Manufacturing has changed radically over the course of the last 20 years and rapid changes are certain to continue. The emergence of new manufacturing technologies, spurred by intense competition, will lead to dramatically new products and processes. New management and labor practices, organizational structures, and decision-making methods will also emerge as complements to new products and processes.1

National Academic Press, “Visionary Manufacturing Challenges for 2020” pg. 1

Building on from a previous article (The 7 Step Development Process), I wanted to do a deeper dive into the manufacturing aspect of Limited Production and full Commercialization.

In the phases of prototyping an idea is turned into an asset. From the physical manufacturing point of view, this is a physically usable object – a prototype.

Prototyping is the beginning stage of making a manufactured product and is often done in sequential steps. This, however, is inefficient at later stages. When producing product for consumers, a company will want to maximize labor and minimize waste. Operations will need to run competitively and efficiently.

Concurrency will drastically shorten the time between the conception of a product and its realization.2

Sequential development is slow and wasteful. By introducing concurrency the speed of development increases rapidly. What would take months can now take weeks.

In software testing, this concept is easily seen with automated testing. Web automation is especially slow. To sequentially go through loading a web page, automating a test, might take, on average, 2min. per test. If there are 300 tests, that’s 600 min total!

This was a real problem when I worked at eHarmony. At the time, we used sequential testing. After I left eHarmony, I created an automated harness at my new job and this test harness utilized concurrent tests. Farming all the tests out to Selenium Grid, allowed me to run multiple tests at the same time. Imagine 10 virtual machines, each taking tests, would lower that 600 tests down to 60. That’s a change from 600 min. to 60 min. Scale the size of the test farm to 60 machines, and those 600 tests can finish in 10 min.

In manufacturing, concurrency requires good managerial aspects. Unlike software that can scale or descale across a virtual infrastructure, manufacturing companies must manage human resources.

Solutions

While teams can hire talent to meet concurrent manufacturing goals, many companies offer 3rd party solutions. Below are a few examples of 3rd party solutions:

Concurrent Engineering

https://www.concurrent-engineering.co.uk/what-is-concurrent-engineering

Concurrent engineering, also known as simultaneous engineering, is a method of designing and developing products, in which the different stages run simultaneously, rather than consecutively. It decreases product development time and also the time to market, leading to improved productivity and reduced costs.

Concurrent Engineering is a long term business strategy, with long term benefits to business. Though initial implementation can be challenging, the competitive advantage means it is beneficial in the long term. It removes the need to have multiple design reworks, by creating an environment for designing a product right the first time round.3

Concurrent Mfg.

https://www.concurrentmfg.com/

We excel at low-to-medium volume production of highly complex electro-mechanical products and systems. Our professional engineering support, exacting program management, highly flexible manufacturing systems and our continuous improvement culture provide you and your organization the comfort and trust required in today’s rapidly evolving market.4

References

  1. National Academic Press, “Visionary Manufacturing Challenges for 2020” pg. 1, https://www.nap.edu/read/6314/chapter/2
  2. Ibid. pg. 14
  3. https://concurrent-engineering.co.uk
  4. https://www.concurrentmfg.com/
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