Implementing and Standardising Systems Engineering Practices within a Global Corporation
Paper in proceedings, 2009
Developing new products is in many respects the process of identifying and envisaging user needs and bringing those needs into life in a cost-efficient manner, either utilizing existing technologies and solutions, or developing new ones. Product developing organisations are constantly challenged since new products must exceed expectations on quality standards in form, fit, and function – and that they must stand out from competition. This requires people with knowledge in many areas. Consequently, it is a multi-disciplinary process involving many parallel activities, such as product planning, design, production, marketing and after-sale.
Systems Engineering (SE) has become increasingly important in these organizations in order to manage the shear complexity of managing large scale development projects and secure the quality standards for all emergent properties of a system. The main driver for introducing SE is that the complexity and interconnectedness of systems continues to grow and the growing shift of focus to the complete offer rather than the product itself. However, there exist little research summarizing experiences of implementing SE, and there remain uncertainties as to how SE should be tailored to specific settings in order to add value to a development organization. Especially, focus needs to be put on managing the complexity of creating product variety.
This paper summarises our experiences from implementing and standardising Systems Engineering practices within a global corporation in the transport solution industry. This includes a review of reports on SE implementations, a short description of the Volvo Group, and a summary of our experiences when implementing SE at various units and organisational levels.