Concurrent engineering practices have been adopted by a number of organizations as the means to reducing product development cycle. Concurrent engineering is a methodology for parallel scheduling and execution of development tasks as the means to shortening the development time. Several studies have shown that concurrent engineering can reduce development time. However, most authors focused on large volume, build to stock or standard product type of development projects. This paper studies the impact of concurrent engineering on build-to-order and custom product development. The author eloquently distinguishes between "breakthrough" and "incremental" development projects and the impact of concurrent engineering on both.
The author shows that there are hidden costs associated with concurrent engineering when applied to "breakthrough" products. Although time to market for "breakthrough" products is reduced under concurrent engineering practices, product quality and delivery (manufacturing) lead time suffer.
While using concurrent engineering for innovative, "breakthrough" products has the benefit of increased market share, it also has negative impact. The negative impact is due to lower quality and potentially higher cost due to longer manufacturing lead time.
Ghavami, Peter K. and Handfield, Robert, "Effects of Concurrent Engineering on Make-To Order Products" (1995). Engineering and Technology Management Student Projects. 1348.