Characteristic key words and challenges for this field are: from marketing of products to sale of customer-specific solutions (agile production); variant explosion; mass-produced one-of-a-kind units; the engineer as model manager; IT supported Concurrent Engineering; BPR of the product specification system or of technical order handling system. In recent years a number of production companies are facing the fact that an increasing part of the companyÆs manpower resources are being used for specification of the product and its manufacturing process (engineering of the product). At the same time many companies realise that a considerable amount of rationalisation potential is to be found in the restructuring of specification work, in this connection in supporting parts of the specification work with IT. At an international level extensive research goes on as regards development of IT-supported product life-cycle engineering (e.g. product and facility models, STEP, CALS). Research at IPV (Department of Industrial Management and Engineering) is performed on the basis of - and aims at combining - various theoretical fields, including the task concept (Skinner), Business Process Reengineering, work analysis, the feature concept, product modelling and object-oriented analysis. In this project one issue is the formulation of procedures for reengineering of specification work, including possible IT implementation of product and production models. This through development of concepts and methods for analysis of the specification work in the individual company, and development of matching methods for identification of activities to support by product model based IT applications. Recent research: 4 Ph.D. projects and participation in various international research activities, including GLOBEMAN 21 (Global Manufacturing in the 21st Century, the IMS project), PDTAG (Product Data Technology Advisory Group, ESPRIT 9049) and ESoCE (European Society of Concurrent Engineering).
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