Modern Tools for Communication in Concurrent Engineering

Joseph LaCarte, James Lee Ph.D,, Robert Garrick Ph.D,, Larry Villasmil Ph.D


The increasing complexity of products and the
need for delivering the best design in the shortest possible
timeframe have driven many companies to use
multidisciplinary teams to conceive and develop new products.
Multidisciplinary product teams have the benefits of increased
skill diversity and often a corresponding increased level of
creativity due to the diverse nature of the team members.
However, in order for teams to be highly effective members
must be able to communicate with each other even if they are
in different locations and work at different times. A key part
of team communication is constant access to up to date
information. An effective way of facilitating team
communication is internet based communication tools. They
provide a means for team members located around the world
to have instant access to pertinent information while allowing
team leaders to maintain control of information flow. In this
paper the authors document the adoption of four internet
based communication tools, Google Documents, Google
Spreadsheets, Google Calendar, and SolidWorks Enterprise
PDM by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Baja
SAE® racing team and the effect they had on team
communication and effectiveness. The RIT Baja SAE® race
team is an excellent example for demonstrating the
effectiveness of internet based tools because members of the
team have diverse backgrounds, have varying schedules, and
need to work from a variety of locations. The implementation
of internet based tools resulted in the RIT Baja SAE® team
increasing the number of on time design completions, lowering
production costs due to the reduction of subsystem
interferences, and an improved showing at the competitions
the team attended.


Communication Tools, Concurrent Engineering, Internet Design Tools, Product Data Management

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