Mastering Product Complexity

Cross-linked methods in the product development and realization

The product development process gained in complexity. It’s a goal to master a process with high complexity and mechatronic systems in a global environment with different markets in efficiency and effectivity.

The dilemma in many producing companies is the existence of different data silos for diverse part aspects in the Design Process. These badly integrated part solutions do not really help to handle the complexity, but increase them. In the last years we learned to understand how an integrated system for controlling the Design Process should look like.

A study of Roland Berger concerning the use of the methodical Building Set in the Design Process says:


  1. Successful companies apply more methods in new product development and use them more intensively
  2. Successful companies select the right methods at the right time
  3. Successful companies combine different methods from R&D, Market Research, Purchasing, Quality, Logistics and Project Management


In the beginning you have the Requirements. One method who helps to understand the Requirements and to prioritize and break down the System Structure is QFD. Parallel a universal System Modell has to be established which will be the backbone for all future activities for internal and external Design partners. A Web-Portal is a logical solution for accessing projects, models and methods.

System Modelling in a central repository is an instrument itself to master complexity. Advantages are:

  1. All Design Engineers use the same model
  2. The work happens in a similar order as in the document centered Development nowadays
  3. Data consistency across all methods
  4. Crosslinks between the work results of the different Design Areas are established
  5. Lessons Learned Process is possible through Data Comparison
  6. Change Control
  7. Documents are generated out of the model directly

Its very important to use the models in early phases to find through adequate Frontloading Design Failures and eliminate them. To realize that you must connect the models to the FMEA and create the necessary System-, Functionstructures and Faulttrees.

One goal is to create templates with reusable knowledge, which could be used as baselines for new projects.

An information model for a Development Process should also inherit the discovered dynamic, integration and the necessity for expansion. By linking it together in a semantical web new correlations can be discovered, which were not visible in the first place. This seems to predestine semantical networks as a description language for integrated information models in a method building set.

So all methods out of the Design and Process-Engineering could be generated area-wide without knowing how the possible usage should be configured.

Different tools can access the cross-linked attributes like Dashboards, Baselines, Document Management and Calculations of Safety metrics. Costs supply consolidated analysis over the whole lifecycle of the Development Process. All departments work together in a single product model and there is no need any more to switch from one method application to another with the need of copying data which is hard to control and is not fail-safe.

The last important point is establishing „Social Engineering“. The model defines who gets to know about changes like a Facebook for Design Engineers. It is possible to deny, accept, delegate, evaluate etc. or just to comment in an unstructured way.


Engineering needs a new integrated approach to meet the complexity of today’s Development Process. Successful companies use cross-linked methods in the product development and realization. The establishment of a Method application could get you in a position where a new quality of data and models patency is established. On the foundation of the integration of Development and Quality methods the competitiveness on the global markets will increase dramatically.

If you are interested in mastering the growing complexity in the product development process and improving the competitiveness, please contact us.