The System of Concurrent Engineering

  • Nel WognumEmail author
  • Jacques Trienekens


Concurrent engineering (CE) has been a major theme in the 80s and 90s of the previous century in research and practice. Its main aim is to reduce time-to-market, improve quality and reduce costs by taking into account downstream requirements and constraints already in the design phase. While starting with a design-manufacturing alignment, gradually the CE way of thinking has been ex-tended to incorporate more lifecycle functions together with a stronger focus on and involvement of both customers and suppliers. Application of CE in practice has led to remarkable cost savings, time reduction and quality improvement. However, many failures have been reported too. Often, the complex system of CE has not been sufficiently well understood, in particular because the system that is needed to market, produce, sell, and maintain the new product, the so-called production system, has not been considered sufficiently. The particular properties of the production system that is needed to really make the new product a success need to be understood well, because they heavily influence the CE process. In this chapter a history of CE is sketched as well as its major achievements and challenges. The essentials of the system of CE are described together with the system that is designed by it: the production system. The production system, as defined in this chapter, is an encompassing system, because it also comprises functions like marketing, sales, production, and maintenance. The interaction between the two systems needs to be taken into account in all CE processes in any application domain. The chapter ends with examples of the food application area. The variety of the system of CE, in terms of different innovation efforts, is illustrated. Some important properties of the result of a CE process, a food production system, are discussed, in particular a food supply chain and its coordination for quality.


Concurrent engineering Collaborative engineering Early supplier involvement Collaborative/open innovation CE system Production system 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Social Sciences Department, Management Studies GroupWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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