What is Concurrent Engineering?

Written By: Mark Taber
  • 2/22/2021
  • Read Time : 2 min

With the rise in customized products involving mechanical, software, and electrical components, manufacturers find themselves contending with a growing number of complex designs and variants.  Ensuring a seamless flow of information between design and engineering is critical to managing the development of these more diversified products quickly without sacrificing product quality.

Remote and/or geographically engineering teams must work concurrently with designers without overwriting new changes or configurations. This accessibility is essential for them to plan, validate, and optimize ahead of production.

Without a single source of data truth, engineers cannot easily communicate and collaborate with different stakeholders. Moreover, unless they work from a consistent set of data, engineers can be the source of inaccuracies that trigger rework downstream.

As multiple data, requirements, and design handovers exist between the different tools and engineering teams, alignment is unlikely with issues often being found late in the development process. The result is last-minute engineering change orders that undermine product quality. 

What is Concurrent Engineering?

Concurrent engineering is the process of using technology to automatically connect and communicate product data across globally distributed engineering teams using one or more design tools. In essence, this approach fuels the collaborative culture that underpins highly engaged and successful engineering organizations that produce market-winning products.

Why Concurrent Engineering Is Important

Concurrent engineering paves the way for efficiencies in organizing and tracking all design data centrally with a single authoritative source of truth, making it far easier to find and re-use the data. With less time spent tracking down CAD files, recreating data, updating systems, and answering data requests from non-CAD users, engineers can meet cost and production targets.

The advantages of this approach include lower development costs, faster time-to-market, and higher market share/new market penetration. With fewer unanticipated changes and less rework, manufacturers realize higher “first time right” percentages. In fact, this engineering approach can enable a continuous improvement model, which results in developing and predictably delivering products at the right cost and quality on an ongoing basis.  

Concurrent Engineering Techniques

How do you enable concurrent engineering? The answer is a robust product data management (PDM) solution. Engineers manage many different types of data during the product design process. PDM software helps connect and communicate product information across globally distributed teams using various tools—CAD, requirements, test, simulation, etc. By using PDM as a central repository, every model, drawing or document is secured and easily found.  Efficiencies are gained because every version and revision are tracked, required approvals are managed, and manual tasks are automated. 

PTC’s PDM software can also be embedded in all major MCAD systems, enabling users to manage and edit CAD data and related documents (e.g., Microsoft Word, Adobe PDF) without leaving their native MCAD environment. Remote workers can access data via the web, their Windows desktop, or the PTC cloud. With a simplified approval and release process, engineering can easily coordinate every review and change across all necessary stakeholders. Non-CAD users can access consumable data through lightweight viewables and self-service access to role-based apps in secure project spaces.


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About the Author

Mark Taber

Mark Taber is Vice President of Marketing. In his current role, Mark is focused on helping manufacturers drive digital transformation, with a foundation of PLM and the digital thread, within the enterprise and across enterprises.

Mark has more than 30 years of experience working in the areas of process automation, application integration, cyber security, and development. Prior to PTC, Mark was CEO of Active Endpoints (acquired by Informatica), a process automation firm. A graduate of the Wharton School, Mark currently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.