurrent design of products and their related processes, including manufacture and support\u2019[3]. Therefore, CE represents an organisation\u2019s

ability to carry out product development as a series of overlapping phases, which delivers product on time, to provide customer satisfaction at the right price[4]. To achieve this requires a \u2018right-\ufb01rst-time\u2019 approach by applying numerous tools and techniques during the

project management of product development, to enable e\ufb00ective decision-making[5,6]. Whilst the business ben- e\ufb01ts of CE are well understood, a recent survey of UK industry concluded that although its implementation within certain sectors such as power generation, petro- chemical and aerospace was claimed to be at a high level, other sectors such as automobile and machinery reported relatively low levels[7]. This is supported by Viness, Chidolue and Medhat who concluded that 50% of large UK companies were not fully mature in the deployment of CE[8]. The reasons for this were thought to be due to poor management of the change process, rather than a lack of motivation to manage change. Furthermore, Stickland suggests that \u201870% of all com-

panies who embark upon a business process re-engineering
program will fail\u2019[9]. Kotter states that companies often

struggle to manage change, because they do not take a process based approach. Instead they look for short cuts by expecting individuals to execute new working prac- tices without training or any awareness of its need[10]. Therefore this suggests that the low take up of CE within UK industry is due primarily to companies not knowing how CE should be deployed within the organisation through the management of change.

0263-7863/03/$30.00# 2003 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
International Journal of Project Management 21 (2003) 425\u2013431
* Corresponding author.
E-mail address:charles.tennant@warwick.ac.uk (C. Tennant).
2. Research objectives

The main theme underpinning this research was to investigate: \u2018\u2018How can UK industry be more e\ufb00ective at leveraging concurrent engineering practices within their organisations?\u2019\u2019 The research objectives were subsequently de\ufb01ned as follows:

\ue000To develop a system, which will enable the
implementation of CE practices.
\ue000To verify that the system is e\ufb00ective by applying
it within a UK organisation.
3. Comparison of approaches for enabling change

To identify the requirements for a new tool, which could enable UK industry to manage change toward CE, eight approaches for managing change were identi- \ufb01ed as: Self-assessment, Benchmarking, SWOT analysis, Auditing, Kaizen, Policy Deployment, Project Manage- ment and Control, and Workbook Implementation Methods. To assess the perceived e\ufb00ectiveness of the eight approaches they were reviewed against six criteria de\ufb01ned based upon a previous survey that identi\ufb01ed a number of common barriers to implementing CE. The criteria were: knowledge of CE, measure current and identify future states, provide a scoring system, easy to apply, involves everyone, identi\ufb01es key phases for change[11]. This identi\ufb01ed that there is no single approach for enabling change that addresses all the cri- teria de\ufb01ned for e\ufb00ective change management. How- ever, any two of Self-assessment, Auditing or Workbook Implementation Methods will do. Auditing was discounted as it is problematic and fosters a \u2018pass the audit\u2019 mentality\u2014rather than encouraging a culture of process improvement and organisational learning. Therefore, it was decided that the development of an integrated approach combining both Self-assessment and an Implementation Workbook would be the opti- mum combination for organisations to manage the change towards CE, by simultaneously measuring and implementing the required practices.

4. Self-assessment and workbook methods
4.1. Self-assessment methods

Self-assessment has been popularised by various high pro\ufb01le National Quality Awards such as the \u2018Deming Prize\u2019, the \u2018Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award\u2014MBNQA\u2019, and the \u2018European Foundation for Quality Management\u2014EFQM\u2019[12]. Self-assessment

systems have also emerged for measuring the deployment of CE, and identifying areas for improve- ment. Five di\ufb00erent self-assessment tools for CE were found, which aim to either assess CE or the innovation process: Successful Product Development[13], Time to Market Association[14], A Technical Innovation Audit

[15], Readiness for Concurrent Engineering [16], and

Mentor Graphics Self-Assessment Tool[3]. In all cases they aim to measure an organisation\u2019s current state against a model of practice, and provide a means to identify future improvements. A review of these CE self- assessment tools concluded the following:

\ue000They measure \u2018where are we now?\u2019 and \u2018where do
we want to be?\u2019 However, they do not provide an

aid for facilitating implementation. This provides an opportunity to develop a tool, which assesses and deploys good CE practice.

\ue000They all assume one model for all organisations

and do not provide an opportunity tailor the model for an organisation\u2019s speci\ufb01c circum- stances.

\ue000They do not pay enough attention to the appli-

cation of CE from the perspective of achieving speci\ufb01c design philosophies, such as design for manufacture, service, reliability, customer requirements and cost.

\ue000They do not place enough emphasis upon per-

formance measures as a means to ascertain whether improvements are delivering to the bottom line.

4.2. Workbook Implementation Methods

Two Workbook Implementation Methods have been designed speci\ufb01cally for implementing CE through using a project management and control related approach. These are \u2018Using Concurrent Engineering for

Better Product Development\u2019 (Cran\ufb01eld approach) and

\u2018A Practical Approach to Concurrent Engineering\u2019 (PACE)[17,18]. The Cran\ufb01eld approach consists of three phases: prepare, implement, and extend; and only uses a pilot approach as a means for deploying practice before company wide implementation. Furthermore, it is targeted toward \ufb01rst time users rather than organisa- tions that are relatively mature in its application and are looking for areas that require improvements. PACE on the other hand, has seven phases: develop a strategy, assessment, create the culture, prioritise improvements, plan the change, implement improved situation, and support implementation. However, PACE prescribes a generic implementation process that has not been tested within an industrial context.

M. Ainscough et al. / International Journal of Project Management 21 (2003) 425\u2013431
5. A new tool for implementing CE through change
5.1. Requirements

The research justi\ufb01ed the requirement for a new tool based on a self-assessment system integrated with an implementation process through change management to enable UK based companies to deploy CE. Therefore, a self-assessment system integrated with a change man- agement methodology was created incorporating some new tools/techniques developed in this research. The application of the tool is described under four main stages.

5.2. Stage 1\u2014where are we now?

A self-assessment model was developed to provide an organisation with the opportunity to assess its perfor- mance and practice against speci\ufb01c industry sectors within UK industry.Fig. 1 shows that six main practice components of CE are assessed along with a set of implementation methods and techniques that should enable the achievement of improved performance outputs such as quality, cost, and time.

The model is structured as a hierarchy where each component is broken down into a set of criteria which further breakdown down into a list of \u2018requirements for consistency\u2019 to ensure a robust assessment of each cri- terion. The assessment model can be tailored to take into consideration an organisation\u2019s speci\ufb01c industry requirements and priorities.Fig. 2 presents the tailoring process developed, which demonstrates that to tailor the model, the company\u2019s strategy; its market requirements

and prioritised design philosophies required to meet the strategy and requirements need to be understood. Spe- ci\ufb01c criteria grouped under design philosophies for achieving CE can then be selected from the model to represent the organisations requirements. This approach was based upon principles de\ufb01ned by Porter[19].

To assess the current state of CE within a company, it is necessary to score the organisation against the assessment model criteria and requirements for con- sistency for each component. This was based on the assessment method used by the EFQM framework[12]. A score of zero, one, two or three has to be allocated which represents a situation where none, less than half, more than half or all the requirements for consistency for that criterion is found within the organisation. To establish an overall benchmark for each component, the score allocated to each criterion is summed to provide a maximum score of one hundred and is represented on a spider diagram for all components against the desired maturity scale. This allows the collation of a strengths and opportunities report, a current benchmark state, and a maturity level; which are then communicated to senior management who should then appoint a guiding coalition\u2014or senior level champion within the company.

5.3. Stage 2\u2014where do we want to be?

To establish a future desired state it is necessary to understand whether the components of CE and embed- ded practices are relevant to the organisation. This requires a model of desired practice to be built which will provide the required competitive advantage. To undertake this process criteria which impact quality, cost, and time for each of the six components of

Fig. 1. Concurrent engineering self-assessment model.
M. Ainscough et al. / International Journal of Project Management 21 (2003) 425\u2013431

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