Towards Product Structure Management in Heterogeneous Environments
The use of computer support in product development and manufacturing has introduced new possibilities and new requirements for information management. The parts, systems, functions and other elements used to represent the structure of a product form what is called a product structure, which is managed by support from information systems. Due to the disparate requirements posed by the different departments and roles involved in the product development process, several different product structures can exist, and these are typically managed by separate information systems. This thesis deals with the problems that arise in corporate environments where different departments and roles have diverse requirements regarding the product structure, here referred to as heterogeneous environments.
The approach taken is to study processes, information, organization and information systems involved in the management of product structures as a unity, called an Engineering Information Management (EIM) system. A framework for the modelling and analysis of EIM systems has been developed during the research. The questions of the research treat: the modelling and analysis of EIM systems, the problems of product structure management in heterogeneous environments, and how to integrate the information systems used.
Several studies have been performed, where the integration between information systems has been investigated. This includes the integration of Product Data Management (PDM), Enterprise Resource Management (ERP), Requirements Management (RM) and Software Configuration Management (SCM) systems. The management of product information for products made up of both hardware and software has been further studied by the development of an information model capable of describing the structural elements of such products.
The contributions of the research concern both the modelling framework and the integration of information systems.
A framework for modelling EIM processes is proposed.
It has been shown that different activity domains (e.g. departments or functions) have diverse requirements for product structures, i.e. their breakdown and information content.
Strategies for the integration of PDM systems with ERP, RM and SCM systems have been formulated.
An information model capable of describing the core constituents of a product structure for multi-technology products is proposed.
Product structure management
product data management