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Communication and co-operation in product development: a case study of a European car producer

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Continuous innovations in product and process technology, coupled with time-to-market pressure, have made rapid product development a key strategic objective of manufacturing firms. Consequently, many firms have started to define the ways in which products are designed, developed and produced, so as to reduce the time from conception to manufacture. The strategies employed to achieve this goal vary, and include the integration of functions through selective use of concurrent engineering, the formation of strategic project teams, and technological connections by CAD/CAM systems. The research reported in this paper, co-ordinated by the WZB Institute of Berlin, is aimed examining organizational, technological and human resources practices that enhance quality in R&D by improving communication and co-operation C&C) between the actors. Although the research was carried out in four countries(Germany, Italy, Japan and the USA) and in three sectors (car, personal computer and machine tools) this paper analyses the evidence provided by a set of face to face interviews of the managers, engineers and designers of a European car producer.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Ceris-CNR, Via Avogadro 8, 10121 Torino, Italy

Publication date: July 1, 1997


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