This paper is an evaluation of the journal written by Dennis Nobelius about part sharing across designs. Part sharing from one project to another has always been a good business plan, but it is now as much of a business requirement as a good idea to try. Companies have to find common parts from one model to the next to stay trim enough to be competitive. Dennis Nobelius points out that “Earlier research has singled out parts sharing as an important means of shortening the product development lead-time, reduce cost and increase product quality. Moreover, companies are striving towards reaching efficient parts sharing.
“Dennis Nobelius’s journal goes into great detail that even though part sharing is a strategic must, making it a reality is far harder than just saying so. The goal of Dennis’s case study is to explore the potential managerial difficulties associated with the parts sharing process. Manufacturing from six different companies in four different industries were explored. Difficulties in management were divided into four categories: organizational, strategically, technological ; costing, and support system related issues. The conclusion of the paper was “explicit parts sharing process seems to call for a systematic and holistic working approach in order to avoid sub-optimal solutions”.There are several important factors to consider when evaluating the merit of a study. A strong study must contain a sampling methodology that is large enough and representative of the problem being studied.
Another important criteria to consider is the use of the research design process and its appropriateness for the study. Finally, whether or not the tests performed support the claims made by researchers. Consequently, this paper provides an overview of Managerial issues in parts sharing among product development projects: a case study by Dennis Nobelius, followed by an evaluation of the sampling methodology and research design process.Sharing of parts across a set of products has long been considered a good business plan. Companies have to apply common parts from one model to the next to stay competitive.
Consequently, companies have proceeded to implement the parts sharing process to create more commonality across a set of products. Moreover, they have implemented the process to gain the benefits from “shortening the product development lead-time, reduce cost and increase product quality” (Nobelius 2). Even though, the aforementioned mentioned are some of the benefits, parts sharing has also demonstrated in several industries that there is trouble in reaching the commonality targets.The article, Managerial issues in parts sharing among product development projects: a case study, by Dennis Nobelius explores the problems in this area. It provides a background for what is parts sharing and proceeds to discuss the trends and benefits as well as the potential managerial difficulties associated with the parts sharing process. The analysis is based on six manufacturing companies in four different industries.
“The managerial difficulties were divided into four categories: organizational, strategically, technological & costing, and support system related issues” (Nobelius 2). Although part sharing is a strategic must, making it a reality is much more difficult. As pointed out by the study’s conclusion: “the explicit parts sharing process seems to call for a systematic and holistic working approach in order to avoid sub-optimal solutions” (Nobelius 10).
Data collection is an integral part of research design since it is the foundation used to prove or disprove a given theory. For this article the author selects a sample that “explores managerial difficulties associated with the parts sharing process of components or subsystems within and between development projects” (Nobelius 4). The sample originates from”The field research on product development practice within the Swedish manufacturing industry that the Department of Operations Management and Work Organization at Chalmers University of Technology continuously has performed since the late 1980s.
..” (Nobelius 4)The empirical data underlying this article which is verifiable by observation, experimentation or experience”comes from case studies from several different Swedish manufacturing firms and, although not all cases are used as illustrations in this article, they have contributed to increasing the understanding of the parts sharing characteristics (e.g. Abrahamsson and Johansson)” (Nobelius 4).In addition, six companies took part in the data collection that started in 1994 and ended in 1998. Three firms were from the automotive industry, one a printer maker, one a maker of company internal logistics systems and the last a producer of large kitchen appliances (Nobelius 4).
The firms had the following similar characteristics:* Compete in a multi-product environment* All (except the logistics systems producer) manufacture their products in large volumes (volume ranges from a few hundreds to around 350,000 units per year)* The parts shared represented an organizational and technical challenge to develop and share* The smallest firm has only about two dozen people in their product development organization in contrast to the larger firms, which employ more than two thousand product developersAs shown by the information above the sample size is sufficiently large to illustrate the resulting issues that arise from parts sharing. Data collection originated from companies representing various industries within the manufacturing sector. All firms had research development groups and were in the process of creating a new generation of products requiring better performance over the older ones. It is also apparent that this sample is representative of the population in which the research problem resides. This is because the manufacturing firms represent a wide variety of industries, company sizes, as well as development organizations.As described in the text Statistics and Research Methods for Managerial Decisions QNT 530, “research design can be thought of as the road map for researchers. It is the means by which investigators plan the collection of data to answer a pertinent research question” (Davis, Utts, and Simon 106).
In this article, the author explores the managerial issues and difficulties associated with the parts sharing process by using ex post facto studies. The data originated from multiple sources such as:* Case studies* Use of questionnaires* Attending project meetings* Analyzing company internal documents* Having open-ended interviews with people dealing with product development issues in the companiesThis type of research design is appropriate since the data gathered involves the individuals that are affected by the implementation of parts sharing. By interacting with these individuals, the researchers were able to identify important variables and their relationships. They studied other people’s and organizations’ experiences with regards to parts sharing concepts.
Moreover, this type of research design allowed the researchers “to explore the action-outcome relationships concerning decisions that at first seemed to be minor or trivial, but later turned out to be of a significant nature” (Nobelius 5).Dennis Nobelius breaks part sharing into four areas. He details the evaluation of the situations in each case, discussing in detail the issues that arise I everyone is not on board and sound logic is not used in the decision making process. The four issues Dennis focuses on are:1. Organizational Issues2. Strategic Issues3. Technology and Cost Related Issues4. Support Systems Related IssuesUsing actual part sharing attempts from the six companies he evaluated the general consensus by Denis was “sharing can be a delicate and complex task”.
He hypothesized that if great detail was not given by all functional groups that part sharing could be more costly that helpful. He details on more than one occasion that because the projects were a must do and no real support was given, unrealistic requirements came out of the attempts and it was impossible to build the parts. “Strategic parts sharing difficulties often result in lack of commonality supporting attitudes among engineers, designers and management, as well as an absence of pro-active commonality work methods. The pro-active approach is only enabled through a strategic intent and vision of why and when to accomplish what with effective parts sharing.
” (Nobelius)Dennis’s appropriately evaluated companies from may aspects to make his conclusions. He correctly concludes that a limited amount of companies were used but because of the diversity of them a good to great understanding of what difficulties lie ahead for any group that try to practice part sharing can be seen.It is recommended that for future research in this field that potentially multiple companies are used for each industry group. This may improve the understanding and potential industry specific issues that may arise that do not effect all companies. Because Dennis was able to pull from so many resources, the sample size for the report seems adequate (as far as company styles over the entire industry). An additional journal of the same companies, again compared with an equal from their specific market, would make this an even better reference for the market.
It is difficult to find much fault with an article or journal that was well researched and followed logical paths to get to a conclusion. The nonbiased view of the groups made this a valuable article would sound research methods used.ConclusionIn conclusion, Dennis Nobelius did an excellent job in crating an nonbiased journal for the industry to use. It is very clear that part sharing is not a trivial task and complete company buy-in is needed for it to succeed. A follow-up journal reporting on how these specific companies are doing with their attempts a couple of years later would be of extreme benefit and would create additional validity to Denise’s research.