In the future, only innovative companies will be able to survive in the marketplace. This was the take-home message of the 1st Steinbeis Engineering Forum in Stuttgart on April 12, 2011. The aim of the forum was to give participants plenty of food for thought and suggest practical ways to work out new solutions – thereby contributing to continued improvement across the entire product development process. Experts from the Steinbeis Network and representatives of participating companies shared their experiences with the audience.
To improve the product development process in the long term, you need to do more than draw level with your competitors – you need to be ahead of them. And you need to make quicker decisions, display superior methodological skills, and recognize and make necessary changes. This is what Prof. (asoc. univ.) PhDr. Arno Voegele (Steinbeis Transfer Center for Production and Management) explained in his opening speech. This encompasses three areas: recognizing the right tasks and projects for the company, tackling them in the right way, and aligning them appropriately with the company’s existing goals. The best way to rise to this challenge is by bringing together product, process and project engineering in a concerted manner.
Dr.-Ing. Rainer Eckert (Trautwein SB Technik GmbH) expanded on these thoughts. Instead of seeing product development and optimization purely from a functional perspective, it’s time to move toward a well-managed product development process. In his lecture, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Frank Mücklich (Steinbeis Research Center Material Engineering Center Saarland) drew on the example of the car to illustrate the role that materials research plays in the development of a product. Dietmar Ausländer (Steinbeis Transfer Center for Logistics and Factory Planning) and Andreas Zünd (Swiss Federal Railways) presented a successful way to optimize production processes using a “process/product/tooling” approach, based on an actual project carried out at a major international transport company. Dr.-Ing. Günther Würtz (Steinbeis Transfer Center for Management – Innovation – Technology) and Hubert Groß (ZF Lemförder GmbH) explored the importance of systematic variant management in successfully controlling the product life cycle.
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Günther (Steinbeis Transfer Center for Production Technology and Waste Handling Logistics) and Rainer Strehle (TRUMPF Sachsen GmbH) underlined the importance of the link between design and production in ensuring effective, efficient production technology. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Aleksandar Jovanovic (Steinbeis Transfer Center for Advanced Risk Technologies) and Theo Hack (EADS Deutschland GmbH) presented a safety and risk management system which can be used to control product risk. And in his lecture, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Kauffeld (Steinbeis Transfer Center for Manufacturing Technology & Machine Tools) discussed the key role that process quality plays in safeguarding successful production in the aerospace industry.
The forum showed that engineering in the product development process covers a very wide spectrum. High-end engineering requires efficient, modern methods and approaches. There is still significant potential to boost efficiency in this area. And there are a variety of starting points for this that often fade into the background and are overshadowed by day-to-day tasks. What’s more, it is especially important to find committed employees, play to their strengths and invest in their professional development.
The next Steinbeis Engineering Forum will be held on 17 April 2013 in Stuttgart.
To find out more, visit also www.steinbeis-engineering-group.de
Prof. (asoc. univ.) PhDr. Arno Voegele
Steinbeis Transfer Center for Production and Management
Steinbeis Transfer Institute for Development & Management (Stuttgart)firstname.lastname@example.org