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Product change management: to improve the through-life management of high-value, long-life products

Morris, Ashley 2017. Product change management: to improve the through-life management of high-value, long-life products. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The designs of complex products such as aircraft, trains and industrial plant continually evolve, during design, manufacture and also during their operating lives. Such products are invariably managed in complex multi-stakeholder environments. The product change process generates significant volumes of information and this continues through-life as designs are modified in the light of technological innovation, supplier changes and operating experience. The volume of information generated is enabled by increased network connectivity together with the competitive advantages that can be derived from greater product knowledge derived from monitoring product performance. As the service economy has grown, manufacturing and maintenance activities have increasingly been outsourced to enable a greater focus on higher, value-added, aftermarket, support services. Consequently, while the responsibility for managing the design of the end product rests with “Tier 1” manufacturers, operators and maintainers, there has been a significant increase in the responsibility for suppliers to manage design changes. To improve the management of the product change process is difficult because it spans many organizations in the supply chain and to make progress requires collaborative action. Managing products during their life, particularly in the context of design changes, is a complex process that requires the coordination of many activities spanning design, procurement, production, marketing, sales, support and disposal. These activities constitute a complex process model that is highly dependent on accurate information and can have a significant impact on an organization’s cost base. In addition "products" sold by a Manufacturer are often described as "assets" by a product operator. Regardless of whether something is considered a "product" or an "asset", the change process is supported by a value chain that spans both the domains of manufacturing and support services. Working practices and skills must constantly adapt in response to innovation and this includes the mental perspectives with which people view the world and solve problems. A significant challenge that organizations face when seeking to remain competitive relates to the need to respond to the challenges of innovation. This drives a perpetual cycle of problem solving whereby existing operations are assessed and opportunities for improvement identified. This research assesses the challenges to maintaining design integrity throughout the product lifecycle, explores the impact of inaccurate product information and sets-out an approach to achieving improvements to the management of product information specifically for complex products.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Engineering
Uncontrolled Keywords: Product, Design, Change, Management, Information, Lifecycle
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 May 2018
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2021 09:25

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