Managing Change Propagation in the Development of Complex Products
Author: Koh, Edwin C. Y.
Supervisor: Clarkson, P. John; Caldwell. Nicholas
Institution: University of Cambridge
Many complex products are developed through modifications of existing ones. However, the engineering changes required to implement such modifications can sometimes propagate, requiring further changes to the design. This can cause serious problems to companies as evident in the interviews carried out in this research. Hence, it is important to understand and model how engineering changes can propagate in order to better manage them during the development of complex products. To address this need, the work described in this thesis aims to provide a better understanding of engineering change propagation. The main contribution is the development of two complementary design supports – one seeks to assist engineers in assessing change propagation effects and the other strives to help engineers in assessing product changeability so as to make them more changeable. The techniques developed were applied at two world leading manufacturing companies and were found to be feasible for industrial use.