CHANGES ON CHANGES: TOWARDS AN AGENT-BASED APPROACH FOR MANAGING COMPLEXITY IN DECENTRALIZED PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
Editor: Christian Weber, Stephan Husung, Marco Cantamessa, Gaetano Cascini, Dorian Marjanovic, Francesca Montagna
Author: Kehl, Stefan (1); Stiefel, Patrick (2); Mueller, Joerg P. (1)
Institution: 1: Clausthal University of Technology, Germany; 2: Volkswagen Group
Section: Design Organisation and Management
In this concept paper, we report on ongoing work aimed at a novel approach to developing complex products. Based on an analysis of the requirements of product development in the automotive industry, the main problems we observe are limited transparency, patency, and reuse. These problems are even more pronounced - and more difficult to manage - in multi-brand product development settings, with spatially distributed and organizationally autonomous development partners.
In order to decrease the amount of information each actor has to manage, we propose and illustrate the novel notion of virtual product model components (VPM-C) as an approach to address these challenges. We propose a conceptual architecture of virtual product models, which supports four concepts (views) as first-class citizens: parts, geometries, features, and processes. To handle the dependencies between elements of a VPM-C, we further suggest an agent-based approach, and outline a corresponding architectures and design alternatives. We illustrate these basic concepts by use case scenarios derived from an analysis of automotive product development practices.